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Tips on shipping the good stuff home?

What are tips/rules/regulations for shipping stuff like wine, olive oil, balsamic, limoncello, food items, etc. home? I don't check bags so carrying a few bottles of liquid something is not an option. Will stores ship for you? Or is this stuff better left for enjoyment in Italy (and believe me, I will be enjoying it in Italy!). Thanks.

Posted by
59 posts

All of those items may be shipped. There are MailBox places that can do it for you and some stores will handle it. The costs are steep. About $130 for 6 bottles of wine and it can take a month or more to get to you. One option is to take a bag that can be checked for the return trip and a duffle that packs flat for the outgoing flight. On the return flight, use the checkable bag to pack the liquid items (I use the flat bubble wrap and a big Ziplock bag for cushioning) and carry on the duffle with stuff that won't fit in the bag. This is the way I brought home wine, oil, and vinegar. Food items have to be sealed, cheese and meats are sometimes taken by the inspectors even if vacuum sealed.


Posted by
705 posts

Trish is right shipping can be really expensive. If you don't want to check anything then maybe enjoying the products in Italy is the way to go. As she says be careful with food as quarantine can be a killer. Anything with egg in it is an absolute no no here no matter how it is packaged.

Posted by
7666 posts

Do more homework before shipping. Go to the State department "Know Before You Go" page for details on what is allowed and what is not. Nearly all meats are prohibited, hard cheeses OK, soft not. Fruits and vege's not, unless processed and packaged. Oils, vinegars OK. Alcohol...for shipping, by private carrier maybe, USPS, No. But more importantly, your State, not the Federal Government determines what is allowable, so contact your State Alcohol Control Bureau. If the store ships prohibited items (they will not know what is prohibited) and Customs checks, you as the receiver will not be notified, you just never get the package and it is not returned to the shipper. If you have nothing to lose, you may not get caught. As for checking a bag, on my way home, I figure it really doesn't matter. If my bag is a few days behind me, it is still faster than shipping.

Posted by
2469 posts

Since the advent of airline's liquid restrictions, you're going to be hard pressed to put 3 ounces of wine, olive oil, or anything in your carry on. Precious cargo in checked bags is never a good idea in my opinion, especially if the bottles burst and you intend to wear any of your clothes again. Many brands, particularly wine, are available in the states for prices that outweigh the hassle factor of bringing it back. Unless you need to bring back a special bottle of wine to commemorate a wedding/celebration, enjoy it there (and take notes so you can look for it here). I personally decided to try making my own limoncello - after several test runs, I am pretty darn close to the most delightful glass I ever had on the beach in Monterosso (without the scenery, of course).

Posted by
466 posts

Well, for one thing, the post offices in Italy are terrible. If you send something you many never get it or if you do, it will be broken. I have tried shipping a few times and once I never received the package and the second time the ceramics I had purchased came broken. I think its better to take a small carry on bag (empty) packed in your suitcase and buy what you want to bring back to the U.S. and just carry it on the plane. That way, you can be sure that if it arrives broken, you probably did it! Ha Ha. Anyway, happy travels and I would definately think twice about shipping!!! Sorry!!

Posted by
45 posts

We were in Tuscany about 3 weeks ago and shipped home a case of wine from a Mail Boxes Etc in Orvieto. NOT cheap...about $200. We got the wine yesterday and I would have to say that I would do it all over again even though it was expensive. No issues that I know of with customs, etc...but I do know that Washington state is one of the states where you can ship wine to.

Posted by
206 posts

Placing the bottles inside socks works well for cushioning, too. Well, if you'll be putting them in your suitcase. I can't imagine receiving them after two months in a box!

This reminded me of one time I picked up my parents at the airport after they arrived from Mexico. Their suitcase began leaking Kahlua onto the floor near baggage claim. Another time it was tequila in the golf bag. Oh, the smell! No, I don't know why they put something glass in the golf bag. The airport workers who helped clean up laughed both times.

Posted by
124 posts

If you are flying out of Rome, you can purchase wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, limoncello etc. at the duty-free shop inside security. I flew home from Rome last August, when the liquids control was very strict and I was able to bring a bag full of goodies home. I was flying into Canada, but I know that the Americans were able to buy their items, which were placed into a sealed bag that was handed to them when they got onto their plane.

You should call your airline to ask their specific policy, or you can always check the items in your luggage, well-wrapped with bubble wrap and clothing, also I used large zip-lock bags to contain any spills . I brought back some Italian wine in my suitcase with no breakage or spills.

Enjoy Italy :)

Posted by
3551 posts

Alot of the items you mentioned can be purchased here in USA easily at italian gourmet shops. Shipping is too expensive from italy, I think.
Best enjoy in Italy and take the name and info and try to obtain upon your return to enjoy with friends and family. I only buy souvenirs etc that I can carry otherwise I photograph items and try and get them here in USA

Posted by
49 posts

I shipped 2 packages from Italy in May (but not wine).

I needed to lighten my load and sent home a bunch of clothes , cost 80E from Mail Boxes Etc to ship about 12 pounds, I was aghast but it was worth it not to have to carry it!

Second package I mailed from a very small Italian post office in Vernazza. I was the only customer, the clerk had a ciggie hanging out his mouth and never even looked inside the package. I was very skeptical that this was going to be a success, but it only cost 13E for 6 pounds of souvenirs.

Both packages arrived intact at my house before I got home.

Posted by
1589 posts

" Alot of the items you mentioned can be purchased here in USA easily at italian gourmet shops. Shipping is too expensive from italy, I think. Best enjoy in Italy and take the name and info and try to obtain upon your return to enjoy with friends and family. I only buy souvenirs etc that I can carry otherwise I photograph items and try and get them here in USA "

Must have been reading my mind!

Posted by
6 posts

We were on our honeymoon, and wanted to take back really good olive oil and balsamic vinegar as thank-you gifts for our attendants, parents, and ourselves.

The Mailboxes Etc. type places are used to shipping wine back to the states, and the same boxes and packing method work for oil and vinegar. The way they ship it takes a long time because it goes by boat, and it is received into the US through customs by an importer, who then forwards it on to your address. It took just over four weeks to arrive, but it got there, all in perfect shape. We were amazed at the wrapping job they did!

Cost? About $240. But since we shipped home 12 bottles, it was $20 for each bottle. We bought amazing quality oil and vinegar for about $20 each. So we had a $40 gift that we personally selected on our honeymoon to give to our parents and friends (and a couple for ourselves). When we got home I checked online and found a similar oil available - for $42 plus shipping! I would do it again.