It has been a total nightmare for me to receive a pkg from USA to my place in Italy, hung up in customs, dozens of emails, personal info, copy of passport ...still no package. Don't even think about it. The worst red tape I have ever experienced.
Is it a Fed Ex issue or a general issue of receiving a package of any carrier? I've had things shipped to me in France and never had an issue, but perhaps this is an Italian thing. Or was a form filled out with the wrong check box marked that flagged it?
In over 30 years of sending student study groups to Europe for the semester, the handbook has always had a disclaimer about shipping or receiving packages while in Italy. This included the post office and fed-ex. There really has been some merit to the warning, even in this day and age. We could ship up to Italy and after Italy but never IN Italy. We would typically be in 10 or more countries over 4 months (with season changes) so shipping things back occurred from time to time, but never while we were in Italy.
As a casual traveler, regarding "There really has been some merit to the warning, even in this day and age," some warning? Please, please. Some warning? This past October, I put a postcard in mail box to myself for fun in Cinque Terre, Vernazza. I received it almost 3 weeks after, 2 weeks and 6 days to be precise. A guy in our tour group had his suitcase misdirected on flight to Italy. After several phone calls, Delta finally said they had it in Rome airport, so can you deliver to our hotel? Sure, no problem. When we got to Rome for 3 day stay, they still wouldn't deliver for whole stay! Local guide told us, when you call a plumber and they say I am around corner, it means somebody will come - eventually.
I have had packages shipped to me in Italy via FedEx, DHL, and UPS, never had a problem with any of them. It may depend on contents, which can involve a collectible duty payment. Everything I have received is listed as "legal documents" or "personal mail" - no red tape at all.
It is easy to take one or two experience and blow them up to cover everything. Two years ago we purchased a large (about 4' square) piece of art work and had the shop arrange to ship it. When the shop owner indicated that they would spending by regular Italy post I ask for another way. The shop owner just shrugged and said, "It will be fine." I don't like it but what could I do about it. Four weeks later it was delivered by the US post office. The box was a bit battered but everything was in good order. So for us, the Italian post worked just fine.
The odd thing was that the postal carrier who had to delivery it separately because of its size recognized the return address as the hometown of her grandparents. So she was curious what it was and hung around while we opened it so she could see the piece.