Subject: Re: Money in Italy

I just returned (two days ago) from Italy and confirm the votes for ATM cards. The commissions for cashing travelers' cheques are higher than for changing cash. There is a commission, even at banks for changing cash. Banking hours in Italy are very limited--a few hours in the morning and fewer hours in the afternoon, no afternoon hours on Friday and no hours at all on Saturday. Hotels charge ridiculous commissions for changing money or give you a very poor rate of exchange. Two things to add regarding using ATM cards:

1. Check with your bank before you go to see if they charge you for using the machines and, if so, how much. I got the best exchange rate using my ATM card, but my bank charged US$1.75 each time I used the machine.

2. I found that even though my limit was US$800 per day, the machines would not give more than 250 Euros per time. You can, however, put your card right back in the same machine to get more money. If your bank charges per transaction, you will have two transaction charges.

That being said, ATM cards are probably still the best route for obtaining Euros in Italy. Have a great trip. Italy, although crowded the first two weeks in October, was still wonderful as always.

Lisa in Chicago