It’s worth looking at currency conversion agencies. For moving money from Sterling to Euro’s or back again either regularly or for one off payments, people can end up losing money during the exchange through unnecessary bank charges and/or poor currency conversion rates. One site mentioned that a pension holder can lose up to £50 on every transfer.
Using these agencies, you can set up a fixed exchange rate so you always know what you’re going to get and you can fix it for a year at a time. To set that up there can sometimes be an administration fee and then it’s simply a case of getting a standing order set up from your UK bank to the currency conversion agency who will then pay into your Italian (or otherwise) bank account.
If the euro gets weaker, then you’re in the money, but if it gets stronger, then it would seem you lose out. Seems a bit like gambling on a fixed rate interest rate.
Before going with a currency conversion agency, it’s worth asking if your bank offer a fixed currency exchange rate and whether they charge commission and transfer fees.
I’ve only looked at one Currency Conversion agency so far: Smart Currency Exchange. They say they guarantee to beat the rates provided by banks, will not charge commission and will get better exchange rates than the banks. There is however, an admin charge on transfers below £3000 but they anticipate that the benefits far outweigh that.