Wi Fi

11/21/2010 - 06:42

Can anyone living in the Bagni Di Lucca, Fornoli area tell me if there are any free Wi Fi spots available near by?  I would like to bring a netbook (or something) with me to our little place up in Vitiana so that I can check emails, do a bit of 'surfing' etc but don't know what's the best way of doing this.  (Any suggestions gratefully received) so thought free Wi fi would be the most straight forward way to do this to start with.  I'm not big into mobile phones, I just use a very basic pay as you go job that I can use for a few calls and texts home to the UK.  I know there's lots of info about internet etc on the site but as a complete hopeless case when it comes to technology I need someone to explain in idiot proof language!! Thanks Jan



Google "Bagni di Lucca" and you'll find places like "Reliable access arrived with Jacquline's Internet point at via Vittorio Emanuele, 66 in Ponte a Serraglio. The eponymous, charming, and English-speaking owner offers a small number of Internet-connected PCs as well as a wi-fi link for those who want to connect their own computers."

In reply to by alan h

Thanks Alan.  I've just googled Jaquelines and I'm sure we will make use of her invitation to sit in Bar Italia and surf for free!!  We've spent plenty of time sitting in Bar Italia already so no problem there! 

With visiting guests to many houses and Agritorismos it is usual to leave the access to Wi-Fi unprotected and therefor open for anyone to sneak a free go. We have some friends who often park outside the house to use their laptop and make calls etc   If the modem is a powerful one as might be used to cover a borgo then free access can be gained from some distance. I know of a case where access can be had from about a kilometer away, right across a valley. You can buy wi-fi detectors or try for it with your laptop and eventually you'll find a convenient place to park and surf.

"We have some friends who often park outside the house to use their laptop and make calls etc  ...................... You can buy wi-fi detectors or try for it with your laptop and eventually you'll find a convenient place to park and surf." This may well be illegal in Italy - it appears that it is in the UK  In the UK, the Communications Act 2003 says a "person who (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communications service, and (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable to the provision of that service, is guilty of an offence". http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4721723.stm

Italy has had a laaw for 10 years whereby anyone who connects to the internet in a public place must provide ID, which must be photocopied and provided to the police on request and  which has prevented WiFi zones.  Its bad enough in internet bars.  This law, finally, is being rescinded on 1 jan 2011 and wifi zones can be set up for public use.

Great news, Ram, thank you. I generally use the Internet service provided at the Tourist Office in Bagni di Lucca and the last time I was there my ID document was left inadvertently in the office. The problem was that we left next day without realising I did not have it with me. Fortunately, the kind lady who runs the office realised it, found my overseas address and forwarded it to me. But I agree, it was a nuissance to have to fill up forms, etc.

Just to clarify, you won't get wifi for free. Jacqueline's is a paid for service.Anyone got any up to date info on the best Italian mobile dongle to use in this area? This would seem to me to be the most cost-effective solution for reasonably frequent visitors, but it would be good to find a pay as you go service where your credit isn't wiped after a month.Any ideas? Any experience of the 3 Italia shop in Lucca for example? (the 3 italia website is not a model of clarity!)ThanksMike, Bagni di LuccaMike

Mike, the best reception in the Bagni Di Lucca area is from Vodafone; 3 and Wind being very patchy and non existent. Therefore I would say that a Vodafone dongle would be your best bet.

It would be worth checking the coverage, as Flip suggests. 3 Italia's mobile and 3g coverage is sporadic at best in our locale (Eastern Marche), and locally Vodafone is the new king of the hill for broadband. If this gives 3 Italia impetus to improve, hurrah. If it wakes Telecom Italia from its enchanted sleep of semi-function, then double huzzahs with cheeries on top...

  Hello Flip Thanks for this, very useful. How did you go about getting a Vodafone dongle? Did you buy one in person locally, if so from where? Also, what about this business of wiping your credit every month - a pain if you're only in the country for a few weeks at a time? What's Vodafone's policy on that? Thank you  Mike 

Mike, I have 2 dongles; one I have from the UK and one I use in Italy as well. Both interchangeable just change the SIM card. I got mine from the Vodafone shop in Fornaci; and yes the credit only last 30 days but it's cheap enough and if you want a web connection when you're over, I think it's small price to pay over a phone line and ADSL modem charge. It only costs about €10 for a month, less than a good bottle of wine.....

Flip.  I know this sounds stupid but I'm really not well up on dongles!  What would I need to do to use one in Italy?  Could I buy one here in the UK and use it in Italy?  If you could give me more info would be grateful - approximate cost etc, buing a SIM in Italy etc.  I currently use Orange over here in UK but thinking of changing to Vodafone, pay-as-go.  I don't use my mobile enough to warrant a contract!  Would only need to access internet whilst staying in Italy for a few weeks at a time at most, so don't need to be tied into anything long term. Thanks  Jan 

Jan, a dongle is a USB device (looks like a memory stick) that enables your PC/Laptop to access the Web via phone signals (usually 3G) via a SIM card. Vodafone UK is not the same as Vodafone Italia, so you cannot use one for both countries. When in Italy, go into a Vodafone shop (or other provider of your choice) and buy one, you can use the web to look up costs etc; but they cost around €20 and give you 3mb of usage which lasts upto 30 days; all this on PAYG tariffs, so you can use it whilst on Holiday and top up again when you're next over. If you use up your allowance you just top up like a pay as you go phone, and off you go again. How much you use will depend on how much you use, but checking emails and browsing only and it will last ages; if you start downloading music/films etc it will go pretty fast. Speed can be a little slow and that depens on your signal strength, so pick a strong signal for your area and Vodafone seems to be the bstrongest in most areas out of large towns. Suggest you go online and look them up on Vodafone/3/Orange etc sites. Hope this helps. F

In reply to by Flip

Flip, thanks for your patience on this. So you can use a British-bought dongle in Italy, it's enough just to change the SIM to one bought in Italy? Finally - how do you usually top up? Do you do it online via your phone's own browser, or do you go back to the shop in person?   Mike 

Mike If you get one in the UK, and set it up ready for your trips, then all you will need to do is get a 'Mobile Internet SIM Card' from a shop in Italy; and then swop over. The Top up options will be installed when you connect the dongle for the first time and it downloads the software, and then to top up all you need to do is register a card (as with anymobile provider). Your SIM has a number (like any mobile SIM 07********) so you can top it up at any ATM that allows you to do it like you would your mobile phone. Ask then in the shop for info, Carphone wharehouse is a good one to start as they do Vodafone and most other networks. Flip

In reply to by Flip

Very useful. I already have a 3 dongle in the UK. It would seem this would be locked to the UK so I can't just take it over and slip in a Vodafone Italian SIM. Seems I will have to buy both a dongle and SIM in Italy.Mike

... I would strongly suggest you look at a "MIFI" router (don't ask what is "MIFI" , basically a wireless mobile dongle). If you can get one in the UK and have it unlocked - "3" will do this for a price, but sure other "backstreet" guys will do it cheaper, you will have something you can put in the best place in the house for reception without having to put your PC there.... You can also carry it with you and have access as you travel e.g. car, airport where ever you have reception... You can get one from "3" UK on a monthly deal (no link to "3", just so happens that's what I'm using right now...) ... Go in to the shops they have in the UK and ask ("3" and/or  the others) them.. tell them exactly what you want to do... If like they are anything like the "3" shop I visited, they are very helpful as they told me exactly what I needed to do and which way to go... In Italy go to one of the bigger shopping areas and into one of the big electrical stores where they sell mobiles... The one we went to had 3-4 staff who spoke English... Be prepared to not be online for a few days... and take your Codice with you... They all do monthly deals the same as here in the Uk... we had a WIND dongle last summer for 6mth at €10 per mth on offer.. .Expect to pay up to €20....

You never got Wifi for free in Italy, because it wasnt allowed!  For any wifi/internet access you needed a licence from the questura.  Since 1 Jan this is no longer the case, only internet cafes still need a licence, so hotels, restaurants, bars etc should begin to set up open wifi zones like in normal countries!  If you have to buy a coffee its a small price to pay, and unlike some well known coffee chains, the coffee will be good

Just to let you know that a few days back I bought an Italian USB dongle from the Euronics shop in Castelnuovo for internet coverage. It's a Vodafone and the reception in Bagni di Lucca is excellent. Cost was a one-off 29 euro for the dongle and 19 euro for 3 gb, which lasts for a month (or you top it up if you run out earlier). You can pay less for less download capacity or more for more. Not exactly a steal, but for the convenience of web access from our house halfway up a mountainside it's a price worth paying.

Been using a Tim (Alice) dongle in the house half way up a mountain in Abruzzi for a couple of years now whilst on holiday, seems to work OK. I admit it was not as easy to obtain as one in the UK (be easier as my language skills improve) but it costs me around 10 Euro's a month to keep in touch via e-mail and Skype so pretty good, not really good enough for video Skype but hey I am on holliday. 

My dear husband solved the problem for me. He saw a guy near our place using a notebook with a dongle, so he sent us to the TIM representative at Fornacci di Barga  (on the main road). There was a special valid until the end of the month which is giving us the dongle or "chiavetta" at 29 euros plus 3 months of unlimited Internet for 30 euros (we shall be staying in Italy for a bit over to months), total 59 euros which we thought very reasonable. No contract or minimum time with them, the man told us to come and see him next time we will be in Bagni di Lucca and he will find a good deal for us. Great service and advice. Highly recommended.

I have a house nearby, close to Diecimo, and I tried out the different reception qualities with my mobile phone and found that the best for us is Wind. I bought the sim ricaricabile at the Wind shop at Carrefour in Lucca and put it in my mobile router which also have an extra antenna. It works excellently, and gives us wifi in most parts of our (stone) house. I load the card using an italian Paypal account via their website wind.it - very easy! It is €9 a month for 50 hours. For me unlimited download for a certain time period was better than the fixed maximum Gb deals. That way I can manage my work remotely and not need to worry about running out of bytes :-) I can pause and restart (costs €5) the card anytime I want, or just let the money run out on the account, then when we come back again in the spring I just load it with money again and it starts up automatically. To get the current remaning hours and "saldo" I just send a free sms and get an sms respons directly.