Mail, Packages & Customs

Shipping Mail and Packages


Please note that the Office of Student Life does not send out student mail. However, if you have questions about sending out letters or packages, feel free to speak with a staff member.


Postal rates in Italy are much higher than they are in the United States. Stamps or 'francobolli' can be purchased at almost any tabaccheria (tobacconist). Don’t count on the store owner knowing postal rates, though. To send postcards and regular-sized envelopes posta prioritaria (first class) to the United States, Canada, Asia and Africa, the cost is €4.50. For Europe-bound envelopes and postcards, buy stamps worth €0.75.

Post Offices


Post offices in Italy vary in function. Florence’s main post office offers the most services. Check out the Italian Postal Service website for lots of information about sending and receiving mail in Italy.

Main Branch Office

Via Pellicceria 3 (Piazza della Repubblica)

Tel: 055-27361

Post Office 003

Piazza della Libertà 40/r

Tel: 055-553301

Post Office 018

Via Cavour 71/a

Tel: 055-463501

Post Office 039

Via Alamanni 14r, 16r, 18r

Tel: 055-267491

This post office is right around the Santa Maria Novella train station.

Sending Mail

Please note that the Office of Student Life does not send out student mail. However, if you have questions about sending out letters or packages, feel free to speak with a staff member.


To mail a letter or postcard, place it in the red mailboxes usually located outside tobacco shops and post offices. Make sure that you put letters addressed to recipients outside of Florence in the 'Tutte le altre destinazioni' slot of the mailbox.


There are two ways to ship packages in Italy: through the Italian postal service or through private shipping companies. Couriers and the post office are very strict about what they will accept for shipping. Ask the Office of Student Life staff for advice if you’re not sure which you should choose.

Packing Personal Items for Shipment with the Italian Postal Service

At the post office, no matter what you are sending, the length of the package plus twice the width cannot exceed 200 centimeters. There are no exceptions to this rule. To pack personal items, you will need a scatola (box) no larger than 1 meter long. Pack your things so that they do not rattle around in the box, and seal the box with tape. Print the address, return address, and the contents of the box in large letters on the package. If you are sending personal articles, you should also write ‘nessun valore commerciale’ (no commercial value) on the outside of the package so that you are not taxed for the items that you are sending.

Mailing Your Package with the Italian Postal Service

Once your packages are wrapped and ready to go, bring them to the Prodotti Postali window at any post office. You will have to fill out a form detailing the contents and value of the items inside your packages. One way to avoid extra charges is to identify the contents as ‘articoli personali usati’ (used personal items) or as items with ‘nessun valore commerciale’ (no commercial value), and give them low monetary values. A package sent through regular airmail from Italy will arrive in the United States within one to four weeks of the sending date. There is also an express mail service for packages that weigh less than 30 kilograms called Paccocelere Internazionale. This service is expensive but only takes about 2 business days to deliver. Generally, the cost of sending a package depends on where the package is going, size and weight, how quickly the package will arrive at its destination, and whether or not the contents of the package are fragile.

Shipping Companies


Tel: 199-199345


DHL is an international door-to-door shipping company. Shipping packages through this company is rather expensive, but quick and reliable. A central drop off and pick up point for DHL is located at Intertravel on Via de’ Lamberti 39-41 near Piazza della Repubblica or on Via Vittorio Emanuele 103/r. Call or go online for more information.

Federal Express

Tel: 199-151119


Federal Express does not have a used/temporary export/import license to ship to Italy. As such, often, items shipped into the country will be taxed at full value as if the items were to be sold here, even if they are used and for personal use. Call or go online for more information regarding rates and delivery.

Mail Boxes Etc.

Via San Gallo 61/r

Tel: (055) 4630418


This company offers a variety of services, including photocopying, faxing, mailing packages and documents, storage, packing, and printing. There is also an office supply and shipping supply store. NYU students get a special discount on storage and shipping. For more information, call, stop by the Florence branch, or check out the website.

SDA Express Courier (Kipoint)

Piazza Beccaria 19/r

Tel: 055-2341335

UPS (United Parcel Service)

Via di Pratignone 56/a, Calenzano

Tel: 02-30303039

Sending packages through UPS is rather expensive, but quick and reliable. Door-to-door service. Call for more information.

Receiving Mail and Packages

No matter where you are living, Villa Natalia, Villa Colletta, an off campus residence, or a homestay - you should receive your mail at Villa Natalia. Please make sure to sender includes your name on the mail/package you are expected to receive:


c/o New York University

Villa Natalia

Via Bolognese 106

50139 Florence, Italy

It is possible that mail without a return address or without your full name will not be delivered due to security concerns. Students’ mailboxes are located on the ground floor of Villa Natalia, past the reception desk and on the right before exiting the building. There is a slot for each letter of the alphabet and mail is divided according the student’s last name. Please remember to check your mailboxes often as mail and other types of notices from the OSL are placed here.

Important Tips & Guidelines on Receiving Mail & Packages

Please note that 5 categories of shipped items are automatically stopped for mandatory inspections which result in fees you must pay before receiving your package. The cost for clearing these items can be VERY high, so please think twice before sending them.

Items to avoid:

1) Food items

2) Cosmetics/personal hygiene items (even toothpaste, shampoo, etc)

3) Medicine (including vitamins)

4) Electronics Items (cell phones, iPods, etc)

5) New or used clothing

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have to staff in the Office of Student Life.


  • Many of the more well-known American food brands can be bought in specialty stores and in supermarkets in Florence. Imported food undergoes mandatory Health Department checks which entail more fees added to your shipment. You cannot ask exemption from Customs duty for food items.

  • Most common cosmetics and personal hygiene products can easily be bought in Florence, though the brands might be different. Both cosmetics and personal hygiene items also undergo the mandatory Health Department check and fees.

  • Medicine - a local doctor can tell you whether or not there is an exact Italian equivalent for medicine that you were thinking about having sent from home. If so, the doctor can give you a prescription for the Italian equivalent of this medication and it is often far less expensive to buy the medication here than it is to buy the same medicine abroad and then deal with having it cleared by the Italian Customs Office. If there is no exact equivalent in Italy and you decide to have the medicine sent, the Customs Office will require a form signed by an Italian doctor stating that the medicine cannot be bought here in Italy and you will have to pay both Customs and Health Department taxes before your package can be delivered, in addition to the fact that this procedure considerably slows down the delivery times so THINK TWICE.

  • Electronics - the value on new items is high and the corresponding VAT taxes to pay (22% of the declared value) are consequently very high. The importation of new electronic items (especially computers) is always blocked by Customs and very, very expensive to carry out.

  • Whenever possible, have the sender request the option “free domicile” which should ensure that the recipient of the package will only have customs fees to pay (should there be any) and no other transportation fees. When the “free domicile” option is not chosen, the transportation cost from the Italian border to final destination (Florence) is often added to the delivery cost. The sender should also avoid the word “gift” on the list of contents and should always put “used personal items, no commercial value” when applicable, especially when shipping clothing. Again, the VAT tax, when new items are imported to Italy, is approximately 22% of the declared value of the contents.

  • When having items sent through the Post Office, always ask the sender to choose the option that provides a tracking number. Without this number, it is almost impossible to obtain information on a lost or delayed package. All courier-sent packages are automatically provided with a tracking number which is essential in tracing a delayed shipment. (We also recommend that you avoid receiving airplane tickets, credit cards and other important documents through the United States Postal Service’s regular mail, as their tracking system is limited to packages sent within the United States and the delivery is not rapid).

  • The Customs Office will not separate the contents of a shipment so you cannot ask to receive part of the package’s contents and leave the “problematic” items to be sent back to the sender. Each shipment carries its own number and contents paperwork and this cannot be altered in any way. The Villa Natalia reception staff accepts and distributes mail during regular hours of operation (Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM), sorts the mail, and places it on the mail shelf in the lobby of Villa Natalia. Packages and registered mail are held until the addressees request them and sign them out at the reception. Yellow notices in your mail grid indicate that a package or registered mail has been received and no charges are due while red notices indicate that delivery charges must first be paid in the OSL before the package can be picked up. The reception staff will only release packages and registered mail to the person to whom the mail is addressed. If the Office of Student Life receives mail for you after your departure at the end of the program, the staff will ask the postal worker to return the mail to its sender. We sincerely hope these mailing guidelines will help you know what can easily be sent and what is better not to have sent, in addition to helping save your money in the process.