While you can pay for many things with a credit card in Italy, especially in cities and tourist spots, there are a few things you should know before you go.
Most credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, usually 3% although there are a few that charge no fee or a very small fee. For example, I have a Capital One (US) credit card that does not charge any fee for foreign transactions.
Call your credit card company before you go to tell them you will be traveling in Italy (or elsewhere), give them your travel dates, and ask what to do if you have a problem while away.
American Express cards are not widely accepted in Italy.
Small family-run places to eat, shops, and bed and breakfast inns often do not take credit cards. This is especially true if you are traveling outside major tourist areas.
Don’t count on using your credit card everywhere. Cash is still the preferred way to pay in many places, most easily obtained with an ATM card from a Cash machine. You’ll need cash for small things like local bus tickets, having a coffee at a bar, or even at some public toilets.
Foreign credit cards sometimes don’t work in train ticket machines, autostrada toll booths, or other automated ticket machines.
It’s a good idea to have a second credit card or ATM card as a back-up in case yours is lost, stolen, or doesn’t work for some reason. Carry them separately.
Know how to contact your credit card company from Italy in case you do have a problem.