The Italian word for phone number is numero di telefono (masculine, plural: numeri di telefono).
All About Italian Phone Numbers
Landline numbers (numeri fissi) always start with the digit 0 and are 6 to 11 digits long. For example, in the city of Turin where we used to live, all landline numbers have the area code (prefisso) 011 whereas Rome uses the prefix 06.
Mobile numbers (numeri di cellulare), on the other hand, start with the digit 3 and are usually ten digits long. Those that are nine digits long were the first to be assigned.
Mi dai il tuo numero di cellulare? – Volentieri. Te lo scrivo su questo pezzo di carta.
Can you give me your mobile number? – Certainly. I’ll write it on this piece of paper.
Often Italians will just say numero if the type of number is implied in the conversation. If it isn’t clear, you can reply by asking: Fisso o cellulare? (Landline or mobile?). You’ll also hear numero telefonico, or numero di contatto telefonico.
In formal situations, Italians often use recapito telefonico. Note that recapito, used on its own, means address or delivery address.
Abbiamo quasi finito. Compili questo modulo e metta una firma qui. Mi serve anche un suo recapito telefonico. – Va bene il cellulare? – Sì, ma se ha il fisso, scriva anche quello per favore.
We’re almost finished. Fill out this form and put a signature here. I also need your phone number. – Is my mobile ok? – Yes, but if you have a landline, write it down too, please.
All emergency numbers begin with the digit 1. The three national emergency numbers are 113 (police – polizia), 115 (fire brigade – vigili del fuoco) and 118 (first aid – soccorso sanitario).
The fourth important number, 112, is in a phase of transition. It used to be strictly linked to the carabinieri (the Italian military police force, or Italian gendarmerie) but now it is being transitioned to the European emergency number, a number you can dial free of charge from landline and mobile phones everywhere in the EU. As of August 2021, it is active in just eight regions.
What is the country code for Italy?
If you are planning to phone Italy from abroad, you will need to know the Italian country code, which is +39 or 0039. Before 1998, you had to omit the trunk code “0” from the local area code in order to call Italy from abroad, but today, it must be included.
Ah, ho dimenticato di mettere +39 davanti al numero di telefono! Ecco perché non riuscivo a collegarmi.
Ah, I forgot to put +39 in front of the phone number! That’s why I couldn’t get through.
How to call Italy: An example
Example with Turin and the prefix 011. Note that to dial can be translated as comporre or digitare in Italian.
- Dialling from one Turin number to another: 011 xxx xx xx
- Dialling from another Italian area to the Turin area: 011 xxx xx xx
- Dialling Italy (Turin area) from abroad: +39 011 xxx xx xx
Note: Before 1998, the prefix was omitted if you called from one landline to another in the same area. This means that in our hypothetical example, the number would have been 12 34 567 without 011 (in the case of Turin).
Example with 331 as the first three numbers.
- Dialled from one Turin number to another: 331 xxxxxxx
- Dialled from another Italian area: 331 xxxxxxx
- Dialled Italy from abroad: +39 331 xxxxxxx