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Published on November 15, 2010 10:15 PM | Comments

Originally uploaded by Anthony F

So we finally found a new apartment - this collection of photos is from the hunt the last couple of months.

Mailing things to Italy from the United States

Published on November 5, 2009 2:10 PM | Comments

I see a lot of these types of questions on travel and relocation forums, etc. "What can I mail to Italy?" or "Can I mail things to Italy?". You can - but the Italian postal service is rather notorious for being slow, or never delivering at all (first class mail, letters, etc. are usually fine - it is the packages you have to worry about). Here is the official list of things you can not send (prohibited!) in the mail from the USPS:

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.

Also note that if you mail something from the U.S. and fill out the green customs sticker with a value, the recipient here in Italy will have to fork over molto euro to receive the package - it is not unusual to pay more in customs or duties at the post office than what the package is worth! Welcome to free trade...

This page will keep you up to date on what you can or can't mail.

Casa In Toscana, Real Estate in Chianti

Published on October 29, 2009 3:21 PM | Comments


If you are looking for Real Estate in Chianti and the rest of Tuscany, Casa In Toscana is the place to start. Realtor Nikolaus Barnewitz has been selling real estate here for more than 10 years and has all the expertise needed to help foreign buyers find their dream home in Tuscany (Italian, English, French, Spanish and German are all spoken). They also have a great staff that will help you with everything you could need in relocating to Italy. They also have started a blog with tips and insights on finding and buying a home in Tuscany.

Knight Frank announce new office in Florence

Published on May 22, 2007 11:45 AM | Comments

KflogoKnight Frank has been present in Italy through its associate Chianti Estates since 1994. Looking back to those early days, Bill Thomson, previously head of Chianti Estates and now chairman of the Knight Frank Italian Network says at the time it felt like we had missed the boat of foreigners buying in Tuscany, when actually our timing was spot on, as the market was really starting to develop.

Rents on the rise in Italy

Published on April 10, 2007 9:47 AM | Comments

Wanted In Rome reports:

"According to recently released figures, the cost of rents for housing in Italy has more than doubled since 1999. ...Rome and Florence emerged as the cities with the greatest rise in rents over the last 4 years, bringing the increase over the period studied up 128 percent. The percentage of families living in rented housing in Italy has decreased from 20.3 percent in 2004 to 18.7 percent, indicating that increasing rent prices have created a situation where many families find it economically more feasible to purchase a property with monthly payments on long-term mortgages."

Italian Language Schools

Published on February 20, 2007 3:44 PM | Comments

ItalianschoolAfter living here for a year and a half, I'm finally studying italian again.

Last year I studied for about a month at the "Italian in Florence" language school at Centro Internazionale Studenti "Giorgio La Pira". It was a great beginner course, held Monday through Thursday from 9-11am.

Carta D'Identita

Published on October 30, 2006 10:45 AM | Comments

CiLast Thursday we got our Carte D'Itdentita here in Florence. Until now we've used our Certificato di Residenza as proof that we live here - and it's worked fine for most purposes. But we just bought a car from a friend, and were unable to make the transaction with only the Certificate of Residency - we needed the Carta d'Identita.

Florence, Italy via Paris, France

Published on September 5, 2006 9:38 AM | Comments

This year we took the long way home. In the spring we bought round-trip tickets from Paris to Newark on Air India, because the tickets seemed like a bargain and we wanted a stop in Paris anyway. We also bought one way tickets for the whole family, from Pisa to Paris for just over 100 euros one-way. We had a great time in Paris and everything was working out well, we thought.

Health Insurance Choices in Italy

Published on February 9, 2006 4:06 PM | Comments

I've been researching our options for health (medical) insurance while we're in Florence. Our "American" policy covers us for the first 180 days after our move, so we have to change over pretty soon. There are basically two roads we can take...

Becoming a Resident of Florence

Published on January 12, 2006 3:54 PM | Comments

I just started the process of registering our family as official residents of the City of Florence. With “resident” status, we’ll be eligible to sign up for Italy’s national healthcare, we can own a car and get car insurance, and I think we also get great discounts at all the museums and monuments in Florence.

For anyone planning on applying for residency, it’s fairly simple: I went to the comune’s “Anagrafe” office at Via Dei Leoni #5 at the back of the Palazzo Vecchio – their webpage has a lot of good info if you can get through the Italian.

First, I stopped at the front desk in the waiting room where they gave me the form to fill out and a number to wait my turn. I was able to put the entire family on one application form, since we’re all living at the same address. Once my turn came, I needed to show a passport and a Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit to Stay) for each family member. Then, I don't really understand why, but she asked for a Marriage Certificate – and of course I didn’t have one. I showed her the kids’ birth certificates stating that Anthony and I are their parents, and she finally accepted this as proof of our marriage. (I think she was trying to tell me that the birth certificates were not acceptable proof, but every rule in Italy seems to be at least a little flexible, thank god! It probably also helped that I don’t speak Italian well and had a hard time understanding her --- so she just gave up.)

Now that the paperwork is done, we’re waiting for an official to stop by our apartment to confirm that we physically live here. Once he meets us and reports back to the office, they mail out our Residency Cards. Once we get our cards, we can sign up for the National Healthcare…look for my post in the near future.


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