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Bringing items back home from Italy

Quick question...my wife and I are in Italy right now and of course want to bring back lots of wine, olive oil, lemoncello, etc. Does anyone know if you can bring these items home as a carry on? I know you can check a bag with them and it is fine, but we only brought carry ons and wanted to avoid checking. I guess if we had to, we will check, but wanted to ask first. Thanks for your help.

Posted by Ron
Carbondale, IL, USA
1201 posts

Any liquid over three ounces will not be allowed in your carry on bag through security. Wrap everything carefully and check your bag if you intend to bring it back.

Major labels of wines, limoncello and a lot of other stuff are usually fairly available in the US. You need to decide if it's worth the hassle.

Exceptions to the it's available here rule are obscure vineyards with very limited production as well as small production Tuscan olive oils.

If you are thinking of buying things in case lots, you would probably be better off to ship the stuff home. Inquire where you are purchasing.

Posted by Scott M.
Dallas, TX, USA
1170 posts

Anything over 100cc you will have to check or ship home. Personally, if you can, I would have it shipped. It can be packed professionally and insured.

Posted by Debbie
Orlando, FL, USA
1 posts

You will need to check those items. Same "no liquids" rule as the US. Wrap them in your dirty clothes and check a bag.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1723 posts

We thought we were going to be really smart and packed 3 bottles of wine in our bike case on the way home from our last trip in Italy. We ended up with 2 bottles of wine and a bike and dirty bike clothing that reeked of red wine.

My advise is....(and you already know that you cannot carry this stuff on the plane) Make sure if you check that everything is really well padded/packed. Do NOT let glass touch glass or it will break.

My hubby was in charge of packing...so I'm NOT taking the blame on this one. I told him what to do, but he didn't listen (he will next time) We lost the most expensive bottle we bought in Barolo...oh well....

Or --as others have suggested, have it shipped. It will take a while to get it, expect at least 3-4 weeks after you return, but it's kind of fun to have that box show up on your doorstep!

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1597 posts

On our last trip to Italy, we brought back three bottles of wine, and several pieces of Italian pottery. I packed the bottles in plastic bags and wrapped clothes around them and placed them in the middle of the suitcase. And yes, we do check our bags. I don't buy more than I can put in our luggage. It costs too much to ship these items home.

Posted by Jeff
Richmond, Ky, USA
269 posts

If you are traveling light, pack a small foldable bag in the bottom of your carry on. When you return, carry on your small bag, and pack the rest in the other packed well with your clothes. We returned with 7 bottles of wine, 3 bottles of Grappa, and several bottles of EVOO. Customs simply asked to see it, and let us go on our way with no duties or tax. Don't ask me why, I was expecting to pay. Good luck, and enjoy. Jeff

Posted by Sheree
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
113 posts

How did you pack to ensure against breakage?

Posted by Doug
Portlandia
3313 posts

The other things worth bringing back and easy to do in checked luggage are balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.

Posted by Liz
Seattle, WA
1313 posts

Depending on the size of the bottle, pack several gallon size ziploc bags (the kind that seal shut). They take almost no space on the way over, and then when you are checking liquids coming home, you can put the wine, oil, whatever into the bag and close it. May not guarantee the bottle survives, but it will protect your dirty laundry & suitcase should the worst happen.

Posted by Scott M.
Dallas, TX, USA
1170 posts

Maybe it's just me, but I would never put a breakable liquid (especially vinegar or olive oil) in my checked luggage. Liquid souvenirs are worth far less to me than replacing a nice piece of luggage.

Posted by Karen
Miami Shores, FL, USA
48 posts

Good question-I've been wondering about this myself, bringing home wine, olive oil etc if we find some we really love while there. I think packing and padding them WELL in checked luggage is best, but what about paying duties/tariffs when we get back to US? I've never done this before. Is it really expensive to have these things shipped home? Again, no experience with this!

Posted by Nadine
Austin, TX, USA
492 posts

In addition to ziplocks, which have many uses during the trip as well, we also take a little bit of bubble wrap if we know we'll be checking some liquid souvenirs home. Haven't had any breakage yet, but if we do hopefully the ziplocks will contain it. Our last trip we brought home wine, limoncello and a few other odds and ends, we usually have at least one ceramic as well.

Posted by Elaine
Landstuhl, Germany
631 posts

Karen, when you go thru Customs with your loot just tell them what you have, unless you have an outrageous amount you probably won't have to pay, it's more paperwork for Customs people. And Evan, you're stuck checking.

Posted by Jo
Nokomis, FL, usa
46 posts

How about buying some at the airport? The prices really aren't bad and it is a good way to spend any leftover euros.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
25 posts

To bring back wine, they were in a box that perfectly held two bottles. I wrapped them in a large garbage bag from home and laid it on top of a sack of dirty laundry. On top of that, I used my memory foam that I brought with me from the states (can't sleep well without it). Both bottles survived without a scratch.

Posted by Sheron
Alta Loma, CA, USA
1444 posts

We brought several small bottles of wine and liquor and we put each bottle into one of my husband's socks & it worked well. Sounds strange but it worked.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
18268 posts

We have always (until this last trip) successful brought back three or four bottles in checked luggage. Our pattern is carry on going over and checked coming back. We always pack an extra light weight bag that use on the return trip to hold the good stuff that we don't want damaged or lost. The checked bags is all dirty clothes. The bottles are placed in the middle, carefully wrapped in plastic bags and padded with clothing top and bottom. On the last trip we lost one bottle. Only the clothes in the bottom of the bag were socked. We concluded that our bag must have been laying on its back and was hit very hard by a sharp edge of another bag. Had to have hit our bag and the bottle just right. The bottle was shattered and the glass cut the plastic bag so the liquid socked the bottom layer of padding which happened to be mostly dirty underwear and socks. No damage other than having a very smelly bag for immigrations and customs to inspect. However, we will probably follow the same pattern next time.

Posted by Paul
Cedar, IA, USA
3821 posts

We always bring back Wine and other liquid items, pack them well, and only have had a problem when we were required to shift some items from bag to bag on the fly.

As to Jo's comment regarding buying at the airport, do this only if you will not need to go through security again, if so, you will lose the items there due to the liquids requirements. For example, flying back from Rome, we connected in London...so security check...so nothing in carry-on. If I had a direct flight to the US, and that was my final destination, then Duty free works, or if I was able to put it into my checked bag at Customs, that works too.

Posted by Janet
Mpls, MN
983 posts

Since the 3 oz. rule I have tried to bring back olive oil in tin and then I don't have to worry about breakage in the suitcase. We don't bring back wine anymore. I also love to bring back jars of pesto. They are small and easy to pack but I put them in plastic ziplocs. Have also brought back some beautiful clay pottery with raised grapes and vines purchased in Assisi on several trips--the flat back pots that are hanging on walls all over Assisi. They wrapped them in bubble wrap and I carried them on the plane. I also pick up dishtowels of places we visit. Parm reg. cheese is also fun to bring back. In Venice I like to pick up glass necklaces and in Florence scarves and neckties from San Lorenzo market even though they are imported from China. Our boys like to get soccer jerseys that they sell all over in Italy.

Posted by Jeff
Richmond, Ky, USA
269 posts

We typically use dirty clothes to wrap them in. Socks work well, and then use the rest of the clothes to pad around them. We only brought home items that held some significance to us, such as wine from small vinyards, or from the B&B's we stayed at. All I can say is it worked for us. Caio. Jeff

Posted by Elizabeth
Lake Oswego, OR, United States
51 posts

We're just back from Italy and shipped a small box from Florence with olive oil and balsamic plus small ceramics and lots of odds and ends using Mail Boxes Etc. (cost us about $75 US but it was worth it not to have to drag this stuff around, as we were going onto Venice, Paris and the UK). One note: we had a small bottle of limoncello which they told us they could NOT ship due to the alcohol content, although they COULD ship wine. I had brought bubble wrap and so we carried the limoncello home with us in our checked luggage. As someone else posted, we fly carryon over and check on the return. Way easier!
As noted all liquids over 3 oz. must be checked.