Italian post office: How to send a letter in Italy


Updated on Jan 30 • 4 minute read

With very little English information available, using Italian mail services can be pretty confusing if you come from abroad. To prevent an awkward visit to your local Italian post office or getting your postcard lost, we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of sending mail in Italy.

Read further to learn about:

  • sending a letter and parcels in Italy
  • buying stamps in Italy
  • going to an Italian post office
  • addressing a letter in Italy
  • costs of sending mail abroad

How to send a letter in Italy?

The process of sending a letter in Italy might be pretty familiar to what you’re used to in your home country.

Here’s how it looks:

  1. Write your letter or postcard.
  2. Put it in an envelope of a suitable size.
  3. Write down the correct address.
  4. Get enough stamps.
  5. Drop it in a red mailbox or bring it to a nearby postal office.

You can also skip some of these steps by using Poste Delivery Web (online service of Poste Italiane).

Where to find stamps in Italy

You can get stamps (francobolli) at:

  • post offices,
  • newsstands,
  • tobacconists (tabacchi), you can recognise them by a sign with the large "T"

Most of the time, they’ll know exactly how much it’ll cost you to send something to your home country. Just tell (or show) what you need to send and where.

However, this only applies to stamps for letters and postcards;

to send a parcel you still need to go to an ufficio postale (post office).

Sending letters and parcels via the Italian post office

One of the things that make an Italian post office very different from what you’re used to back home is that Poste Italiane has many functions.

Italians go to the post office not just to send a letter or a package, but also to pay bollettino (taxes and bills). And as you might know, expats like you, come here to apply for the issue or renewal of their residence permit.

That’s why Italian post offices tend to be quite crowded, with people having to line up before the entrance during peak hours. But as soon as you’re in, things get a bit more organised.

Because people come here for so many different reasons, Poste Italiane has a take-a-number queue system in place. So, the only thing left to do is to sit patiently and wait for your turn.

So how does it work in a nutshell?

  1. Go to the nearby Italian post office.
  2. Walk towards the machine near the entrance.
  3. Select the button saying ‘spedizione’ with an envelope next to it.
  4. Get your number from the machine. It should start with the letter ‘P.’
  5. Wait for your number to appear on a display.
  6. Pay attention and be quick when your number is up. They’ll probably wait less than a minute before pressing ‘next.’

Alternatively, you can save yourself some hassle and book a spot at the nearby Italian post office online.

Poste Italiane also offers the complete service of printing and sending your letter. You just need to type it all in, attach any necessary files, pay online and they’ll take care of the rest!

But here’s the catch.

Poste Italiane is notorious for losing letters and packages.

That’s especially true for the letters and packages that are sent TO Italy FROM abroad.

So if you’re sending something of great importance or just want to make sure your international shipping is delivered timely, use one of the courier services.

Some of our favourites:

As we mentioned earlier, Poste Italiane also offers parcel delivery services. One of the benefits is the cheaper cost, and an option for a pick-up directly from your house. When sending within Italy, you don't even need to print any labels. If you choose so, your courrier will do everything for you.

With Poste Delivery Web or its Post Office APP, you can:

  • send packages up to 20 kg to another country
  • send it from a nearby post office or have it collected at home
  • download all the necessary documentation that you’ll need to print, sign and attach when shipping
  • if shipping within Italy, you can request the Paperless Collection option

However, we recommend using this service within Italy only. Otherwise, there’s a big chance your package will be travelling for months.

And if you do decide to use Poste Italiane, make sure you select the service allowing you to track your parcel up until it arrives at the destination.

How to address a letter to Italy?

If you’re wondering how to write an address in Italy, you’re not alone. After all, each country uses different formats, and you might get confused about whether your house number goes before or after the street name.

But don’t worry, we'll explain everything to you in a moment!

The main rule when addressing a letter to Italy (or within) is to include:

  • the first and last name,
  • street and house number,
  • postal code,
  • city,
  • province,
  • country.

This information should be written or typed in a specific order and read easily.

That means you must:

  • Write the recipient’s surname before the first name.
  • Write the house number on the second line and after the street name.
  • State the postcode on the third line before the city and the two-letter abbreviation of the province.
  • Write ‘ITALY’ on the last line and in UPPERCASE. You can leave it out if you’re sending a letter within Italy.
  • Include ALL the information.
  • Ensure the information is easily readable by a computer. Printing the label would be better than handwriting.

It should look like this:

  • Rossi Giovanni
  • 00161 ROMA RM

Template in English:

  • [Last Name][First Name]
  • [Street Name][House Number] or ‘Post Office Box’ [Box Number]
  • [Postal Code][City] [Province]
  • [Country]

In Italian:

  • [Cognome][Nome]
  • [Strada][Numero Civico] or ‘Casella Postale’ [Numero]
  • [CAP][Città] [Provincia]
  • [Nazione]

How much does it cost to mail a postcard or letter from Italy?

Italy's post office prices are on the lower side.

Prices for sending a letter or a postcard (up to 20 g) from Italy abroad are as follows:

Fare zoneRates
Zone 1 (Europe and Mediterranean Basin)€ 1.25
Zone 2 (Africa, Americas, Asia)€ 2.40
Zone 3 (Oceania)€ 3.10

We hope our article saves you some hassle and frustration whether you already live in Italy, plan to move there, or just want to send a little something to your friend in this beautiful country!

Please reach out to if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

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