Now that the state telephone company TIM no longer enjoys a monopoly, the choice of telephone, cellulare and internet services can be overwhelming.
Since phone and internet are closely linked, you may want to investigate the package of overall services that best meets your needs from a vast range of service providers.
Just about anyone over the age of 10 has a telefonino in Italy and cell coverage is reliable throughout most of the country. Most people use prepaid, rechargeable plans. You can recharge your credit using the provider’s app, at most BANCOMATs (automatic teller machines) or at any tabaccheria, phone store or bar where you see signs advertising ricarica (recharge).
If you want internet access, you will need to sign up for a monthly plan with a telephone/internet provider and pay to have the connection installed.
Bologna has dozens of wonderful bookstores and libraries, with no shortage of reading material available in English. Newspapers are rarely delivered to your doorstep here. Rather, most people read the paper at the bar as they drink their morning coffee or pick up a copy of their preferred paper at a local newsstand (edicola).
For an overview of libraries, see the section Libraries & Learning in Tempo Libero.
BUYING BOOKS, NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES
Bologna La Dotta (Bologna the Learned) is also home to countless bookstores, many of which are highly specialized. Most bookstores in Bologna have an original language section.
Newspapers and magazines are available at the edicole (newsstands) and at the Feltrinelli under the Due Torri (the Two Towers) and most are happy to order international magazines and newspapers, just ask! The Sala Borsa on Piazza Maggiore stocks plenty of international press, as well as a wide range of English and other foreign language books and media for all ages.
MAIL & THE POSTAL SYSTEM
You can avoid going to the post office if all you have to do is send a letter because you can buy francobolli (stamps) at any tabaccheria and drop your letter in a red postal box. Don’t hesitate to ask if you’re not sure about postage, as most tabaccherie are equipped with a scale and postage charts. The website of the national postal service, Poste Italiane, has explanations of the different options for letters, packages, etc.. You have a range of options for sending letters and packages. Posta celere (express mail) is a sure way to send things anywhere in Italy in one day. Posta Prioritaria (first class mail) is the fastest way to send letters abroad and within Italy. If you need proof of your letter’s arrival at its destination, send it raccomandata (registered mail). You can also send it assicurata (insured mail), although this significantly slows the arrival of the item. In Italy, you can do a lot more at the post office than mailing, such as paying bills. Pensioners pick up their monthly check at the Bancaposta – you’ll soon learn to avoid that day of the month.
To avoid wasting precious time in long lines at the Post Office, consider downloading the app PT – Ufficio Postale, that way you can book your appointment in advance.