This might seem like a no brainer, but it’s actually more difficult in Italy than you might expect. The post office generally prefers that one purchases stamps in the tabacchi because the post office usually handles the payment of bills and wire transfers. In fact, some people (like us) even have bank accounts at the post office. Last summer, we frequently traveled between the north and south and it was more convenient because post offices can be found everywhere. We did discover that we couldn’t get an Italian credit card. It’s required to have a job based in Italy for at least a year before you can even apply for one. It’s not like in America where they give credit cards to babies. And look where that got us.
Anyway, until recently, Italians had to pay their bills at the post office; they couldn’t mail in a check or pay online. Now, clients of the post office are able to pay bills online, but it’s not a common practice because Italian business culture still doesn’t rely as heavily on computers (ask any businessman whether he emails or still faxes documents!) Also, if you paid a bill in the post office, you had to get in a separate line if you wanted to buy a stamp. Seems pretty complicated, right? Well, this morning we discovered that things had just changed. We saw a sign saying we could pay a bill AND buy a stamp in the same line. Score! We were in and out of there in 5 minutes–a new record.