How to send postcards from Italy
Small guide to send postcards that your friends will actually receive from Italy
"Tiziana, is it possible that the postcards I posted didn't arrive in Germany after 8 weeks?"
"I did send postcards from Italy but they haven't reached my friends yet! Why is that?"
"I heard that in Italy the postal service is not very efficient, is it true?"
By now I have some experience of the small problems our guests at La Scuola di Furio and tourists in general can experience. With this post I hope to be useful to our future guests.
Signora Michaela is one of our loyal guests. She lives in Germany, in North Rhine-Westphalia. She knows and loves Italy a lot. So much that she got married here! Unfortunately, even people who come to Italy often and know the Bel Paese may run into some minor inconveniences! Signora Michaela wrote me via Messenger a few weeks after her stay in Tuscany:
(More or less: Hi Tiziana, what is going on with Poste Italiane? During my holiday I posted 15/20 postcards and NONE of them arrived. Such a waste of money. I wish you a lovely stay in Germany. And say hi to Tuscany when you will be back home. We had a wonderful holiday at La Scuola di Furio. A big hug, Michaela)
It is so romantic! And increasingly rare! You stop, perhaps in a quaint little bar, to write a postcard. You look for the home address, choose carefully the words. I guess that those who receive your postcard really feel very special. And I can only imagine how disappointed those who, like Signora Michaela, have carefully combined the photos of the Tuscan landscapes and of our most beautiful and famous monuments to each recipient, spent money on postcards and stamps, wrote words of affection to the people he loves and then PUFF, everything is dissolved into thin air when your dearest ones receive nothing!
That's me posting postcards to Germany in Viale Colombo in Fucecchio
What may have happened? Why don't the postcards arrive? As soon as I read his message I immediately imagined what could have happened. Poste Italiane does not have a good reputation, but usually the mail arrives, perhaps late, but it arrives.
Until a few years ago the only way to send the postcards was to buy the stamps at a post office (in Fucecchio there are three: one in the center of Fucecchio, in via Dalla Chiesa, open all day (no lunch/siensta break) and in 2 of its hamlets Ponte a Cappiano and Querce only open in the morning) or at a tobacconist (recognizable by the white T on a blue field sign well exposed outside) and attach them on the postcards. The letter boxes were of one type and all belonged to Poste Italiane.
The characteristic sign of an Italian tobacconist (in this case, in Florence)
Now things got complicated. In the points most frequented by tourists (such as newsstands and souvenir shops in the most popular historic centers of Tuscany) yellow mailboxes have emerged that are NOT of Poste Italiane, but of other private postal services.
The GPS advertisement that explains where to post the postcards with their postage
So if you buy Poste Italiane stamps, put them in a Poste Italiane letterbox, if you buy stamps for another service, put them in a letterbox belonging to THAT service.
Please also note that Poste Italiane has introduced unfortunate postage stamps since July 2016 with no written value, in cents or euros! The stamp only shows a combination of letters and numbers with specific postage rates. TOTAL CONFUSION!
Above an old Poste Italiane stamp, with the name and the amount of its value. Below is an example of a new stamp, valid for "B Zone 1" shipments.
Just to increase the confusion, the new stamps, for a totally incomprehensible choice of Poste Italiane do NOT even mention the name Poste Italiane! It will be my fault, that I don't get to understand it, but I wonder the reason for having eliminated the company name in a world where Poste Italiane is no longer a monopolist in Italy! I just don't explain it!
In my opinion, it is one of the reasons why your postcards do not reach their destination.
The photo I took just before posting the postcards in Piazza Fontane Marose, in Genoa
Not sure what is best to do? Are you in Fucecchio and you can't find a letterbox for whose service you have already attached the stamps? Are you about to leave and you don't know if on your return journey you will find a Poste Italiane letterbox? Give the postcards to me, I'll take care of it! When our guests at La Scuola di Furio ask us to post their postcards, I immediately become nervous. I do it very gladly but I am afraid of forgetting them in the car or in my bag, of losing them or that something can happen! I am happy for the trust our guests place in me and I post them as soon as I can! I also like to send a photographic proof through WhattsApp! Once some guests left me some postcards with "GPS service" stamps and I posted them in Genoa! A bit far from Fucecchio and from Tuscany but I did it as soon as I could and in the right letterbox! And I documented it all with a photo!
If you also have a little doubt, ask me or my brother Walter, we are here for you!