Gone postal in Italy

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page - JU­DITH HERD

NORTH ADE­LAIDE, SA THERE are tricks for novice trav­ellers in Italy, no mat­ter if you are on the hard side of 65.

Travel light, of course; your air­line al­lows you at least 20kg of checked lug­gage but you won’t want to carry such a weight for too long. In all Italy, there are only a few rail­way sta­tions where bags can be rolled straight on to the train — oth­er­wise, it’s a mat­ter of an ath­letic jerk and lift up nar­row steps into the car­riage.

Porters who of­fer to help are not em­ployed by Treni­talia — they ex­pect pay­ment for their ser­vices. Ne­go­ti­at­ing how much to pay is not a fun thing when they have al­ready taken your lug­gage hostage.

If you’ve packed too much cloth­ing ‘‘just in case’’ and want to send stuff home, check in ad­vance of set­ting out for the lo­cal post of­fice — L’ Uf­fi­cio Postale — just how far it re­ally is and the open­ing times. Not all will keep the same hours, de­spite the of­fi­cial timetable of 8.30am to 6.30pm — or 8am to 5pm, de­pend­ing on the size of the town, and oth­ers ob­serve siesta and just slam shut at 1pm and may or may not re­open that day.

On the up­side, many post of­fices are open on Satur­day morn­ings and you can ex­pect help­ful ser­vice. Most counter staff in cities and large towns speak English well and go out of their way to as­sist.

Ital­ians are po­lite and you should re­turn their wel­come Buon Giorno be­fore stat­ing your re­quest and don’t for­get Gra­zie or even Gra­zie Mille when your postal transactions are (hope­fully) ac­com­plished.

When ad­dress­ing (not speak­ing per­son­ally to it, of course) your ex­cess bag­gage, re­mem­ber the first ad­dress you’ll need to write is your own. OK, it is your bag­gage, but it’s your ad­dress in Italy that the post of­fice re­quires — della means from. The next ad­dress re­quired on the form is your home (or wher­ever the bag­gage is head­ing) — quite the op­po­site of what you’d ex­pect.

Be pre­pared to pay well for the plea­sure of send­ing your unac­com­pa­nied bag­gage else­where. Oth­er­wise, start­ing from now, prac­tise pack­ing lightly for that Ital­ian hol­i­day, per fa­vore. Fol­low the Reader col­umns now also ap­pear each Tues­day on our new Travel & Food page. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to our Fol­low the Reader col­umn. Pub­lished colum­nists will re­ceive OSA Brands’ Univer­sal Travel Adap­tor with USB ($39.95) and Ta­tonka Check In Bag ($29.95), ideal to keep doc­u­ments safe, fea­tur­ing zip com­part­ments, belt loop and de­tach­able shoul­der strap. More: 1800 558 707; osabrands.com. Send your con­tri­bu­tion to: travel@theaus­tralian. com.au.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.