Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow Nor the Italians…

Backtrack a bit, I have a very kind friend who offered to send something very special to me in Italy. It’s something that’s next to impossible to get in Mediterranean Italia, it comes from trees, and it’s good on pancakes. And rhymes with burr-up. I’ll leave it up to you to deduce what it is.

Anyway, getting anything through the Italian postal service isn’t the easiest feat in the world, but is not impossible either. Flipping a coin gives close odds to the likelihood of the item making it successfully from point A to point B. Slight of hand mixed with a bit of wordsmithery on the international customs form is one route. I don’t necessarily recommend it, but let’s not shoot the messenger. I’m just telling you how it is.

Here is an email forwarded along to me from my benevolent mailer, which is the list of prohibited items disallowed from being sent to Italy. It is as random as it is entertaining as it is ridiculous as it is hilarious. Have a read. Please drop a line in the iaTK comments department below and tell me your favorite. Me? Haberdashery is a top pick. Human remains is just odd.

Albums of any kind (of photographs, postcards, postage stamps, etc.).
Arms and weapons.
Articles of platinum or gold; jewelry; and other valuable articles unless sent as insured Priority Mail International parcels.
Artificial flowers and fruits and accessories for them.
Bells and other musical instruments and parts thereof.
Cartridge caps; cartridges.
Clocks and supplies for clocks.
Compound medicaments and medicines.
Coral mounted in any way.
Ether and chloroform.
Exposed photographic and cinematographic films.
Footwear of any kind.
Haberdashery and sewn articles of any kind, including trimmings and lace; handkerchiefs; scarves; shawls, needlework including stockings and gloves; bonnets, caps, and hats of any kind.
Hair and articles made of hair.
Human remains.
Leather goods.
Lighters and their parts, including lighter flints.
Live bees, leeches, and silkworms.
Live plants and animals.
Nutmeg, vanilla; sea salt, rock salt; saffron.
Parasites and predators of harmful insects.
Perfumery goods of all kinds (except soap).
Playing cards of any kind.
Postage stamps in sealed or unsealed First-Class Mail International shipments.
Radioactive materials.
Ribbons for typewriters.
Roasted or ground coffee and its substitutes; roasted chicory.
Saccharine and all products containing saccharine.
Salted, smoked or otherwise prepared meats; fats; and lard.
Toys not made wholly of wood.
Treated skins and furs.
Weapons of any kind and spare parts for them


  1. RMS

    I don’t see “dead animals that haven’t been salted, smoked, or otherwise prepared,” so feel free to send roadkill or raw fish.

  2. Tony

    “Perfumery goods of all kinds” – if these can’t be sent to Italy, it explains a lot.

  3. Dana

    Hair and anything made from hair
    Toys not entirely made of wood.

    When we once shipped biking stuff (not even bikes) to ourselves in Italy, they asked if A) the helmets were certified to European safety standards B) if our clothing was “cotton, synthetic, or what” and C) if there was water in our water bottles (all items we had listed on the packing slip. And then they just didn’t deliver them for a couple of weeks.
    For in-Europe maple syrup, try Geneva. There are rumors of an American store there somewhere, and with all the rich Americans running about, I’m sure those rumors are true.

  4. Jason

    Playing cards! Clocks! Seriously?

    And who needs typewriter ribbon?

    I like how the entire list is almost bookended by weapons.

  5. Becky B

    There are so many to choose from! But I’ll go with:
    Live bees, leeches, and silkworms? Aww, there goes your christmas present…

  6. Eric

    @Becky B…I second the vote for “live bees” and I add “parasites”

  7. Boozan

    So pretty much the only thing you can legally send is a letter?

  8. Emma

    I think the fact that they lead with bells and then move on to instruments of any kind is quite amusing. Coral mounted in any received a chuckle from me as well.

  9. J-dubs

    I was in Peru for 4 months one summer, where peanut butter cost an outrageous $17.80 a jar. Being a vegetarian in a carnivorous climate, PB was my protein. So… I asked my mother to send me some, and was subjected to a notice from Pervian Postal Customs that I had to pay a $97 tax to get a $3 jar of PB. I declined and 8 months later the package showed up on my parents doorstep in the US.


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