Mailing Things From Italy – What You Need To Know

Italy International Post

The Italian postal service has a long standing reputation of being badly run, inefficient and known to frequently lose parcels and letters. This is not great news if you’re in Italy and planning to send a parcel within the country, yet alone outside of it!

Posting a parcel overseas from Italy can end up being a massive headache, regardless of where you send it in the world. As a general rule, it’s much easier, and more reliable, to send an item within Italy or the European Union as a whole, but even then the service is far from ideal.

How Do You Mail Packages From Italy?

To mail a package in Italy you can just go to your nearest Poste Italiane branch office where your items will be weighed and priced. Once you have paid the fees your parcel will be put in the post and delivered for you. Alternatively, you can use one of the other companies which operate in Italy.

Post Italiane – Everything You Need To Know As An Expat.

Since the postal market was deregulated in Italy the services have markedly improved for both domestic and international deliveries.

Poste Italiane has very good coverage across Italy with more than 12,500 branch offices, with at least one in all towns and even many rural villages. Each year the postal service in Italy delivers almost 130 million parcels both domestically and internationally.

The postal service in Italy handles more than just mail though. Poste Italiane also runs banking and financial services and even helps municipalities manage certain administrative matters in the community.

Problems With Poste Italiane.

There are many issues with the Italian postal service:

  • Long Lines: When you want to send a parcel you’ll have to go to your nearest post office where you can expect to wait in long lines to be served. It’s not usual to have to wait up to 30 minutes to be served.
  • Poor Customer Service: Even once you’ve made it to the counter you’re unlikely to receive polite, helpful service; actually, it’s often anything but that. Counter staff rarely speak English and don’t make much effort to help you understand the system. This can be frustrating and even more time consuming than it needs to be.
  • The System Is Complex: Post offices in Italy serve multiple functions which makes the whole operation confusing and disorganized.
  • Rules Are Constantly Changing: Just when you think you have figured out how to navigate your way through the postal system you’ll discover that the rules have suddenly changed for no apparent or explicable reason.
  • Customs Arrangements Are Complex: The rules on sending parcels overseas can feel overly complex and as a result your parcels are often seized by customs officials before they leave the country and searched; which not only delays the parcel’s progress but it creates another problem that you’ll have to solve.
  • Theft And Losses: Items that travel through the Italian postal service are often stolen or lost; or at the very least, they never reach their destination. For these reasons it’s always worth taking out insurance on anything of value that you send through the mail in Italy.

Poste Italiane Is Improving.

Up until fairly recently, Poste Italiane, was a monopoly and the lack of competition led to a serious deterioration in their services. Fortunately, in the 1990s, the postal market was deregulated and for the first time, Poste Italiane faced competition and collapsing profits.

As a result the famously bad and unreliable Italian postal service is finally beginning to show signs of improvement. This same pattern was actually mirrored by the Italian telecommunications monopoly, Telecom Italia, which was also incredibly inefficient and provided terrible service until it was also deregulated.

Consequently, these crucial public services have caught up with their competition and are now delivering a higher standard of customer service, although there is still room for improvement.

How Do You Find A Post Office Near You In Italy?

The recently updated digital services of Poste Italiane are helping to modernize their systems and assisting their customers in a whole range of ways. One of the most useful features on Poste Italiane’s new digital platform is the post office finder. To use the finder service you just need to type in your location and the map will show you all the nearby post offices. You can use the post office finder.

Shipping Parcels From Italy With Poste Italiane.

There’s bound to be occasions when you’re going to want to send a parcel in Italy, either domestically, within the European Union or back home to the United States. The prices do vary, depending on the insurance and tracking options you select but starting prices are very reasonable.

You can choose from a couple of delivery options; standard delivery or express delivery. The service is far more convenient than it used to be and shipping times have come down considerably in the last few years, largely due to the increased competition in the postal market.

There are also options to have your parcel collected from your home address and Poste Italiane offers a good insurance policy you can use for any delivery with the system.

Poste Italiane ships parcels, domestically and abroad, of up to 30 kilograms which can be sent from any post office in the country. The post office also provides you with a free online tracking service so you can follow your parcel’s progress, right up until it arrives. They’re prices are also extremely competitive, particularly for international express services when compared to the rest of the available providers; and therefore, if you are an Expat sending parcels back home as long as you buy insurance for your delivery it’s a great option.

An Overview Of Poste Italiane’s Parcel Delivery Services.

A brief overview of Poste Italiane’s Domestic and International service:

Domestic (within Italy) Express Service.

Domestic (within Italy) Express Service.

  • Parcels are delivered in 1-3 days and have a maximum weight limit of 30 kilograms.
  • Parcels are tracked and must be signed by the recipient upon delivery.
  • Prices start from 13.90 Euros.

International Express Delivery Service.

  • Parcels are delivered within 2 days in the European Union and within 2-4 days to countries outside of the European Union, up to a maximum weight limit of 30 kilograms.
  • The service includes online customs assistance for your parcel and an online tracking feature.
  • Prices start from 31.67 Euros.

Standard Domestic Delivery Service.

  • Parcels are delivered within 4 days in Italy up to a maximum weight limit of 20 kilograms.
  • Parcels are tracked and must be signed for by the recipient on delivery.
  • Prices start from 9.00 Euros.

Standard European Union Delivery Service.

  • Parcels are delivered within 3 days up to a maximum weight limit of 30 kilograms.
  • The service includes online customs assistance for your parcel and an online tracking feature.
  • Prices start from 30.90 Euros.

Standard Globe Delivery Service (non-EU countries including the US).

  • Parcels are delivered within 2-5 days up to a maximum weight limit of 30 kilograms.
  • The service includes online customs assistance for your parcel and an online tracking feature.
  • Prices start from 32.94 Euros.

Standard International Delivery Service.

  • Parcels are delivered within the European Union within 10-15 days up to a maximum weight limit of 20 kilograms.
  • Parcels are delivered within 10-25 days to countries outside of the European Union, including the US, up to a maximum weight limit of 20 kilograms.
  • Prices start from 24 Euros.

Prices for the delivery of parcels in Italy are based on the weight of your package so you’ll need to weigh it before you can calculate your costs. You can have it weighed at any post office if you don’t have scales at home. For a complete listing of all Poste Italiane’s fees for deliveries, you can visit their official website at

Other Major Parcel Delivery Service Providers In Italy.

When you’re looking for a parcel delivery service you aren’t limited to Poste Italiane because there are now a number of other providers you can choose from. When you’re posting a parcel domestically within Italy it’s probably going to be easiest just to use the Poste Italiane because they have so many regional post offices around the country but otherwise, if you’re shipping internationally you may want to go with a different provider.

  • BRT Corriere Espresso: This privately owned logistics company is part of the DPD group and provides express services, although its primary customers are commercial or businesses. However, they do provide services to individuals as well and are currently expanding their services in Italy.
  • TNT: TNT is owned by the American giant FedEx. This world wide shipping service has a great track record and good English language customer services available if you need assistance. TNT is a trusted service which can be relied upon to get your parcels home from Italy, even during the busier times of year, such as Christmas.
  • inInvio: This online shipping service is run by SDA and is one of the most economical options for posting parcels within the borders of Italy, with prices starting at just 6.90 Euros. inInvio picks up the parcel from your house and then drops it off for you at the required address making it extremely convenient for residents of Italy.
  • UPS. This shipping and logistics giant operates in Italy and although it’s coverage used to be fairly poor they have been significantly expanding their services in the country over the last few years. It’s an extremely safe way to send your parcels to the US as well as other nations around the world.
  • SDA. The SDA is part of the Poste Italiane and manages part of their express deliveries. You can book their services online and they are one of the most trusted providers of delivery services for e-commerce businesses in Italy.
  • GLS Italy: Another express parcel service which operates in Italy that also offers home pickups and fast delivery times. They deliver domestically and internationally at very reasonable prices.
  • FedEx. This American logistics and parcel delivery company is one of the top services for Expats abroad who need to send parcels and packages back home. FedEx works in collaboration with SDA in Italy which means that they have rapidly developed an extensive network within the country.

Mailing From Italy – Standards Are Getting Better All The Time.

In the last few decades the postal and delivery services in Italy have improved significantly after the government deregulated the markets which allowed foreign and domestic companies to compete for the Italian customers.

This has led to massive extensions in the available services, faster delivery times and more reliable systems in which less mail is lost or stolen. This is fantastic news for Expats and locals alike who used to be poorly serviced by the Poste Italiane for many years.

Overall, the picture for Expats in Italy is improving and since staying connected with friends and family back home is an important part of living a happy life overseas, the improvement of the postal services in Italy is wonderful news.

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8 Responses

  1. Hi! I mailed home some olive oil and some of my yoga clothes from Florence. I received the package in the US but it is not my items. I would guess in customs my items got swapped with another box. Any idea where to start?

  2. I shipped clothes from Florence to USA. There were 2 bottles of parfum included. The person helping was aware that I was shipping parfum, he even wrote it on the shipping form. A week later I get a call that they can’t ship my parfum because it contains alcohol. Can’t believe this nonsense. People ship wine home etc. I tried calling the post office, no one speaks English. Not sure what to do next.

    1. Sorry to hear this. Maybe you can explain the situation to someone you know who speaks Italian. They can then contact the post office. Perfumes typically have a high concentration of alcohol. It is considered as a flammable liquid. Most carriers will not accept them. It is possible that the carriers used by the post office declined to accept the package.

  3. I’ve sent about 20 postcards from Italy and they’ve lost 10. It’s quite bad service. Also, it takes anything between 3 weeks to 3 months to arrive. Italian postal service is the worst. They also only issue receipts if you ask.

    1. Mailing things internationally through the postal system is always problematic. Whenever I can, I use FedEx, UPS or DHL.

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