I wish to resume some options you have:
0) It is valid for any option: set a forward from your account to a free service that have an http interface, it is less convenient, but if you are on the fly from an unknown WS it would be more easily accessible (see even note 3)
1) You can use an internet point. Price is about 8000 L/ hour
2) You can carry a PC with you, connect it to a phone plug if you have one available, and then dial. Phone sockets in Italy are compatible with RJ11/12 ones, so do not buy an adapter at home, if you will find an older one just buy the adapter locally.
You can buy for about 40000 L a two month subscription to one local provider.
2a) It works only from Milano, Roma and Sardinia: Use Tiscalinet ( http://www.tiscali.it ) that allows free access
3) You can use the service i talked about yesterdy
(http://www.telemail.it) that allows you to read e-mail via a standard phone (from most payphones you would need a tone generator as used for answering machines) end eventually reply on the fly (you would send a .wav attachment, of course )
4) You can buy a dippiu'-ricaricabile SIM of Omnitel for GSM phones with internet-mailbox option, it would cost you 110000 and include 250 units, either (if you buy it before 28/8 ) 160 minutes of domestic calls, or 65 minutes of International (Europe/USA/Canada) ( When these are expired with 60000 L you would get another load of 250 units - remember that if you receive a call from outside Italy you pay nothing, and the calle pay as a normal call to Italy, there are no airtime charges in most parts of Europe). The most interesting option of this card is that if you have
a GSM adapter for your PC you can use the internet at about 120 L / Min, that is your card (or a reload) would give you 7 hours of internet connection (billed in 100 seconds increments) from your mobile phone (but this way i can say: are you really on holidays ? ).
If you have no PC with you you can use it to send/receive e-mail using the keyboard and display of the phone, you can send/receive it either as .wav files or as plain texts. Sending a text message cost 1 unit , receiving one nothing ( only 10/day allowed unless they come from another GSM Phone), unlimited for paging ( max 26 char) messages.
Sending/receiving audio messages you pay as a domestic call ( 1 unit every 51 sec) and there is no limit on incoming messages. You can send also faxes (domestic only) for just 1 unit.
5) To be correct I have also to say that there is the WIND offer for GSM cards, that is 100000 L for 400 units (no setup fees ! - get one card with 0329 prefix) and until 30/9 you can call for one unit every 50 sec (but this is billed in 1 sec increments, no minimum!) domestic, one unit every 14 sec for Europe/USA. however this operator have no provision for RECEIVING e-mail, so you must
resort to the service sub 3 , also connection to internet is more costly.
6) Also for telecommunications: if you have a cellular phone use it when making distant call: For call farther than 30 km less than 6 minutes is is usually cheaper using a cell phone than a payphone.
For international call cheaper is using a calling card, then a cell phone, last chanche a payphone