The address to receive mail or a package (by parcel delivery) is at our facilities at the convent, as someone is there during the day to sign for it. Also, you cannot recieve mail at your apartment and usually no one will be there to sign if a package is delivered.
Florida International University Genoa Program
Convento di S. Maria di Castello
Salita di S. Maria di Castello 15
Let the program manager know if something is arriving and he can check the mail there.
We have had some trouble recently with students receiving packages sent by normal postal service. We encourage you to use a parcel delivery service (FedEx, UPS) for any packages and important mail (such as receiving a credit or debit card). Service is quicker and you can track it to know when it will arrive.
We caution you about having anyone send you a package with something valuable, like a camera, or that is insured. A value must be declared by the sender on the shipment, and the Italian customs police will require that you pay a duty on it, and this can be both expensive and time-consuming to process. You cannot declare “0” value, but declare a modest amount and describe it as personal effects, such as used clothes for personal use, etc. (Even then we have had students charged for receiving clothes.) If someone declares a value of say $200, you will have to pay an import tax on that amount. This can take time and effort to get it through customs on this side, and sometimes it is not resolved before a student has to return to the US. Have the sender speak to the parcel delivery service before you send it for further advice.
Some students have their parents send by regular mail very normal things like shampoo. This may get caught in customs leading to a delay of weeks or you may never receive it. If you need something, bring it.
Also, receiving a shipment of prescription drugs creates enormous problems. Please bring everything you need for prescription medicine, plus the prescription.
The Italian postal service works fine, although it may still be slower than US mail. All letters and post cards go airmail now, and take about 5-7 days to arrive. Stamps are bought at the tobacco shops (black sign with big white T) and letters dropped in the red mailboxes immediately outside. In general, don't go to the post office to mail letters or cards.
UPDATE: There are less red post office boxes on the street than there used to be. A drop of 50% in many cities, due to less letter-writing, reducing labor costs, and the high cost of making and maintaining the red metal boxes (in fact, they are no longer in production).
STAMPS: Go to a tabaccheria, black sign with white T. Not everyone sells stamps, but most do. Don't go to the post office. The word for stamp: francobollo. Just hold up your letter so they know what you want.
MAILING: Here is how to find mailboxes in Genoa:
Enter "Genova, 16123 GE" and hit "cerca cassetta". You can also use the 16128 CAP or zip code.
For the downtown residents there are boxes on Via Dante (outside the main post office), in Piazza Cavour, Piazza Fontane Marose, Via Garibaldi, Piazzetta Jacopo da Varagine, and Piazza Sarzano, which is the closest mailbox to our facilities in the convent of S. Maria di Castello.
Packages can be be sent home via UPS or through the Italian postal service. There is a Mailboxes Etc downtown (Via Bartolomeo Bosco, 21) that handles UPS (and Western Union for money transfers). Very nice people and a few speak English. For the Italian post office there is the main office on Via Dante.