Here is photographic evidence of a first-class airmail package from the States that arrived in my mailbox today:
To anyone expecting a mailed Christmas present from me, I look forward to hearing about it when it arrives next summer.
Geezus. I am not feeling quite so bad anymore about the 8 weeks it took for my package to reach you, Shelley.
Seriously. Why aren’t Italy’s honorable citizens taking to streets about the state of their postal system?
I feel exactly the same way. My mum and sister sent me birthday presents (separately) from Australia back in October. First class air mail postage – which generally takes a week to ten days to arrive in the US. But, not to Italy…
My mum’s present arrived last week and I had to pay euro 12.30 customs, IVA and “postal fees” (6 euros approximately for these mysterious “postal fees”???) for a DVD worth 20 euro even though she’d already paid a lot of money in postage from Australia and written “gift” in large letters on the customs declaration.
My sister’s present hasn’t turned up yet (she sent it Oct 17th). It was a “Kevin ’07″ t-shirt supporting Keven Rudd to win the election to be prime minister of Australia. The election took place on November 24th (he won.)
In 2006, two birthday presents were sent to me from the US. Poste Italiane contacted me to tell me that I had received two packages and asked me to clearly define the contents, signing a form attesting to their customs value and lack of narcotics. I did- and received ONE package 5 months after my birthday. I paid 23 euro. I never received the second package. I am assuming they are reading my chick lit books.
dang that is some cheap postage! I miss the days of getting reliable service for a decent price. Here you pay 50 euro for something you hope gets to it’s destination. A package I sent my sister in August has yet to show up and I am fairly sure the problem is on the Italian side. grrr.
I cannot believe that every Italian has a cell phone (you had to wait 5 years just to get a regular telephone number back in my day) but apparently the mail had gotten worse ! I didn’t think that was possible. What about UPS or FedEx – they advertise service over there – can they deliver any quicker?
Nope Fedex and UPS can’t help in my experience. Maybe to Rome or Milan but they turn their packages over to a local shipper in Italy to get them from Rome or Milan to wherever they need to go inside Italy. My Fedexed overnight birthday present arrived over a week late and I needed to pay. If the package didn’t have a card in it from my grandmother I would have told them to stuff it where… Ridiculous fees for lousy service. Maybe after Alitalia gets bought out someone will come in and buy Poste Italiane.
I beat post cards home everytime I send them…..its just crazy…..an who can trust those Poste boxes down some of the most obscure streets!
word. i once sent a package to italy, and it was nowhere to be found for months. 7 months later it re-appeared on my doorstep. i think one of you expats needs to open a delivery service!
That is just wrong on so many levels. Five months?!
I need to ask my accountant before I move if I can pay my quarterly taxes online. I can’t risk mailing checks to IRS and having them show up the following year. I’m sure the IRS wants their money on time.
nyc caribbean ragazza – people NEVER mail checks here in Italy. Everyone goes to the post office and lines up to pay their bills there (in cash.) I think it’s a combination of not trusting the post office and a deep cultural mistrust of EVERYBODY.
I’ve told Italians how I used to mail checks to pay my bills in the US and they think I’m insane.
My Thanksgiving package is still MIA (still no cranberry sauce!), and last year I received my birthday presents (for October) in January.
Of course other than that Thanksgiving package, I’ve had good luck lately, so I don’t want to speak too badly of Poste Italiane right now. Sadly I’ve found that packages find me more easily (and with no fees due) when people write my Italian fiancé’s last name on them rather than my Lithuanian one….
I’m just sayin’.
Ah, and NYC, I’ve never had trouble sending checks for my taxes to the US from here; just seems that things coming in have issues.
Great discussion, looks like I’m not the only one. Solidarity in postal horror stories!!
Funny too because just yesterday I was like “go Poste Italiane” because on Tuesday I sent two packages to cities in the north of Italy paying for one-day delivery and they both arrived on Wednesday. That was impressive.
The real problem seems to be with packages coming in. I have NO idea where the hell my package SAT for 5 months. I mean, at that point… it’s like, what, they just find it sitting in some warehouse and go, “hey, Giovanni, looky here! looks like this package needs to be delivered.” Maybe they choose one a day. I have lots of other bad stories regarding customs, etc., but this I think takes the cake for longest delivery time in my own experience.
It would be great to have some kind of alternative mail system, because Jeff is definitely right about FedEx. You’re almost always better using the US Postal Service to send things. Private couriers ALWAYS end up slapping you with customs charges on this end, and the private services who take over on this side, in my experience, are totally incompetent. It’s a shame because you’d think FedEx could guarantee it worldwide, but as far as I know, there aren’t any official FedEx delivery people here. Once it gets over the border, it’s anyone’s guess.
Wow! I guess I should consider myself lucky that I received my city swap package!
That gives me a little bit of hope for a package that was sent to me months ago and hasn’t turned up. How Posta Italiana can justify itself is beyond me.
Hope you received something nice anyway – and that it wasn’t perishable.
Still, the package I shipped to you and Roberta in 2002 (which cost $52 from what I recall) has still not arrived.
Someone has our New Year’s eve photos on their mantel in Italy I presume.
I love Italy, I really do–but I will never again entrust a package to its postal system. Once burned, twice shy. The last time I did, in 1999, I had to enlist the help of a friend who speaks much better Italian than I do. She “negotiated” with the postal service and then we had to drive out to some warehouse outside of Rome to pick up my package. Otherwise, I probably would never have received it. As for my friend, who has been living in Rome for decades, she has had countless packages disappear en route (from Finland).
I’ve had surprisingly good luck with the Italian postal service over the past year. International mail seems to be going and coming much more quickly than previously.
I had a surprise this (Friday) morning – I received a letter which was postmarked on Tuesday afternoon in Wisconsin. I was amazed.
First class or parcel post? I guess if it was mailed first class, something mailed parcel post might take YEARS.
I recently mailed a birthday present to my daughter, doubting the wisdom of mailing it from Italy every step of the way, but amazingly it did arrive. For some reason things leaving Italy seem to do better than things coming into Italy. I think the Italian Post Office must hire thieves as they’re released from prison….or maybe they’re sent to the PO as their ‘punishment’.
At least you received the package and hopefully it was intact. I think that there is at least one package I mailed to my daughter when she was in Firenze in 1998 that is still floating around the Italian postal system!!!
Delina: Unfortunately the package was a book my friend was lending to me, but that I didn’t know she was surprising me with and which I bought a few weeks after the box was sent. Had the box arrived on time, which for me should be 10-14 days, I probably wouldn’t have two copies now.
Finny: OMG I totally forgot about this. Argh. Just makes me even more mad. Something like that happeneing will definitely make a person think twice about ever sending another package. My mom sends packages all the time and has fairly good luck, but it is very hit or miss. Unfortunately I think yours is the only package that has ever gone MIA so you get the gold star for screwed by Poste Italiane. Remember when my mom send the Godiva chocolates and they ate some and left the rest? Ah, the joy.
Lilian: God bless you, I’ve been out to that warehouse. My hubby who was born and raised in Rome and has an excellent navigational sense of direction, got lost like 3 times trying to find it off the freeway. It’s also located in a really creepy area that could double for a horror film set… huge nondescript buildings in the middle of nowhere that go on forever. I had to pay tons of money to get a care package out of customs there once. Those were the most expensive US gossip magazines I’d ever read.
Barbara: Once my mom accidentally mailed something parcel post and it took about 3 or 4 months if I’m not mistaken. I agree that packages going out have a tendency to do better than incoming. It wouldn’t surprise me if working at PT was some kind of community service punishment. The other day when I went to mail a box to my mom for Xmas, a box that was PRODUCED by PT, bought in one of their postal shops, they pulled out the almighty TAPE MEASURE on me trying to show that it was beyond the “official” size for mailing. I was sweating it because they’ve done that to me before and sent me home…bastardi. This time it made the cut though. After having waited over a half hour, I was preparing to scream, “You bastards MADE the box, how can it not be regulation size??” I’m sure they would have found an excellent reason. The funny thing is, in attempting NOT to work, they often do much more work than is necessary! Quite the paradox.
You are all missing the point here. These shlubs at the Poste actually have to know someone who knows someone and pay a bribe to get the job at the Poste. Once they get the job, they cannot be fired, EVER. So, the shenanigans at the window are about POWER. This is the Italian version of penis waving. It certainly doesn’t help if you are American.
Many years ago we received a notice from the Poste to come and pick up a package. When we finally got the package, which we were not expecting, and opened it, we found several small carefully sealed plastic packages of green powder. We could not figure this out until, finally after opening them all – one of the packages contained( in the middle of the green powder), a bagel hole. We finally got it! upon further investigation and an overseas call, a cousin of my mother (deli owner in Jersey) had sent us a care package of fresh rye bread and bagels. The green powder was what was left after the package had bounced around the Poste for God knows how long (mold-dried!! I’m surprised customs had nothing to say about the green powder, but this was way before the rise of terrorism.
Hmm, this makes me wonder when my package from the city swap will get to you. Hopefully you won’t have to wait too long. I will keep my fingers crossed!
NOW I understand why the nice family I stayed with in Firenze in March this year never thanked me for the package of photos I sent them… yikes!
This whole conversation would be very funny if Italians could read it. Or would it?
I always find that when in Rome the only safe place to post things for abroad is the Vatican Post Office. Any comments?
Nigel, I tend to agree with you there. In fact, that’s where I sent my wedding announcements from last year.
Shelley, I still remember a grotesque conversation I had with a postal clerk some time ago, before they got rid of the Posta Ordinaria to left Posta Prioritaria to be the only choice you have to mail a letter. I’m still wondering how can something have priority over something else if there is nothing to compare it with. Typical Italian.
Anyway, I had asked specifically for an “ordinary” stamp.
The clerk: “Don’t you want a Posta Prioritaria stamp.”
“Nope, I don’t.”
The clerk: “Well, if you want to get the letter delivered, you should buy a Posta Prioritaria stamp”.
Me: “Excuse me, is a Postal clerk saying that things sent by Posta Ordinaria don’t get delivered?????”
The clerk rolls her eyes, blushes, then says: “Well, no, I mean, if you REAllY want to be sure…”
Me: “Just for you to know, I sent things by Posta Prioritaria that never got delivered. Others got delivered after months. So, please, give me the cheapest stamp you have and I’ll take the risk, I feel adventurous today.”
I hate Poste Italiane. I’ve been hating it for years, since when I was a teenager and I had plenty of penpals whose letters reached my house months after they were sent. Grrrr.
Alice: Interesting point you bring up about the “ordinaria” no longer existing. I remember when they first told me “non esiste più” and I thought it was weird. I never used ordinaria though. Once my husband sent me a letter to the States and it took about 3 or 4 months to arrive, with ordinaria stamps. But it’s true, why call it prioritaria now if there’s no other option? Boh. I like your conversation. If you “really want to be sure” … ha! Maybe they commissions for upselling… yesterday there was an American college student in there who was sending a huge box of clothes and shoes home prior to her departure, and she didn’t understand very well, and the clerk said, “Quanto tempo deve impiegare per arrivare?” And she said “Non importa.” Clerk: “Allora, via aerea va bene?” (Mind you it was a nearly 8 kilo box.) Student: “Ok!” Clerk: “Vuoi sapere il prezzo?” Student: “Ok!” Clerk: “Ottantotto euro.” Gulp. Everyone in the post office was like, whoa! The student just smiled and said?? “Ok!” Ha.
I was googling for Poste Italiane and noticed your discussion. I have a package currently in limbo in Italy enroute from the US. I mailed it before Thanksgiving and, from the looks of things, it may never arrive. However, the discussion was highly amusing – I will try not to give up hope that the “pacco” will never arrive…sigh.
FedEx experiences in Italy
I sent a Christmas present to Itlay from the US on 12-17-07, via FedEx. It arrived in Milan on 12-21 and has been sitting there in customs ever since. It is supposed to go to the Vicenza area which is only a couple of hours away. I have called FedEx numerous times but they are unable to give me a valid reason for the delay. Once, they faxed me a form so I could give a detailed description of the contents for customs. That was over a week ago and nothing has changed. Here is a multi-million dollar, global, operation and they are powerless to deal with the Italian customs apparatus. According to what they tell me, they are not even able to talk directly with the customs people but have to go through some sort of intermediary who works for them. The whole system over there appears to be hopelessly corrupt. One bright thing is that FedEx is not going to charge me for the shipping… I expect that the present will either get “lost” or the customs people will try to shake down my friend for a bribe to get it delivered.
once again….i feel you sister!!! our lifes happenings are oddly similar. My family never even recieved 2 packages and 3 postcards from me last year. This is where we say….”um…isn’t this really wrong and borderline illegal?” I mean….who is held responsible? hahahahah Sometimes i think this only happens with packages to and from the USA and italy…..is that fair to assume?
I printed out the pages of this thread (about 10) and faxed them to the Italian embassy in Washington. Have not had any response to date but that is not surprising.
I included a short letter that explained who I was and that their government should look into this mess. If enough people write and call them they might get the hint…
I called them once, a few days before I sent the fax, and the guy who answered blew me off and hung up the phone. If their postal/customs systems can disrupt our lives then we have every right to disrupt theirs with our complaints.
Today is February 26, 2008 and I just received the Christmas card my parents sent to me from the U.S. postmarked December 5, 2007. My best friend sent me a Christmas present/package on December 10th and I still haven’t received it. Every box I’ve received from the U.S. has been opened, searched and retaped. I ordered 100 syringes (for my allergy shots) and the package had not only been opened before being delivered but they didn’t bother to retape this time – I had syringes all over my mailbox (luckily they are individually wrapped as well). The Italian Postal System is the worst I’ve ever seen – what is this, a 3rd world country? Give me a break!!
Hi, I was also looking for the web site of the Italian post office when I stumbled on this conversation. I read it, it amused me and of couse I had similar experience. Once it took 2 month to a priority letter to get from Bari to Greece (it arrived at the same time with an ordinary one that employed only 2 weeks on the way). I’m sorry to bring sad news to the one that was trusting the Vatican postal sistem. I sent home, to Romania, a bunch of postcards approximately one year and half ago (in november 2006). None of them arrived! And there were about 10 of them, with different addresses to get to… So … I use a Romanian privat diivery firm to get my packs to and from Romania. Leaving aside that it costs very little (1.5 Euro/kg) it gets to destination in less than a week! I don’t trust the Italian postal service. It sucks. Neither their trains that always arrive with delay … And they call my country a third world one! Huh, I wonder …
OK, these have scared me to death. I was planning on sending a camera and a few books via FedEx Priority to Florence to meet me there when I arrived. I have spoken with the hotel and they have agreed sending the packagae should be fine. Am I correct posters that you think it is more likely than not it will not get there? Does shipping FedEx Priority help? Any comments are greatly appreciated.
I have had items shipped from US before to Switzerland, Germany and UK. Never had any problem or delay. I’m waiting for a package shipped to Nth. Italy on 5th Apr 08 from US via first class mail. No sign of it as of now (its 21st Apr), but from the previous posts, it seems I’ll have be waiting a while.
I read elsewhere that Poste Italiane has recently “pulled up its socks” after an embarrasing report on TV about the Milano Roserio postal black-hole. Is this true? Anyone received USPS first class parcel within 2-3 weeks lately? Please give me some hope.
I’ve been living in Italy for 1.5 years. The bureaucracy in the Italian system is daunting. Dealing with questura on arrival is enough to make anyone want to go back to their country. Seriously, I cannot understand how people even classify Italy as a “developed country”.
I am a foreign people. I mail a parcel to Italy by registered mail, and now is being held at ” Milano Roserio Doqame “, but the third word I don’t see very clear… is it Doqame? or Toqame? Can anyone help me? I want to know which Italy post office hold my package… I am so worried… please help me… Sincerely yours, -Weca-
Sent a package to Italy last year as a wedding gift…..they are still waiting!!!!
Also sent a two dollar bill to a friend of mine in Italy and hidden it between to two folded sheets of paper. THEY TOOK THE MONEY and my friend got the paper!!!!
How can Italians be such a nice warm giving people until it gets to the Post Office!!!
This abuse MUST STOP!!!!!!!!!
Well, I have been mailing parcels to my cousin Maria Luisa in SCAFATI (Salerno) for years now.This year the POSTE-ITALIANE had the nerve to block it at the customs office (LA DOGANA) and demand EURO-33.00 from her for delivery.How is this possible? I paid USD 125.00 to have it delivered by X-mas from New York.Although it was delivered by X-mas on DEC.16-th.(It was mailed on Nov.30-th.) It was delivered on time for the holidays,however,they have some nerve charging for delivery for a parcel clearly marked “GIFT/REGALO” and I paid all applicable charges back in the U.S. !!!!!
Ho spedito un pacco natalizio alla mia cara cugina Maria Luisa in SCAFATI (Salerno) per tanti anni ora. Questo anno, la POSTA-ITALIANA ha avuto il nervo per ostruirlo all’ufficio doganale (LA DOGANA) e per richiederle EURO-33.00 per la consegna. Come è questo possibile? Ho pagato USD 125.00 per spedire la scatola da natale da New York.E’arrivata in ITALIA prima di Natale(È stata spedita su Nov.30-th.) È stato trasportato in tempo per le feste al 16-novembre in ITALIA.Comunque,tuttavia, hanno certo nervo addebitare una carica di EURO-33,00 al destinatario quando ho pagato tutte le spese applicabili qui in America per un pacco designato chiaramente come:“GIFT/REGALO”.Sono rimasto sconcertato come questo e’possibile? Quindi,non e’difficile da credere che secondo questo sito,il servizio postale italiano e’considerato il peggiore al mondo in termini di velocita’,affidabilita’ e spese assurde.I doganieri sono ladri !!!!
To Wendy…in reply to your comment above dated 10/18/08…the Italian word you are referring to is: “DOGANE”,and it means “CUSTOMS.”Therefore,I do believe your package is or was held at the “Milano Roserio Dogane” that is the Roserio Customs Office in Milano.GOOD LUCK !!!!
A Poste Italiane package arrived yesterday. My wife’s mom sent us a sweater, some cookies, cheese, marmalade, and a couple Italian books. We checked beforehand and everything sent was US customs legal. The package arrived opened and missing the cookies, marmalade, cheese and one of the books. None of this stuff has much material value, but what a despicable postage system. I bet some Italian guy read the packing slip right before lunch and ate our cookies and marmalade and then stole the book. Of course we filed a claim online, which in and of itself takes forever and is probably useless anyway, but I just can’t understand why the citizenry put up with this. It’s a disgrace.
Well, I sent a valuable pen for repair to Rome from Australia in November last year. Marked “old pen for repair”. It arrived, after about 14 days, to the repairer. Takes about the same time for pens, bought on eBay Italy, to reach me in Australia. No problems over several years. Am I lucky?
My bank in Italy sent me a statement on 1-13 and it just arrived in America, 3 months later. They use the “Posta Prioritaria” service and I guess we can assume that does not mean very much… The bank also issued new bancomat cards on the first of the year. They tell me that they sent out 2 cards and I have yet to receive either one. I finally told them to cancel the 2 cards and issue a new one. I had my friend go to the bank and pick up the new card and FedEx it to me, that took about one week to arrive. When it comes to the customs and postal service Italy is 4th world, on the level of drums and smoke signals… Third world would be an improvement.
I just received word from home, that the package I paid $200 to send ‘EXPRESS’ (since it was the only one with a tracking #) has finally, after 1 month, arrived home, from Italy to Canada.
All valuables inside were stolen. $200 to have my stuff stolen. Fucking disgusting. A big $ loss for me.
Italiane Poste: You are a goddamn joke, and to steal from others, when your job is to serve and assist, and instead you choose to lie and manipulate, proves that you have been raised within a family of goddamn whores.
That being said, I am sure that there are diligent, intelligent, hardworking employees there, though the few they are, and I apologize for offending them with the statement above. However, to those that, after so much time, and after $200, stole our things: You are a rat, and your actions, and your existence, make the world an evil place.
I hate Posta Italiana! But as soon as I discovered Mailboxes etc, I found peace with myself and my problems went away.
Lol I am Italian and living in the US and apparently my Easter package was stopped at custom because the mini-choccolate-easter eggs looked like bullets lmfao…leave it to the US to overreact ridiculously!
Eventually it got through and now it says online that the package is “Non-deliverable”…what does that even mean?
I think instead of insulting other companies, you should look in your back-yard…the problems are generally much closer to you than you think.
And btw it’s Poste Italiane morons lol
Aw, that’s brave of you, defending PT like that. You just might be the only person on the face of the planet who takes that stance. God bless you!
Oh and btw it’s quite shitty of you to insult my readers for a spelling mistake, but I’m glad it gave you an lol. Because btw backyard is one word, not two with a hyphen. (I love your “hip” use of acronyms like ROFLMFAO and btw, btw, can you tell?) And btw non-deliverable means it can’t be delivered because people who don’t know how to properly spell backyard and who overuse hyphens where they don’t belong and don’t know how to capitalize holiday names aren’t allowed to receive “mini-chocolate-easter eggs” in the mail, it’s an official USPS regulation, somewhere on their site btw I saw it once.
And btw I’ve lived in Rome for 12 years so my backyard isn’t as close to me as you think.
(Said pretty much no speaker of English, native or non-native, ever. Except for someone on Urban Dictionary who helpfully misspells the word “too” and inexplicably capitalizes the word Later in the following definition: “A chill way to say goodbye for those who are to lazy to finish the word Later.” Was that you writing that definition too?
Look at that, ROFLMFAO, now you can “roll on the floor and laugh your fucking ass off” about the fact that you’re officially considered “chill.”)
Start a blog to insult the USPS, I’m sure you’d find solidarity there.
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