Sending shoes to your friend in Italy is illegal. The Italian ban on footwear in the mail is one of several unusual or unexpected restrictions on mail sent from the United States. To avoid problems in shipping items to Italy, make sure to check out the Italian postal service's rules and restrictions before preparing your parcel to be shipped.
Prohibited and Restricted Items
According to the U.S. Postal Service, you are not allowed to mail several kinds of items to Italy: firearms, weapons, musical instruments and instrument parts, albums of photographs, stamps or postcards, artificial flowers or fruits, cartridges, clocks or clock supplies, medicines, coral, ether or chloroform, shoes or any kind of footwear, exposed photographic or cinematographic films, sewn articles or haberdashery, hair, human remains, leather, lighters, living plants or animals, sea or rock salt, saffron, nutmeg, vanilla, perfume goods, playing cards, typewriter ribbons, radioactive materials, ground or roasted coffee, furs, products containing saccharine, prepared meats, tobacco and toys that have non-wooden parts. Coins, currency, banknotes, jewellery and other valuable items may be mailed to Italy only as an insured Priority Mail International parcel.
Customs and Import Duty
You may send a personal gift to a person in Italy without any duty or taxes being payable. The item must be marked as a gift on the customs form accompanying the parcel. Non-gift items may be sent, but if the value is above 45 euros the item will be subject to duty and value-added tax (VAT). As of September 2010, 45 euros is equivalent to £40 U.S.
You should provide your return address, in either English or Italian, on the parcel to be shipped to Italy. If using FedEx as your carrier, you cannot ship cash-on-delivery or to an APO or FPO. The shipment may be addressed to an Italian post office box or street address -- in the case of a street address, it is recommended to provide a phone number for the addressee. The addressee's phone number is required when the parcel is addressed to a post office box.
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