“It will be easier for prisoners to be able to contact their children, parents or spouse, while transfers, waiting times and meetings on site will be reduced,” it said in a statement.
Calls will be monitored by prison officers who will see exactly what the inmate sees and be able to cut the feed immediately if either they or their relatives behave improperly, it said.
The Italian ministry said Skype calls would be subject to the same security checks as standard visits, and users will have to supply not only the address they want to contact but a certificate attesting that it belongs to a relative.
The chance to Skype is being extended nationwide after a series of test-runs in prisons across the country.
Hundreds of prison facilities in the US already have similar video visitation programmes in place.