Valerie was one of the winners in the Slow Travel Contest 2006 (slowtalk.com) and one of the prizes she chose was a pre-paid international cell phone from Cellular Abroad. This phone will allow us to have an operational phone when we land in Italy.
For those of us in the US, cell phones operate a bit different in Europe where the phones are not "locked" for use with one service provider but you can use the same phone with different providers by changing what is called the SIM card. This is a small disc in the back of the phone behind the battery that is the brain of the phone. A phone from the US will not work in Europe without some modification, but a phone from Europe will work in the US.
There are several advantages to this phone from Cellular Abroad for us in that it comes with plug adapters for Italian wall plugs, has a European phone number, pre-paid time can be recharged via the internet and all incoming calls are free. Plus in Italy you usually are required to have a tax code to buy a phone, not like in the US where as long as you have the cash anyone can buy a cell phone.
If nothing else this will provide us with a communication option when we get to Italy. Then we can decide on continuing with this service, getting an Italy specific SIM card or using one of the internet based calling plans. Those decisions will be better made once we know what is available in Anzio.