Like any other democracy, Italy seldom censors the Internet — enabling the country’s citizens to browse the web and watch whatever they want whenever they want.
Nevertheless, VPN use is still suggested as it will protect you while accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots, while allowing you to bypass various restrictions that could be imposed in schools, universities, workplaces and so on. It does that by first connecting to a VPN server that effectively serves as a router for all the traffic coming to and from your devices.
This way, your ISP only sees that you’re connecting to that one (VPN) server and has no clue what you’re doing afterward.
We’ve just scratched the surface here; the point is, you SHOULD use a VPN in Italy and here are the best options:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Furthermore, thanks to the availability of browser extensions - Hotspot Shield is also one of our top choices for Chrome and Firefox VPNs.
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that help continually improve its service.
There is one caveat though - it won't work in high-censorship countries like China. If you don't need that in the first place, we highly recommend Hotspot Shield.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Its desktop apps are not among the prettiest ones, but they get the job done. The important thing is that installation is easy and straightforward, and that no logs are kept by the company.
When it comes to pricing, IPVanish is somewhere in the middle — it's not the most affordable option but also not the most expensive one. As noted, it will be most appreciated by heavy BitTorrent users, and — related — Kodi fans.
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The media situation in Italy
As an EU nation, the Internet is free and open in Italy with some exceptions.
Some exceptions were especially noted during the “Berlusconi years,” when Freedom House downgraded the country’s rating from “Free” to “Partly Free.” In its 2011 report, the organization ranked it 24th out of 25 in the Western European region, ahead of Turkey.
Two years before that, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) Secretary-General Jean-François Julliard declared that Berlusconi “is on the verge of being added to our list of Predators of Press Freedom”, which would be a first for a European leader. In 2010, Italy was ranked last in the EU in RWB’s “Press Freedom Index 2010”.
Italy is listed as engaged in selective Internet filtering in the social area and no evidence of filtering was found in the political, conflict/security, and Internet tools areas by the OpenNet Initiative in December 2010. However, access to almost seven thousand websites is filtered in the country.
Filtering in Italy is applied against child pornography, gambling, and some P2P web sites — including The Pirate Bay. That P2P filtering was ignited by a verdict issued by the Court of Bergamo and later confirmed by the Supreme Court — stating that it was useful in order to prevent copyright infringement.
When it comes to gambling content, websites without a local license to operate in Italy are blocked.
Access to the white nationalist forum Stormfront has also been blocked from Italy since 2012.
The government employs several tools to monitor and censor Internet access and content for the purposes outlined above, as well as to block access to content related to terrorism.
Speaking of which, an anti-terrorism law — amended in 2005 by then-Minister of the Interior Giuseppe Pisanu after the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London — was used to restrict the opening of new Wi-Fi hotspots. Interested entities were required to first apply for permission to open the hotspot at the local police headquarters.
Said law also required potential hotspot and Internet café users to present an identity document, and has — surprise, surprise — inhibited the opening of new hotspots across Italy. Right now, Italy has five times fewer Wi-Fi hotspots than France and just a few municipal wireless networks.
Luckily said law was repelled in 2011, and two years later – a new text was approved clarifying that operators are not required to identify users, nor to log the traffic.
You need a VPN for Italy
The Internet may be open and free in Italy, but you’re still better off using a VPN.
To start, it will make connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots much more secure. With a VPN, a malicious actor using the same network could snoop into your traffic and potentially get ahold of your personal information.
Furthermore, a VPN will let you bypass various restrictions that may be imposed in schools, universities, workplaces and so on.
And there’s so much more a VPN can do — in a nutshell, it will:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, HULU, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
- Download files with BitTorrent anonymously
The top contenders that check all these boxes include the following: