Italy has gotten a reputation -- deserved or no -- for being a problem country as far as packages getting unscathed to their intended recipients. Businesses that depend on prompt and reliable transport to customers in Italy face prohibitive customs procedures and the possibility that their packages may be waylaid, or worse. If you're going to ship packages to Italy, stay within Italian protocol and shop around for services that will put your mind at ease.
The most common carriers for shipping packages to Italy are the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and United Parcel Service. You should factor in price and delivery times when choosing a carrier. Try to comparison shop on the various carriers' website. You can enter the weight of your package and its value, and choose a shipping method to see how long and how expensive it will be to deliver your merchandise. Some carriers also give you the option of insuring your package.
Your selected carrier will offer various options for getting your package to Italy. If you choose the USPS, you have four: First Class International, Priority Mail International, Express Mail International and Global Express Guaranteed. The first is for light packages; it's the least-expensive method, but it is also the slowest. Priority Mail International is faster, but potentially exorbitantly more expensive, depending on the items shipped. The last two options are your speediest and most expensive for sending packages to Italy. If you ship in volume and do not want to pay retail prices, ask about bulk or commercial rates.
Each carrier will specify restrictions and conditions pertinent to Italy. For example, the USPS requires that coins, bank notes, jewelry and other precious items be sent via an insured Priority Mail International parcel. Moreover, for all commercial shipments using Priority Mail International, regardless of value, you will have to affix an invoice in duplicate outside of the package, otherwise enclosed with the required customs declaration forms. Keep in mind that items such as perfumes, bells, clocks and and haberdashery are banned from shipments to Italy.
Some merchants are leery of shipping to Italy because they feel the postal service there is a challenge. To avoid the possibility that your package could be held up because you shipped something prohibited, you should use software that integrates with your existing process. Some software programs inform you if you are violating Italian standards, and together with tracking services such as USPS Tracking International, you'll be able to follow the progress of the package until it arrives at its destination.