I'm planning a 14-day trip to Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice). I already bought flight tickets, hotel reservations and trains on-line using my credit card. When I'm there I'll probably spend on restaurants, public transport and attractions. Can I safely carry my Mastercard credit card only to cover for all other expenses or should I have Euro with me?
As others pointed out, card acceptance is high but not universal. A recent law (2022) made it compulsory for businesses to accept payments by card, but exceptions happen, and not all of them are attempts to circumvent the law:
- Payment with card may legally be refused for tobacco products and stamps.
- Tickets for public transportation can be paid by card if you buy them at official ticket sellers or automatic machines, but you might have problems in some small kiosks (eg newspapers')
- In some remote places (mountain huts, small villages) the lack of internet connection (even mobile) is a real issue.
- If you take a taxi, ask first.
On the other hand, generally you'll have no problem in restaurants, bars, supermarkets, shops.
So, no, it's not a good idea to travel on credit/debit card only, better to have some cash for small expenses.
I have not been in Italy recently but in other parts of Europe and while most of the time you can pay by card but at times the systems are having problems or the vendor has a problem with his phone connection.
I would not travel completely without cash but €20 may last you your whole stay. But being money you can use it on your last day if you did not need it earlier.
In most of Europe (and I believe also Italy) card acceptance has risen a lot over the covid years but it is still not universal.
When I was in Italy last card acceptance was already high, if not universal.