It's always a good idea to obtain, say, € 200 in small notes before you leave, so that you don't have to look for an ATM as soon as you arrive.
Try not to use ATMs in large railway stations and crowded places to avoid the problem of pickpockets.
Traveler's Cheques are no longer in common use in Europe. Hardly any shop or hotel will accept them and most banks refuse to take them because of redemption problems.
Try not to use currency exchange offices ("Cambio"). Although somewhat regulated, these places charge huge fees. Up to 20% is not unheard of. If you must exchange bank notes, it's by far best to use a bank. On rare occasions, very good deals are offered in airports but usually it's the opposite. Zurich airport has exchange offices that charge no exchange fee, but this is the exception the proves the rule.
Be sure to let your bank and/or credit card company know that you will be traveling in Europe, (destinations and time periods) so that the anti-fraud protection software does not block your use of the card in Europe.
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