Ode to Poste Italiane

14 Feb

I now interrupt my regularly-scheduled post to bring you this late-breaking bulletin.

Oh, Italian Postal Service. Poste Italiane. PT, if you will. How do I love thee? Yesterday you gave me one more reason to heart you. As if eating one of my Godiva chocolates wasn’t already enough, you just keep coming back for more.

Anyone out there remember the Great International City Swap? Since we ended up with an odd number, I took two buddies and therefore was due for two packages. The deadline to send out the packages was December 1. You may remember one of them arrived in December. The other, sadly enough, was nowhere to be found. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I wasn’t the only one who didn’t receive a package (ahem, Kelli, has it arrived yet? I was assured that it was sent!), so I just figured that’s part of the deal when you organize a swap. But there in the back of my mind was that little voice saying, “You know, just blame it on the Italian postal service…it’s probably all their fault.” But, not wanting to always use them as the scapegoat, I resisted.

You see, I try not to be so hard on them, but, it’s hard not to. They just do such a good job of not doing a good job.

Yesterday afternoon, and just for the record that would be Tuesday, February 13, i.e., over two months after the swap deadline, I received a package from the lovely Lori, a.k.a. Mingaling in Atlanta. Not just sunshine and ponies, indeed! After Poste Italiane FINALLY got their act together and delivered it (yes, the postmark was rubbed off but I was able to read at least “02, 2006,” which tells me that at the max it was sent Dec. 02, 2006, ie, right at the Swap deadline), I was treated to a great swap package of typical Atlanta delights.

The first and probably most entertaining of the Atlanta gems was a poster declaring “Baton Bob, the Ambassador of Mirth!” Hailed as one of Atlanta’s most colorful street characters, and I think you’ll agree…

He looks simply FAHBULOUS and my swap buddy Mingaling assures me that he is one of the reasons her commute is less awful. Ming, next time you see Bob, please tell him that he is welcome in Rome anytime. IMHO, our street performers haven’t quite reached this level of fabulousness. I mean, why didn’t I see that dress when I was wedding dress shopping?

Wait. I think one local performer does qualify for this level of entertainment value, and that’s my neighborhood mago in his spangly red suit and top hat. But I still haven’t managed to catch him in action, so until then, Baton Bob from Atlanta takes the cake.

Of course it surely wouldn’t be “Down South” without some of that famous southern cookin’ and who am I to go against 101 Things To Do With Grits?

I haven’t studied it yet in-depth, but I am hoping it is limited to cooking.

There was also a CD from local legend Cat Power which I can assure you is quite beautiful and slightly reminiscent of The Cranberries, and a wonderful B&W print of the Atlanta skyline that I intend to frame, and that, let’s give the PT a little credit here, did arrive in one piece. Luckily Mingaling detailed every article in a little note to me, so I can be sure that nothing went missing this time. Then again, there wasn’t anything edible in the package so that probably helped.

And so alas, yet another black mark in Poste Italiane’s book but at the same time a fun surprise from the International City Swap crew.

Does anyone have a really GOOD Italian postal horror story? I know they’re out there. I like to troll the web in search of goodies to go with my posts, and for this one I ran into an article from 1998 entitled Can Bill Gates save the Italian Postal System? (The answer, I can assure you nearly 10 years later, is decidedly NO.) And to think that I forgot to mention to you that, in fact, Poste Italiane was actually WORSE before it went the route of privatization. That was before my time, but I have good informants who can vouch for this.

We all have our stories: Madeline here, Claudia here. There’s really never a shortage of good material. So, thank you again to Mingaling for your fantastic swap present and grazie mille a Poste Italiane for giving me one more reason to trust my mail to the Pope.


16 Responses to “Ode to Poste Italiane”

  1. Michellanea February 14, 2007 at 2:56 pm #

    I’ve got my story too! I documented a real live Italian complaining about his beloved postal service: have you seen the new gadgets? The bank shaped like a post box is kind of cute. Dai!

  2. nyc/caribbean ragazza February 14, 2007 at 4:02 pm #

    Why is the mail so slow? Is it a sorting problem, understaffed? I sent postcards during my first trip to Rome and my family and friends received them almost a month after I returned. ha.

  3. Kelli February 14, 2007 at 5:07 pm #

    Nope. No sign of it, but that is okay. That is the way swaps go sometimes! And I LOVE that Atlanta package. She did such a good job, and being the organizer, you deserve it and then some!

  4. Flambeaux February 14, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    Sadly, a friend of mine in the Curia informed me the other day that the Vatican Post has been subcontracted to the Italian Post for a few years.But, for whatever reason, the delivery rates are still good. Now, if only those who lived in Rome could rent a mailbox in Piazza S. Pietro…:)

  5. sognatrice February 15, 2007 at 9:15 am #

    Mine wasn’t too much of a drama, but I did document it here. Do share when you dig into that grits book, please. I’m very curious.

  6. Elizabeth February 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm #

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I have been sending those yellow post office boxes full of small Christmas gifts and candies through the regular (registered) mail in early December for the past 10 years and they have all arrived in Connecticut within a week! BOH…

  7. Shelley - At Home in Rome February 15, 2007 at 6:30 pm #

    Michellanea, No, no you’re right! I did see that little bank and almost asked them about it in spite of myself! I just lurve picking on the poste italiane, it’s just a fun hobby for me. NYC: Oh, well, who really knows for sure. Sometimes they surprise you. Once I got something from my mom in like 3 days. And I have to laugh because I always blame the Italian mail but who really knows if the US plays a part in it too…Kel: Boo! No fair. The person who sent it said there was “bad weather” the day it went out. So we can blame it on the rain, yeah, yeah…Flambeaux: Ciao, great to see you! Funny that you mention it because last time I was at the Vatican post office and I told them I trusted them more than the Italian post office, I could have SWORN that I heard one of them mumble something like “Well, it’s all the same now…” but when I asked him what he meant he didn’t respond… hmmm.. mystery solved??!Sognatrice: Do you think the Italians will like grits?? Let’s do an experiment…Elizabeth: You are unnaturally lucky!!

  8. Flambeaux February 15, 2007 at 6:45 pm #

    In my experience, Italians love grits so long as you tell them it’s polenta.;)

  9. mingaling February 16, 2007 at 9:03 pm #

    Yay! I’m so glad it made it. I was worried it would be lost, and the dumb post office here wouldn’t let me track an international package.

  10. gracie February 19, 2007 at 9:57 am #

    Wel, I’m still waiting for a package Kelli sent me at the beginning of december, how do you like that????

  11. Kendra June 2, 2007 at 5:12 am #

    Is there any hope of me ever receiving a package I shipped to myself in the U.S. from Rome? I’ve been back from vacation almost 2 months, and still no package. It had a lot of souvenirs I had purchased and was fairly high value. Will it show up someday or should I just give up and accept defeat and loss of the items?

  12. Shelley - At Home in Rome June 3, 2007 at 6:36 am #

    Kendra, Unfortunately your guess is as good as mine! I think I’d wait 4 months before giving up all hope… good luck!

  13. Gunter Verbeek July 1, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Found this website because I was looking for a way to track registered mail with the Italian Post. Apparently this is not possible. Anyway, I’m a Belgian military man living nearby Naples, Italy, where I work at the NATO-base. Next year is my end of tour here. According to Belgian law I have to give the guy who’s living in my house in Belgium for the moment 6 months notice so he has enough time to find another house. Because of my experience with Italians, I sent out the notice by registered mail 1 year and 6 months in advance with a return to sender receipt. After 3 months the letter still didn’t arrive in Belgium. Of course the Italian Post Office can not say what happened with the registered letter. Lucky for me my wife will go next month to Belgium so she can send the notice again but this time with the Belgian Post Office which has a tracking tool on their website like any normal Post Service.


  1. Better Late than Never - Poste Italiane | My Bella Vita - March 29, 2008

    […] a quick hop, skip, and jump around the blogosphere will tell you all about […]

  2. Italian Bureaucracy is So Bad It’s Comical | Un'americana a Roma - August 3, 2013

    […] Here’s the thing, people. Today I write you this tidbit not to complain and bitch. No, no. Perish the thought. Complaining and bitching about Italian bureaucracy is strictly for amateurs. I’m over that. No, folks, I consider myself a seasoned pro by now, so I have better things to do with my time than tell you about long lines and unfriendly clerks at the post office, and mail that never or almost never arrives. (Besides, I’ve done that many times before.) […]

  3. Vino Sfuso a.k.a. Bulk Wine | Un'americana a Roma - February 17, 2014

    […] dread: having to go to the Italian post office. (If you’re new around these parts, see this, this, this, and this, in no particular […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: