N.B. Some links in this article are affiliate links, and I may receive a commission for purchases made at no extra cost to you.
Italy is a fantastic tourist destination, with great food, great weather and loads of brilliant cities and attractions to visit. But as with visiting every country, long or short term, it’s very important to stay safe online there.
One great way to this is with a Virtual Private Network or VPN, but are there actually and usable, reliable VPN’s with servers in Italy that are also free?
As with most countries, your options for totally free VPN’s with Italian servers is quite limited, with Tunnelbear (reliable and safe, but limited) and UrbanVPN (unlimited, but sometimes unreliable) being your main two options. PrivateVPN also offer a 7 day free trial and have an Italian server.
However, the current search results for this aren’t great, with low relevance results to companies plugging only their own service, or to VPN services that are labelled as “free” in the title, but aren’t actually free when you check the plans.
So in this post we’ll answer the question accurately – giving you the main two 100% free (but not always unlimited) VPN services that can give you an IP address in Italy, before moving onto unlimited, Premium VPN options that you’ll be much better off using for longer term stays in this beautiful country.
Free Option #1 – PrivateVPN 7 Day Trial
This is option could be ideal for a short term holiday or business trip in the country, or just to get the hang of how a VPN works, and upgrade to a full subscription if possible. But this is still a legit option where you can get access to an unlimited VPN service with fast servers in Italy, at least for 7 days, and without needing to register.
PrivateVPN are a Swedish based provider who’s main focus is on their Premium version, but they do offer a limited free trial of their product, with all the benefits you’d get from the full version:
Here are some good features of PrivateVPN:
- 200 high speed servers in 63 countries (including Italy – Milan)
- Unlimited server use
- Based in Sweden with strong privacy and consumer protection laws.
- No nonsense, user friendly interface.
- Also despite the cheap price, has an excellent reputation for accessing streaming services.
And also if you decide to upgrade to their Premium version, here are some benefits:
- 36 month plans currently at $1.61/month (effectively 12 months + 24 extra months free). The best long term value on the market.
- 30 day money back guarantee.
For sure it’s only a temporary free trial, but they have an Italian server and it will give you a good look at how a proper VPN service works, plus their paid plans are the best value on the VPN market. Give them a try and see what you think.
Free Option #2 – Tunnelbear Free Version
This is a great lesser known and under-promoted VPN service. Tunnelbear are a Premium VPN provider primarily, but they do also offer a limited free version of their service with a server in Italy, though it isn’t heavily promoted.
Click here to visit Tunnelbear’s site. Click the Tunnelbear logo on the top left to go back to the homepage, and click on “Plans”. If you sign up for the Free account, you get 500 MB of data to use each month.
The Free plan is buried away somewhat in the menus and not heavily promoted, as for obvious reasons, they’d prefer customers used paid plans, but you can still find it by clicking back to the homepage and finding the Plans page.
Tunnelbear’s got servers in 49 countries, including in Italy, so it can be a great option for short term/basic usage. I tested the Italy server from my location in the UK, and it worked fine, with decent page load speeds and videos played fine (though you wouldn’t really want to be using it for this much because of the data cap – see below).
It also feels and works like a proper, secure VPN service, with your own IP and no data logging, unlike some other shared VPN services that I’d never use to enter personal data on.
However, with the free version, you only get 500 MB of data to use per month. You can tweet at them for an extra 1 GB, but this is your main limitation with this service – you don’t get much data/bandwidth to use. Once you open the interface, there is a data counter so you can see how you’ve got left this month.
For clarity, here’s a quick summary of what you can expect different activities to use in terms of data, given the 500 MB monthly cap with Tunnelbear:
- Basic browsing – Doesn’t use much – 10-20 MB per hour.
- Social media – Uses a bit more – 100-150 MB per hour.
- Multiplayer Online gaming – 50-60 MB per hour.
- YouTube Video (10 minutes):
- 480p – 80 MB
- 720p (HD) – 250 MB
- YouTube video (1 hour)
- 480p – 500-700 MB
- 720p (HD) – 1.5-2 GB
- You can change YouTube video quality using the settings cog in the bottom right of videos.
- Netflix movie
- SD – 700 MB per hour.
- HD – 3 GB per hour
- Ultra HD – 7 GB per hour
- See here for source plus how to change Netflix data usage settings.
Here’s what you could realistically do with the Tunnelbear free version:
- Perfect for short term holiday use (eg. 1 week or less in Italy), just logging into your emails once or twice a day, making purchases etc. Any more than 1 week away you might need a Premium service (see last section).
- Very light, basic browsing (emails, shopping, directions, news etc), but you will see your 500 MB/month quote drain quickly – just 16/17 MB per day for a month.
- Anything where you really need a secure connection – making payments, logging into sensitive accounts, entering any other personal information – I’d use the Tunnelbear VPN and not a shared VPN like UrbanVPN we’ll cover below.
- You can use it to keep your connection secure whilst signing up for an unlimited, Premium VPN service that’ll serve you better long term (see section at the bottom).
Here’s what you can’t really use Tunnelbear free for:
- Videos/streaming services/YouTube – uses too much data as indicated above. You’ll run out of your allowance very quickly
- Social media – might get away with a really small amount, but again it can use up more than you might think.
Overall, Tunnelbear’s free version is an excellent, credible starting point to get an IP address in Italy and a secure connection whilst there. The data limit is the big downside, but you can complement it with our next option below, or go for a Premium service if you need one.
Free Option #3 – UrbanVPN
Now let’s move to the second major free option I could find, that almost like an inverse of the Tunnelbear service in terms of pro’s/cons – it’s got unlimited use, but the server speeds/reliability and privacy are not as good.
UrbanVPN pride themselves on being a totally free, peer to peer VPN service, using the connections of users to re-route traffic. It’s like the users are each acting as VPN’s for the other users, almost like a crowd-funded VPN service.
They’ve got servers in 80+ countries at present, including in Italy, an use of all these servers is unlimited and free.
Click here to get started with UrbanVPN
Here are the main benefits of UrbanVPN:
- Totally free to use
- No need to set up any account or provide any details – just download the program/app and get started.
- Totally free and unlimited server use.
- Available for all major browsers, devices and operating systems.
- Has a server in Italy.
But unfortunately, there are some negatives to the service:
- There are some reviews that report slow and unreliable servers (unfortunately, this is to be expected on free services)
- Zero customer support if the service goes down or you have difficulties (again to be expected with a free service)
- It’s just difficult to know exactly how secure your data is, or where it’s going. Ultimately, security and privacy and too much up-in-the-air with a peer to peer service like this. It’s the same reason I don’t use the Opera browser VPN for logging into really important accounts – I don’t like using generic shared IP address proxies/VPN’s, even if they claim to be “VPN’s”. You don’t know where your data is going, and they don’t offer the same level of security and privacy as a Premium VPN.
UrbanVPN is definitely NOT a 100% confidential, zero-logs VPN:
But in fairness, not all VPN users are looking for that. If you just want a free VPN service that can give you an IP address in Italy to access websites, and aren’t super bothered about privacy, then UrbanVPN can work for you.
Here’s what UrbanVPN could be good for:
- Video streaming on sites like YouTube (because bandwidth is unlimited), as long as your connection is good enough for it.
- Possibly logging into streaming services that require a Italian IP address, provided you are happy entering login details on a shared/P2P VPN. Be aware though that even some Premium VPN’s struggle to do this consistently with big streaming sites like Netflix, so free VPNs have even less chance. Streaming services are cracking down on VPN usage big time, so it takes more and more sophisticated technology to outwit them, likely more than a free shared VPN can provide.
- Social media account possibly, again if you’re OK with this. Personally I’d only do this if my passwords for these accounts wasn’t used for any other account.
In this way, you could use both Tunnelbear and UrbanVPN to complement each other – use Tunnelbear for really security-essential stuff like logging into serious accounts and making purchases, and just use UrbanVPN for more bandwidth heavy things like streaming, and possibly logging into less serious accounts like YouTube or streaming services (at your own discretion).
With VPN’s though, you always get what you pay for, and free services are always going to be restricted and restrictive, where it’s with data use (Tunnelbear) or reliability and privacy (UrbanVPN).
To get a proper, unlimited, fully secure VPN service, where you know your connection is going to be fast, unlimited and reliable, and your personal data is going to be safe and private, you need to pay for a Premium service.
VPNs That Don’t Have Free Servers in Italy
As with much of the VPN market, the search results for this query are not great, with the first few pages full of inaccurate and misleading results from VPN companies that DON’T really have free servers in Italy, but still advertise or imply this.
For clarity and accuracy, here are some VPN services that, regardless of what the search results tell you, DON’T currently offer free servers in Italy:
- Hide.me – They do offer an excellent free version of their service, with free servers in several countries and a 10 GB/month data cap, but Italy is not one of them. You need their paid plans to access servers in Italy.
- NordVPN – Are an excellent VPN provider, but they don’t have any free servers at all. They do have an Italian server, but you need to pay for all their plans.
- ExpressVPN – Same as NordVPN – no free servers at all. They do have a few Italian servers, but all plans are paid.
- ProtonVPN – Another reputable provider, but their free version only has servers in the USA, Netherlands, Japan. You need their paid plans for Italian servers.
- VAP LAT – Does appear legit, but is only available for Android/iOS (App).
In this article, I’ve tried to stay 100% relevant by listing ONLY VPN’s where you can use Italian servers 100% for free, without any upfront payment or registration required. In this sense, your options are quite limited for Italy, but I’ve tried to stay accurate.
Some Premium VPN Services With Servers In Italy
If you’re going to be staying in Italy longer term, then realistically it’s better to use a Premium VPN service. Moreover, all paid providers will have at least one location/server in Italy – I doubt there’s a single paid VPN service among hundreds in existence now that won’t be able to give you an IP address in Italy, because it’s such a popular country for traveling and has all the common streaming services people might need to access.
We’ve put a table below with a select few well known Premium VPN services for you to compare. But realistically, it doesn’t have to be one of these for Italy, because all paid-for VPN’s will have Italian servers, so just pick any provider you like and go for it, since paid-for VPN’s all do a similar job.
Comparison of VPN’s With Italian Servers (links are affiliate links)
|Provider||Price (12 months paid in advance)||Number of servers in Italy||Number of Devices Allowed||Main Benefits|
|Private Internet Access||$3.33/month||2 (Milan & Streaming Optimized)||10||Review here|
|VyprVPN||$3.75/month||1 (Rome)||5||Review here|
|ExpressVPN||$8.32/month||2 (Consenza, Milan)||5||Country/location choice|
|NordVPN||$5/month||60+ (Multiple locations)||6||Double Encryption & Server Choice|
|AtlasVPN||$3.29/month||1 (Milan - Streaming Supported)||Unlimited||Cheap no nonsense VPN|
Bottom line – Private Internet Access (PIA) has it covered for cost, NordVPN has it covered for server choice within Italy (60+). ProtonVPN is the best for the number of devices/simultaneous connections allowed (10), along with PIA. The others don’t stand out specifically in terms of Italian servers, but are all great, reliable, unlimited VPN services, where you know your connection is going to be secure, and there’s someone to help you if something goes wrong. If I were staying in Italy long term, I’d get a Premium plan. Personally, I’d go for PIA, with 10 devices, cheap cost and a streaming optimized server specifically for accessing services like Netflix if you need to.
Signing up for a VPN is usually very easy. You simply visit their site (click on one of our links above for each provider), sign up, pay your subscription, download their product and boot up the program.
Once running you simply select a preferred server location and open the VPN connection. You now have a secure, encrypted connection that will keep all your browsing and personal data safe over public Wi-Fi networks.
Best Practices For Using The Internet In Italy
Some quick tips for using the internet in Italy:
- The internet in Italy is somewhat regulated, and there is some censorship, but it’s largely open and free.
- Streaming services within Italy will be limited to those with an Italian IP address, so you’ll need a VPN to access them if you’re not in the country already.
- Using a VPN is legal in Italy, as long as your online activity is also legal.
- Do not use Wi-Fi in any public place (cafe, restaurant, internet cafe, co-working space, Hotspot) without having a VPN connection enabled. It will keep your connection and personal data secure.