Our mail system may be slow, but it isn't as slow as the Italian mail. Letters rarely get lost, but generally they take 10 days to three weeks or more to receive one from the States and vice versa. One of our faculty members received a letter from the US to Cortona after two years! Of course this is an exception, but keep in mind that airmail time can take as long as two to four weeks in the summer- time, a little less in the other seasons. Aerograms seem to get to the US faster than postcards or letters. If you do send postcards, be sure to write "air mail", "posta aerea" on them or they go by ship and may never get to their destination. Stamps and aerograms can be purchased at any post office or tobacco shop. Try to buy aerograms in large cities, since the Cortona Post Office runs out of them quickly.
If you would like a letter to arrive in the States quickly, send it air mail, registered (raccomandata) and express (espresso). It should arrive in the US within a few days -- as opposed to the few weeks it would take by regular mail. Do not send it by surface mail.
The mail is delivered to Cortona daily Monday-Friday and is made available in the Severini School. Claim your mail there every day. Please do not ever pick up mail that is not for you.
Packages sent from the States usually take a long time to arrive. Do not have anyone send you something urgent (contact lenses, asthma inhalers, etc.) by regular mail. FedEx them if it is truly urgent that you receive them by a certain date. Customs charges for packages should be expected, and can become quite expensive depending on the declared contents. It's recommended that you work with a local UPS or FedEx sales associate when shipping your package to ensure the proper documentation.
When placing a large insurance charge on a package, the Italian Customs can and likely will tack on a large "custom's charge." If the value is reduced or eliminated on the insurance, this will eliminate an unexpected charge when the package arrives in Italy. Seldom, does a package not arrive or arrive damaged. Note that most carriers by default carry a certain amount of insurance on packages anyway. Work with your carrier to determine what is best for your needs and shipment.
Be sure to add U.S.A. to your address after the zip code, so your mail will not travel to other countries instead. When your friends and relatives write to you, have them make sure that the zip code PRECEDES the name of the town. For example”52044 Cortona (Arezzo) Italy.” Zip codes in continental Europe precede the names of places.
Letters & Packages to you should be sent to:
THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
STUDIES ABROAD PROGRAM
John D. Kehoe Cortona Center
Via Delle Santucce, 2
52044 CORTONA (AR) ITALY
If you have money orders mailed to you, make sure they are sent registered/special delivery or by private mail companies (FedEX, Airborne, etc.). Receiving mail at other hotels where we stay for a few days is practically impossible. Therefore, discourage your friends and family from trying it.
Sending packages home at the end of your trip is available throught the local post office or several of the shops in town.