A Post about the Posta

Have you ever bought a house? If so, remember that kind of scary feeling of sitting down at a big conference table and being confronted with with a mountain of documents to sign?    Well in Italy you get to experience this feeling even for something as simple as holding your mail.  Observe exhibit “A” below:


This is the form you need to complete to have your mail held.   Ha ha ha…can you imagine?   I think the form in the States consists of four LINES not a five page document of fine print.

The day I came to fill out the form to hold the mail, I also came to open two savings accounts for my kids (because the Italian Post also offers financial services).  Now, in order to open two savings accounts for minors, our entire family had to be there, and it took two hours.  This is no exaggeration – two hours, countless documents and four postal employees to complete this task.  I tried to sneak some pictures of this chaotic scene (because it is forbidden to take pics in the Posta), you can see them below, unfortunately, they don’t properly reflect the feel of the moment:  millions of documents, confused postal workers – but you get the idea.
Three postal workers trying to figure out how to set up our account

Three postal workers trying to figure out how to set up our account.

My hubby on the left trying to hold back his laughter as he talks with the post office manager

My hubby on the left trying to hold back his laughter as he talks with the post office manager.

forms here, there and everywhere

Forms here, there and everywhere.

Now – – – you might be asking:  “Ummm…Diana – if the Post Office is such a nightmare, why on earth would you CHOOSE to open bank accounts there?  Why not just go to a bank like a normal person?”  And I would agree with this question.  In fact, while we were watching the four postal workers attempt to open our bank accounts, I turned to my husband and asked him the same question.  Neither one of us had an answer.  We felt a little foolish. Then later that night, I was thinking about how the Italian Posta reminds me a little of a bad relationship.  Did you ever have a person in your life that did not treat you well – yet you continued to go out with them anyway?  I must admit I was never one of those girls who liked the bad boys.  I always liked to be treated well, but there is always that one person in your life that you allowed to treat you badly and yet you continued with them anyway.  Why is that?  Is it the thrill of the pursuit?  Or maybe you had faith in that person hoping they would show their good side.  You wanted to believe that they were capable of showing that side, so you kept going back for more, waiting for the miracle turnaround.  Maybe this is me with the Posta….maybe down deep I have some desire to give them a chance to get it right.  Ha, ha, ha….I guess this MUST be the reason otherwise why oh why do I keep subjecting myself to that place?  I don’t know.

Anyway, I feel like lately, I have been doing a lot of complaining about the old country.  So let me show you some snaps from the day after the Posta.  Just a normal day:   A visit to my therapist (I have a shoulder problem and am currently seeing a physical therapist).  His office is in that castle looking building next to the church built around 1600.  This is so FAB to me.  In the States, all doctors are in OFFICE BUILDINGS.  In Italy, they can be in residential buildings, in small annex buildings and apparently in mini-castles.  Who doesn’t want to go to that place for therapy?  Then after therapy, I usually go to get a little coffee because therapy ends at 10AM.  Look at these two guys:  Having their Prosecco and Aperol at 10AM.  See???  Life is also good in Italy.  It is all about balance!


Therapy in the in the mini castle.



Nothing beats reading the paper and having a little prosecco to start the day off right!

32 Comments on “A Post about the Posta

  1. Diana, I always look forward to your posts and they always make me want to travel there. I can’t imagine the wait and the red tape for a bank account, but it balances out with the wonderful things you have. Doctors in castles, wonderful cafes, etc.

    • Hi Kathy!

      Thanks for your comment. Come, come, come and visit and we will enjoy a 10AM Prosecco! 🙂

  2. prosecco – the breakfast of champions! Love that! 🙂 The only time I’ve had to do anything with the entire family present is to get a passport for a minor – surely a savings account is not of the same caliber? sheesh!

    • I know! And that pic was no good, because the other guy had an aperol…..but I had to sneak the photo….did not want to be rude. Anyway…it is funny how many people are boozing it up on the morning. It seems to happen a lot in the smaller, northern towns.

      And yes….I think the whole family has to be present, because basically the whole family has to be present for ANY activity in Italy 🙂

  3. Nowhere scares me more than the Posta. I don’t really know why, I just find it really intimidating! You summed up life in Italy perfectly though… yeah, it’s stressful, but therapists have their offices in castles and people drink Aperol at 10am. It’s not all bad! 🙂

    • I know, right?!?!!? The Posta IS a frightening place! There is one guy that says “NO!” to me EVERY time I go in there! Ha, ha, ha…I can see him already shaking his head in a negative way when he sees me approaching the counter, even before he knows what I am going to ask. Anyway….yes….I guess the Posta is small price to pay for an Aperol at 10AM. 🙂

      How are your renovations coming?

      • I tend to play the foreigner card and make my wife do the talking, but even she usually ends up close to tears having been stared at blankly, shouted at, pushed in front of and then refused any type of service! I really can’t imagine opening a bank account there, you must be crazy! 🙂

        The renovations are coming along really well, thanks. We’ve been away for a few weeks but the builders have been sending us daily updates. Unless, of course, they’re being sneaky and only showing us the good bits…

        • yes…typical….only the good bits! I am sure it is going to be beautiful.

          Yes….I have NO IDEA why we did that bank account there!?!? Anyway…it is done now….no going back….I like to think of the posta as a place for some comic relief…but apparently not for your wife. And as you mention, .it is not just the postal workers, but the postal CUSTOMERS! Pushing in front of your wife…poor her. Well….hang in there. Can’t wait to see pics of your renovations!

  4. I have never had an Aperol at 10am (but I’ve had a number of proseccos at that time)! Will add that to the “To Do in This Lifetime” list!

    This post makes me, on the one hand, want to steer clear of the Posta next time I’m in Italy and always and forever. But, on the other hand, I’d like to brave the bureaucracy and try to conquer it (by doing something pretty straightforward like mailing a postcard). I think I’ll give it a shot next spring!

    Take care, Diana.

    P. S. I guess if one must have a shoulder problem and see a therapist regularly, it has to help to visit him (or her) in a castle built circa 1600! I hope your shoulder heals!

    • Hi Renate……well…..I hate to tell you that I got into a little “discussion” with the postal worker when I tried to buy a stamp for the United States. Seems straightforward right? But no…no….no way. This guy told me they did not have stamps for the US: 1.60 euro. (I asked for 10 stamps for the US). So I asked him for ten 1 euro stamps and ten 60 cent stamps. They did not have those. So I asked for ANY combo for 1.60 euro. The answer again: NO. So then I asked for anything even close, even if I had to pay and extra 10 or 20 cents. He told me that he could not sell me the stamps I needed, but that I could just come to the post office every time I had a letter for the States and they would meter it. Ha, ha, ha, ha…..can you imagine? I told him that I did not want to have to wait in a 30 minute line every time I had to send a letter to the States. So I asked him for 30 stamps for Italy. (60 cents each). ha, ha, ha….and that guy did NOT want to sell me those stamps! He eventually did….but you see???? Mailing that postcard might not be as easy as you think.

      ANYWAY….life is nuts here sometimes…..but sweet too…yes…the therapist visit makes up for the Posta for sure. Shoulder is improving…THANKS!

  5. Love the blurry faces – like an episode of Criminal Minds 🙂 I feel your pain when it comes to the Post Office!

  6. Oh I so love your posts! I like the way you write and you certainly give the idea of what’s the burocracy is like in Italy. Opening a bank account can be a nightmare as you cannot even keep track of how many pieces of paper you have been signing. Unbelievable! Sometimes I ask: but why?? Why can we not cut down on our burocracy? I have been living in the UK for a long time now so I can easily compare the two very different systems.
    In any case as you said nothing can be more rewarding than a chilled aperitivo sitting on a beautiful square in July! Love it and missing it!

    • Hi Alida! Yes…..the red tape here is nuts…but I have to admit MOST times it still gives me a little laugh….I guess because it is so unbelievable. You would think after living here so long it would not be so funny anymore…but most times it is (which is good). But as you mention….the trade-off is worth it. I cannot deny that we have a nice life here. Do you think you will ever be moving back? What part of the UK are you in?

  7. I think I would jpin the old guys for the early morning drink!

  8. What a gorgeous place to have physiotherapy!! I do love that about Europe. Not enough church-goers? Let’s turn this lovely cathedral into a bookstore, or a gym, or apartments!
    I love your description of your relationship with the Posta. I thought the Dutch were bad but this is far worse!!!

    • Hi Sophie! I know…it is really nice that they leave the historical buildings in tact and use them for something fun and interesting…in Houston, they knock them all down. 😦

  9. Hello! Well, I have been out of town and just now catching up on my emails! LOVE your post and the pictures! The post office situation reminds me of a Seinfeld episode for sure!!! right??!! It seems that postal workers there and in the US are not the most accomodating sometimes!!! If you ask for anything out of the “ordinary” it is always a HUGE problem! Wish I could be there with you getting your morning coffee or maybe a coffee and then a prosecco afterwards would be in order! MIss you! Sheri

    • Hi Sheri!!!! SOOO great to hear from you! Yes! I cannot believe I have not made the connection between most comical situations in Italy and Seinfeld! How is that possible!?!? You know, everyone used to tell me I reminded them of Elaine…you know…she is short and had that big hair…just like I used to wear back then. Look at this hilarious video of her on the subway…I would be thinking the exact same things! Ha, ha, ha…so funny!

      Anyway…miss you too – – but we can dream about that Prosecco we are going to have when you come to visit…..soon I hope!

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  14. Exactly!! It’s all about balance…that’s the only way to survive sometimes 🙂
    I’ve also had the experience of 3 Posta workers on the same computer, trying to figure something out for me…and then not succeeding.

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