There are cafes in Venice that offer WiFi if you plan to bring your WiFi enabled device (laptop, PDA, iPad, etc.). Internet Cafe 'Venetian N@vigator' is located about five minutes from San Marco and offers Internet, fax, printing and international calling services. There are loads of places which offer free or inexpensive WiFi in Venice, some of which are listed here: VeNice Internet Point, Casanova Disco internet Point, Logic Internet Point, Tabaccheria 42 - Internet Point, Internet Point Teleradiofuga, Crigian 2000 - Internet Point, Teminal Fusina, Venice - Internet Point and several others.
In Venice, some hotels offer free Wi-Fi, and, if you're lucky, you may find a bar or café that will supply you with a guest name and password when you buy a drink. Some Internet points also offer Wi-Fi access, though fees are often high (typically €2 to €3 for 30 minutes of access). The best deal in town, is the Comune di Venezia's "Cittadinanza Digitale" public Wi-Fi network. As of May 2011, the price for tourists was as little as €2,14 per day. Bottom line - you will have absolutely no trouble at all finding Internet access in Venice. And just to reiterate, some establishments may ask for a modest per-hour fee to give you the password to their WiFi network. If you find a "free hot spot" in Venice, remember to at least buy something or tip the staff.
Most major mobile phone carriers will work in Venice. However, mobile phone roaming charges accrued on smart phones can be expensive -- $2 or more per minute. Per message fees for sending text (SMS) messages are also high. Data charges for accessing e-mail and the Internet via your smart phone can get very expensive as well. To avoid any nasty post-cruise surprises, we recommend that you call your cell phone provider BEFORE your cruise to assure the most cost effective communication mode for you. If you plan on using your phone, make certain you have international roaming activated and that you are comfortable with this cost.
If you have an international phone with GSM network capabilities or a phone with a SIM card, your phone will work in Venice. However, roaming charges, and, international calling charges can be expensive. Make certain to contact your cell phone provider to activate international roaming prior to leaving on your cruise. If you plan on extensively using your phone, you may want to purchase a SIM card locally to take advantage of local calling rates. However, this usually does not make sense if you are visiting a port for a single day. You can usually find the pre-paid SIM cards at airports, the numerous cell phone shops, and other locations throughout Venice. Another option is to purchase a SIM card before you leave for your travels. The advantage of this is that you are ready to go when you arrive and don't waste your time looking for a cell phone store. Plus, you will know your phone number even before you leave. Once you've purchased your new SIM card, simply remove your home SIM card and replace it with the new. You will receive a local phone number with your new SIM on which you can be contacted. This should be on the information you receive with the card.
Another option in is to purchase a Pay As You Go phone. You can buy a Pay As You Go phone at any cellphone outlet. You’ll easily find an outlet at the airports or any shopping mall. However, this also does not usually make sense if you are visiting a cruise port for only a day.
Skype is a cost-effective way to make phone calls while on the road – often for free, or no more than pennies per minute. However, you will need to find an Internet café and connect to their WiFi Internet system to use Skype. If you want to be computer-free, buying an international phone card would be a good way to go.
If you don't have a mobile phone and don't want to pay too much for calling internationally, pick up an international calling card - you can find these at the post office, some news stands, visitor centers, convenience stores and some supermarkets. They come in many different denominations and each will have its own rate for different countries. You buy a card, then use an existing phone (usually a payphone) to call a special number listed on the card. You can then dial the number you wish to call and you will be charged at the cheap rate.
Note: Due to an anti-terrorism law passed in Italy in 2005, passengers wishing to use the Internet in a public facility may be asked to present an internationally recognized document (such as a passport) to the establishment providing public communication services.
Special Note: Pre-paid telephone cards to be used for making calls at payphones can be bought at electronics shops, tobacconists' (tabacchi), newsstands and bars. As Italy has the highest cell phone per capita rate in the world, public phones are becoming less and less widespread. You can rent a mobile at major airports, although many long term visitors choose to buy a cheap cell phone for less than 80 euro and a pay-as-you-go SIM card from one of the three cell phone providers (TIM, Vodafone and Wind). You can also purchase this type of solution prior to your departure. If you plan to be in Europe for a substantial amount of time and need a phone, your best bet is probably to buy a new or used tri-band or quad band phone before you depart. (These can easily be found on Ebay, Amazon, Cellular Abroad or some other site.) Then all you need to purchase once you're in Italy is an Italian SIM card.