Yes, a free wifi service in Milan, Italy now exists and, most probably, works. If you manage to make it to the end of this post about my wifi exploits, then you will find a link to a list of free wifi hotspots in Milan.
I did have a little fun tracking down just where I needed to go to sign up for the free wifi hotspot in Milan’s Parco Sempione, and the lady in the bar by the children’s play area in the parco sempione park did not really know, although she did say that lots of people had been asking the very same question. She pointed me in the direction of the library, so I wandered over there.
Not the Library
Nothing, apart from a man using his laptop next to the library in Milan’s Parco Sempione. I asked him about this not well publicised service and, initially, he told me to go to a place on the other side of town to sign up. He must have read the expression of disbelief on face (…as I started mentally cursing Italian complexity…), because he suddenly remembered another place where one could sign along the dotted line and go wireless for free. And this place was the much more conveniently located Aquarium (- on the map), about five minutes walk away.
3 Hours Free Wifi from Milan Aquarium
Once you are at the ‘Aquario’ , which is virtually in the park, mention ‘wireless’ or point at your laptop and say ‘Internet’, or just try speaking, slowly, in English. And if you have made yourself understood, you will be asked to complete a simple form and to show some form of identification with a photo on it – a passport should be fine. Then, you will be given the top portion of the little form which has the wireless system logon info on it, plus instructions in English on how to connect.
Now you can wander off into the greenery and try out the service for the next 3 hours, for this is how long your wifi authorisation will last. Although I’m not sure, I imagine that this 3 hours can be broken down into shorter time periods, so you can connect for 10 minutes one day and then use up the rest of your allotted time next week or something. As you may imagine, after having finally signed up for the service, I was eager to see how it worked.
No wifi Joy for Me
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
Alas, I did not manage to use the service. Try as I might, I just could not get my pocket pc connected. However, before putting anyone off, let me just add that trying to connect with a Windows Mobile 5 pocket pc will not be as easy as hooking up with a normal everyday wifi enabled laptop. I’m sure the service will work fine for those of you with normal laptops, and at some point I’ll pop down to the park with my own ‘real’ pc and see if I can connect.
For those of you who do have Pocket PCs and who would like to be able to use this system, I think that with some playing around and a little more knowledge, I will be able to get my Dell Axim to hook up to this wifi service. And I’m sure others out there, more capable than me, with have no problems connecting pocket pcs to this network. Before I next attempt to connect with my ppc, I shall also visit Guglielmo, the wifi provider’s web pages, to see if there is any specific information about Windows Mobile 5 devices.
Wifi plus VOIP Equals Skype
I know Windows Mobile devices do not interest everyone. However, something which might be of interest to more people is that the Parco Sempione wifi service has a VOIP capability, so you can Skype your friends and make inexpensive phone calls from a park bench.
And finally, a word of warning. Parco Sempione is a pretty safe place, but it is frequented by some ‘interesting’ types, so, especially if you are not male, do not try to find a spot that is too out of the way to do your wifi thing. Try to stay near to one of the bars in the park, or the library, or any other area that has a constant flow of pedestrian traffic. Now, I’m not saying you will have problems, and, most probably, you will not, but computers are a) not cheap b) crammed full of photos and other information that most of us would hate to lose. The application of a little bit of common sense should ensure that your Parco Sempione wifi experience is a good one. Have fun.
Other free wifi Hotspots in Milan
Try this list of places where you can find free wifi in Milan: Bitage free wifi, Milan