When posting parcels overseas, a declaration of parcel contents must be completed. Bring your 'own' pen (none are provided), and a level surface on which to complete this form. Fill it in the best way possible, and hopefully the clerk will help finish the parts you didn't understand. The form is available from the postal clerk.
Post offices have security procedures much like a bank does. You will be directed to a glass door, which looks very much like a telephone booth, but you are 'NOT' to enter, you are only to place your parcels inside, close the door, at which point the clerk will activate a locking mechanism, sealing your side of the booth, and unlocking their side. The parcel is removed, weighed, and priced, and you will then be asked for your declaration of contents.
I found it cheaper to send Christmas parcels through Mail Boxes Etc., rather than Italian Post. However, I have been told that the price I was quoted by the clerk was incorrect, or, and I believe this to be very possible, I misunderstood what the amount was. Not speaking the language does have its disadvantages.
I found the clerk to be very helpful, very courteous, and very understanding. She saw I was a foreigner, and brought me to the front of the line, and served me while serving other customers. It was extremely busy, but she took the time...the Italian people are so genteel.
If you have been invited to someone's home, and you want to take a little something for the host/hostess, then I suggest you make a stop at a pastry shop (pasticceria). These little shops are plentiful in Italy, and are well stocked, full of delicious goodies not often seen in Canada or USA.
Just make your choices, and they are placed on a tray, lined with a paper doily, and are then wrapped like a birthday present, complete with a lovely bow/ribbon.
They make a fine present, and are enjoyed by everyone.
If the occasion calls for a bottle of wine instead, and this is a last minute deal, don't get excited, there are countless places to stop, little bars, small food shops, every one seems to stock wine. Just explain you would like to make a good impression (bella figura) on your host/hostess, and let the clerk make your choice for you (unless you know your wines).
The clerk will wrap the bottle up, complete with ribbon, or place it in a carry box. Expect to pay between 7 euro to 10 euro for a 'very good' everyday wine, and 18 euro to 24 euro for a much better 'bella figura' wine, which will bring you compliments from your host/hostess. You could pay a lot more, but that is going into territory I understand nothing about. I do suggest you purchase a wine that has been bottled from grapes grown within the region you are visiting. Civic pride comes into play, after all.
We found upon arrival in Italy, that exact change will be requested when making a purchase. This is especially true when making purchases in a small store.
This is not always possible for you to provide, but don't be surprised if shopkeepers have to rummage about in their own purses or pockets in order to make change for a larger denomination.
Suggest you maintain a supply of 1 and 2 euro coins, as these seem to be most in demand. Shopping carts usually require a 2 euro coin in order to unlock it prior to use, as do the luggage carts at the airport.
Don't expect to pop into a store in Italy, and ask the clerk to 'break' a ten for you. Store employees have to wait in line at the bank just as you do, (and we have found that to be a long process), so expect the clerk to say no. They guard change carefully. Just a tip!!
Drop by the Cafe Pedrocchi, even if you aren't in the mood for coffee. Styled as a classical Greek temple, this place became famous throughout Italy as the the cafe which never closed its doors. Ever since its opening in 1831, it has been a meeting place for students and intellectuals. Nowadays you'll find just about anybody there, either talking, playing cards and just watching the world go by. Concerts and lectures are held in the rooms upstairs.
And once again I had a lucky opportunity to see a town going medieval! In Padova they seem to have their feast at the end of September (the weekend of 29 - 30 September was when I caught it), and it is indeed a big event. The whole place seems to be involved in reconstructing old crafts (carpentry on the photo), living conditions, knight tournaments (bowing and duelling competitions) and everything else indispensable on fairs of the old days. It was a real pity that the event was partly ruined by the rain. In sunny weather it surely attracts hundreds of visitors.
The famous delicious christmas cake!Usually has vanilla taste with raisins.I was eating panettone every morning with my espresso coffee when I was in Padova, just perfect!
Once again, another poster displayed during the humiliating celebration of the 'targets' graduation from university.
This is an example of posters affixed to walls throughout the centro of Padova during graduation time (University)
I chose this one because it is the 'least' graphic, after all, she is someone's daughter. The boys can take care of themselves.