Italian in Italy

Post Office

A post office sign that reads "PT"

Generally, there is a main post office in the town or city square, then smaller branches in outlying areas of the cities. The post office in Italy serves as a place to buy stamps (which can also be bought at the tabacchi ); mail packages; pick up pension checks; pay electric, water, gas, mortgage; pay for C.O.D.'s; and open a savings account with the government. ATMs are frequently located outside the post office.

The mailing process can appear cryptic to foreigners and is not always reliable. If postcards are extensively full, they may be charged a letter rate. Packages must be wrapped according to strict postal standards, and, for this reason, there are special package-wrapping services available in selected stationery shops. The most inexpensive way to send heavy packages overseas is by sea, which can, however, take many weeks to reach their destination. For envelopes, there are several services available. When sending documents or anything of value, one should, at the very least, send the item via registered mail (raccommandata) through the Italian postal system, or one may opt for a private carrier service such as DHL or FedEx. In any case, be prepared to fill out forms and to have handy information such as the city postal code for the point of origin.