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The Italian mail system is notoriously slow, but it is improving with some privatization. Allow from 7 to 15 days for mail to get to the United States. Receiving mail in Italy, especially packages, can take weeks.
Most post offices are open Monday-Saturday 9-12:30; central post offices are open weekdays 9-6:30, Saturday 9-12:30. On the last day of the month, post offices close at midday. You can buy stamps at tobacco shops as well as post offices.
An expensive express delivery, Postacelere (for larger letters and packages), guarantees one-day delivery to most places in Italy and three- to five-day delivery abroad.
Mail sent to the United States costs €0.85 for up to 20 grams, €1.50 for 21-50 grams, and €1.85 for 51-100 grams. Mail sent as Postacelere to the United States costs €43-€50 for up to 500 grams.
Other package services to check are Quick Pack Europe, for delivery within Europe; and EMS Express Mail Service, a global three- to five-day service for letters and packages that can be less expensive than Postacelere.
Two-day mail is generally available during the week in all major cities and at popular resorts via UPS and Federal Express. Service is reliable; a Federal Express letter to the United States costs about €35. If your hotel can't assist you, try an Internet café, many of which also offer two-day mail services using major carriers.
You can ship parcels via air or surface. Air takes about two weeks, and surface anywhere up to three months to most countries. If you have purchased antiques, ceramics, or other objects, ask if the vendor will do the shipping for you; in most cases, this is a possibility. If so, ask if the article will be insured against breakage. When shipping a package out of Italy, it is virtually impossible to find an overnight delivery option—the fastest delivery time is 48 to 72 hours.
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