Having a smart phone when you travel is incredibly useful. Personally I use maps and transit apps, translation apps, and frequently check websites for opening hours, special events, menus, etc.
For some travlelers, adding international coverage to your US cell phone plan may seem like the easiest and most attractive option. For example, Verizon currently offers the use of your existing domestic minutes and SMS credits, and gigabytes of web access for $10/day. Specific benefits depend on your existing plan, and are not always easy to understand. Other US cell phone companies offer similar international plans.
For me, a better deal is to bring an unlocked cell phone to Italy and to buy a local SIM card and plan. For example, on my last trip to Italy (2019), I purchased a SIM card from Vodaphone Italy, and signed up for their “pay-as-you-go” non-resident plan. The total cost was 20 euros and included 500 minutes of local cell phone use (helps with making reservations or contacting hotels/airBnB hosts), 300 minutes of calls to the US, and 20 GB of phone service.
Amazon sells several unlocked international cell phones including the Samsung Galaxy J2.
The International SIM Card Wiki has up to date information on prepaid cell phone plans around the world.