How to Use the Italian Post Office (Poste Italiane)

“How am I to send my postcards,” said a friend, “when I can’t even find the right person at the Italian Post Office to talk to?” Another friend lamented, “I usually send my postcards with ‘I’ll be seeing you before you read this.’” It is true that the Italian postal service, called the Poste Italiane, doesn’t have a very good reputation.

italian_Postal_ServiceOne of the most difficult elements of mailing something in Italy is that the post offices are set up entirely different than those we are used to in the United States. Once you get the hang of how the Poste Italiane works, you may conclude that the Poste Italiane isn’t really all that bad.

When you walk into an Italian post office, don’t look for a line to stand in. Italians rarely stand in lines. Instead, there should be a machine located near the entrance, directing you to push a button and receive a number. There are a number of options, because the Italian post office not only sends and stores letters and packages; it is also where Italians pay their gas and electric bills, among other things. In fact, very few of the people inside Italian post offices are sending mail or picking up packages, which means the crowd may not be as daunting as you think. However, make sure you press the correct button; otherwise, you will find yourself talking to the wrong person. The correct button will say spedizione and will have a picture of an envelope beside it. You will know that you have pressed the correct button if the piece of paper that is spit out has a ‘P’ before the number.

A large board displays the numbers being currently serviced; every time a new number is called, you will hear a loud beep. Make sure to pay attention, because the postal representatives rarely dwell longer than a few seconds on a number if they do not see anyone walking up to their window. The first time I entered a post office, I stood around for 15 minutes before realizing that I needed a number.

poste_italienePostal representatives usually give you the lowest price on postcards, letters, or packages, without offering various methods and rates for sending mail, as they do in the United States. Note, if you want a receipt, you must ask for one.

In my experience, mail going from Italy to the U.S. arrives quickly, usually in 5-10 ten days, and I have never had any of my packages lost. However, the Italian post office is not very capable when it comes to delivering packages sent from the U.S. Packages generally take at least 3 weeks and up to 2 months to arrive, and, as many online horror stories will tell you, packages are often lost. Postcards seem to fall into a different category of priority and take longer to arrive in the U.S. than either letters or packages. Sadly, as things currently stand, you may want to sign your postcards as my friend did: “I’ll be seeing you before you read this.”

Written by Mattie Bamman for

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  1. says

    please i want to have your postale italiane office number in milan. there is something i sent to spain but they never recieve it.

  2. Kris Schlichting says

    Someone in Italy is mailing an envelope or bubble-pack envelope to me. They sent me a copy of their form and tracking number.
    And they have not listed my complete address. They only listed my name, house number (but not street), the city, the state, but the wrong zip code.

    Is there a way that I can notify the posteitaliane and give them the correct address?
    Thank you.

  3. says

    Hi Kris,

    Sorry, but there’s no way to contact the Italian postal service and change the address. If the sender sent it as certified mail, then the package will at the very least—if not delivered to you—be returned to the sender. That much is guaranteed. —-Mattie

  4. Doug says

    Question: We left something behind at a hotel in Rome. Is there a way to buy postage from the Italian Postal Service from the US, to provide to the hotel for shipping the item to us here in USA?

  5. Kimberley says

    Hi, i’ve sent mail to a friend in Italy about 3 weeks ago and I want to know what happened to it. I bought tracking number for it so i can track it. Here’s what happened.
    I mailed early October, and according to it said it has been sent to Italy on 3/10/2014. But when i contacted PosteItaliane via twitter, it has said it has NOT yet arrived in Italy at all. It’s been over two weeks. What happened to it? Could anyone please help with this?
    I’ve sent a letter to the same address before and it has never taken this long for it to arrive

  6. Anna Thomas says

    I am trying to locate my Italian family with my deceased aunt Rosa Wwe. Ferrari (maiden name Zauner). I have the daughters first name only husbands first name and grandchildren first name. Rosa lived in Bozen. I have the death announcement 9 November 1981.
    This is an old address of one of Rosa’s daughter Christine and Tiziano Miuzzi, Bari Str 52/15, 39100 Bozen, Italy.

    My name is Anna (Kaczmarek) Thomas Thank you so much for any help to me. If you have any more questions, please email me at Anna

  7. Ben says


    I am anxiously waiting for a package I sent back to a seller in Italy. I sent it with United States Postal Service(USPS). I shipped it on 2/21/2015 and it is still saying “Customs clearance – your item is being processed by customs in Italy” since 2/25/2015 which has been 3 weeks and no further updates. What can I do? The package is going to the city of Lurago Marinone, province is Co in Italy. I donot know who to call. Please help! Thanks!

  8. Ben says

    I just wanted to add I sent it from the US and I contacted both my local courier and the person I am sending it to in Italy. They are not being helpful. Who else can I contact? Do you have any contact of the post office and customs in Italy?



    I hope this finds you well. I am trying to track a package sent by Poste Italiene, with a tracking number.
    What site can I use to submit the tracking number to obtain information? Thank you very much for your assistance. /d.

  10. Angie says

    My husband sent a postal packet to me in ivory coast nd it’s been 3 months now I have not received it. When he contacted the posteitaliene he was given a no to call bt he calls and no one picks up. Can you pls help. It was registered tho. How many more months do I need to wait

  11. T says

    Hello. I saw that your article is revised not long ago. All the articles I read (mostly written a couple of years ago) says that you need to buy stamps from tabacchis before going to the post office. Is it true until now (2015)? Thank you!

  12. Daniel Filiatrault says

    This morning , i did send to ITALIA a BOX ( COLISSIMO ) , from CANADA . i did send by EXPRESSPOST . Now i just realised i forgot to write the street name and number of door . Postal code is correct all the rest is correct . I did also put a phone number .
    Do you think my COLISSIMO will be delivered ok ???
    How could i make the ajustment for THE COMPLETE CORRECT ADRESS ? Thank you .

  13. Mohit says


    I am expecting a registered letter from Argentina with tracking ID – RR639577952AR.

    On the tracking website it shows that the letter was last registered in Milan, Italy on 29/07/2015. It’s been more than a month and there is no movement of the letter. I would like to know the current status of the letter.

    I tried to raise an official complaint on posteitaliane website by filling up the form but I received an auto-generated email on my email address asking me to raise the complaint in English (I wrote the message in English only).

    I am also not able to find any email address of either Italy post or Argentina post so that I can contact them directly. Can anyone please help me here? Either by letting me know the current status of my letter or by telling me the email address of Italy post through which I can contact them?


  14. Grace Bertolozzi says

    Three weeks ago I sent an Express Mail package from California to my cousins in Monsagratti, Lucca, Italy–in never arrived. He is undergoing chemo and the family was very discouraged so it was filled with pick-me-up items. This is not the first time this happened and I am disgusted embarrassed about where I come from. How can Italy imagine itself to be a first world nation when it’s postal service behaves like a third world country. Beware — it seems you can’t send a package from the USA to relatives with anything of even the slightest value without it getting stolen.

  15. Roger Johnson says

    I have just come from a post office in Rome adjacent to St Pietro Roma station. Yesterday they charged me 8 euros to send 3 postcards , one to USA one to Australia and one to New Zealand. After a long ” discussion ” they still insisted the price was 2.90 to Aus and NZ and 2.20 to USA. Yet all the websites say it is 1 euro for NZ and Aus and .85 cents to US. Can any one explain this. I had no luck.

  16. Stacey says

    I have posted some knitted items to Italy from Australia 6 weeks ago. Not arrived as yet. Are knitted goods prohibited or allowed now ?

  17. Avanthi says

    Im Avanthi From Sri Lanka. I posted few X’Mas cakes to Italy for my husband 3 weeks ago. When i check it with our track records with the tracking No. RF012559004LK It says “held at Customs” at Milano.
    Why does it happend?.
    What can i do for this?

  18. Kate R. says

    I shipped a package to Italy and the tracking said to have the addressee pick up the package only it did not specify where. Are there “local” post offices in Italy like in the US? Where else might one pick up a package?

  19. Toni says

    I posted a parcel from US t- shirts to Milan,Italy on the 26th February 2016. USPS tracking says Milan customs cleared on 7 th March 2016
    Today is 26th March and the package has still not delivered.
    Have my friend to go to customs or post office to collect the package?

  20. Vanessa says


    I am expecting a package that someone in Italy shipped on February 26, but it has been stuck in Centro Scambi Internazionale since March 1. There has been no movement. The sender doesn’t know what happened to it and I don’t speak Italian so I cannot contact Poste Italiane directly. Their website isn’t useful either as there is no “contact” information. Can anyone help me contact them or locate my package? :'( The tracking information is RA866591225IT. Thank you…

  21. Viola says

    Hi Terri,
    I am trying to locate shipping parcel shipping rates from Northern Italy to the US.
    Is there any link anywhere?
    Thank you so much.

  22. rubin says

    Hi Terri

    Thanks for the took lot of pressure off my shoulders already
    I am travelling across europe and currently I am in Italy

    1. I would like to send a hand written letter to friends in Swiss, India and Japan n u.k
    2. Where do I find the envelope and how much of stamps I should buy them for each
    3. And I have to write the destination address along with mine on the front of envelope
    4.these will be hand written letters and nothing much more than that as a gift from me
    5. And just present the envelopes along with stamps in my hand at post office?

    Thank you for your response

  23. Abdul Fatao Iddris says

    Hi i just open postepay evolution account and please i don’t understand some things in it please how am i going to use my credit card and secondly I have to register before using it or i can just use it finally they give me one envelope which may pin code is on it what should i use that envelope for

  24. Eugene says

    Hi. Please I opened an account at the post office but later on there was a mistake in the documents I used in opening the acount and so I went to the questura and prefettura to change into the correct one. Due to this changes in the documents the Codice fiscale has changed as. So my question is now that I’ve get a new Codice fiscale, is it possible for me to open another account with the Codice fiscale?

  25. says

    Hi! Please if somebody could help me. I will be sending a package to my family in the Phillipines, i’m living here in Italy. Is it safe to put a cellphone in the package? I will be sending the package through Poste Italiane! Thank you very much!

  26. Naphtali says

    Hi. Iovershopped and want to ship my clothes over and bring my new goods in my luggage.
    Do you have an idea of what it would cost for the States??

  27. Godwin says

    i just open a new account here in Italy but i just discovered there is no way i can assess my account with English language on the official sit and even the app, so sad. please what should i do?

  28. says

    I am sorry, but we can’t help. It appears from all sides that the Italian Post Office system has a lot of problems. I think you’ll need to engage the help of someone who speaks Italian.

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