White envelope with Italian Address on the ground with a pen and blue espresso cup next to it

Italian Address Format – Easy Explanation Plus Examples

Sending a love note to your partner in Italy?  Writing a quick letter to your Italian pen pal?  Mailing a package to a company in Italy? 

No matter the purpose of your mail to Italy, make sure you have the proper Italian address format! 

It’s true, the Italian postal system has a not-so-stellar reputation.  Sometimes postcards don’t arrive, packages are held at customs, or your enormous moving box of clothing arrives with one high heel missing. 

But you can increase your chances of a proper and timely delivery (and avoid having your letter returned to you) by making sure you format the Italian address correctly. 

Read on to discover:

  • how to ensure your note/letter/postcard/package has the proper Italian address format
  • how to ‘translate’ a U.S. address to an Italian address format
  • special cases of Italian addresses
  • where to write the return address on the envelope
  • examples of correctly and incorrectly labeled envelopes
  • how to find the zip code (CAP) for a city in Italy and vice versa
  • helpful vocabulary for labeling mail with the proper Italian address format

and more!

Easy Explanation

When you’re addressing an envelope to send to Italy, you must include the first and last name, street and house number, postal code, city, province, and country. There is also a specific order and way they must be written or typed.

Example Address:

Rossi Gianni
VIA GARIBALDI 26
70043 MONOPOLI BA
ITALIA

In Italian:

[Cognome] [Nome]
[Strada] [Numero Civico]
[CAP] [Città] [Provincia]
[Nazione]

In English:

[Last Name] [First Name]
[Street Name] [House Number]
[Postal Code] [City] [Province]
ITALY

The Proper Italian Address Format

According to the Italian Postal System, the proper format for addressing a letter in Italy is:

LINENAME OF LINEDESCRIPTIONREQUIRED?
1RECIPIENTTitle, First & Last Name OR CompanyYES
2ADDITIONAL INFOAnything else that helps specify the recipientNO
3BUILDINGInformation about the building (apartment, floor #, etc)NO
4ADDRESSType and name of road, street, etc, plus the house number.  Can also be post office boxYES
5LOCATIONPostal code, location (city, town, etc) and 2-digit province abbreviationYES
6NATIONITALY/ITALIA if arriving from outside of ItalyNO
The Italian Postal System’s guidelines for the proper Italian address format

The lines MUST be in this order.  It is not acceptable to switch any of them around. 

You may not take up more than one line for any of the lines in the table above.  If the address is too long (more than 30 characters, not including the house number), you can use the official abbreviation). 

So, an Italian address must be formatted with at least:

LineName of LineExample
1RECIPIENTSensi Alessandra
4ADDRESSPIAZZA ALBERTI, 22
5LOCATION12051 ALBA (CN)

More Information On Parts Of The Italian Address

Required Parts of the Italian Address

The Italian address MUST include the Recipient, Address, and Location:

RECIPIENTGranchi Martina                                       
ADDRESSCORSO SAN FRANCESCO 145
LOCATION50025 MONTESPERTOLI FI
NATIONITALY*
*NATION is only required if the letter is arriving from outside of Italy

Recipient

The last name is typically written before the first name.

City

The CITY / CITTÀ (MONTESPERTOLI above) must be written in full, or with the official abbreviation.  You may not abbreviate in your own style.

Province

PROVINCE / PROVINCIA (FI above) is a 2-letter abbreviation for the province.  In the example, Firenze is abbreviated as ‘FI.’  If the city is also the capital city (capoluogo) of the province (for example, the city Firenze is the capital of the province Firenze), you are not required to include province.  However, it’s good practice to include it.

CAP

The POSTAL CODE / CAP (50025 above ) is the codice di avviamento postale, or codice postale.  It’s Italy’s version of the postal code or zip code.  Make sure you use the CAP for your recipient, not the generic CAP for a large city.  For example, the generic CAP for Rome is 00100, but it’s no longer acceptable.  You must use a specific Roman CAP, from 00118 to 00199.

Many larger cities have more than one postal code.  Other smaller cities and towns will be covered by one postal code.  And one postal code can include many cities or towns.

San Marino is an independent republic and has its own postal code of 47031.

Vatican City, the independent Holy See, has its own postal code of 00120.

The Italian city of Campione d’Italia on Lake Lugano is actually inside Switzerland, so you can use either its Swiss postal code (CH-6911) or its Italian postal code (22060).

You do not need to label the CAP with ‘I-‘ or ‘IT-‘ before the number.

Nation

The NATION / NAZIONE (ITALY), may be left out if you are sending the letter from within Italy (including San Marino and Vatican City).

‘ITALY’ can also be written as ‘ITALIA.’  The Italian postal service allows both but prefers ‘ITALIA.’  Either way, make sure it’s written or typed in UPPERCASE letters.

Punctuation In The Italian Address Format

The Italian postal system, Poste Italiane, discourages using punctuation in the address, because it makes it more difficult for their machines to read the address.  However, you may still:

  • Place a comma between [Street Name] and [House Number]
  • Place the [Province] in parentheses

So, either way of writing this address is acceptable:

Rossi Gianni
VIA GARIBALDI, 26
70043 MONOPOLI (BA)
ITALY

Rossi Gianni
VIA GARIBALDI 26
70043 MONOPOLI BA
ITALY

Note that lines 4, 5, & 6, (the ADDRESS, LOCATION, and NATION) are always CAPITALIZED.  You may also capitalize the recipient if you’d like. 

Which Language To Use When Writing An Italian Address

You will almost always use Italian when writing an Italian address. 

There are a few regions in Italy that use other languages. In these regions, you may use Italian or the region’s other official language(s):

  • Trentino-Alto Adige – German/Italian/Ladin
  • Valle d’Aosta – French/Italian
  • Sardegna – Sardinian/Italian
  • Friuli – Friulian/Italian
  • Trieste – Slovene/Italian

Translating A U.S. Address To The Italian Address Format

A typical U.S. address might look something like this:

Martin Jones
123 Main Street
Charleston, SC 29407
USA

This address in the Italian format would look like:

Jones Martin
Main Street 123
29407 Charleston SC
USA

Special Cases Of The Italian Address Format That You May See

LINENAME OF LINEDESCRIPTIONREQUIRED?
1RECIPIENTTitle, First & Last Name OR CompanyYES
2ADDITIONAL INFOAnything else that helps specify the recipientNO
3BUILDINGInformation about the building (apartment, floor #, etc)NO
4ADDRESSType and name of road, street, etc, plus the house number.  Can also be post office boxYES
5LOCATIONPostal code, location (city, town, etc) and 2-digit province abbreviationYES
6NATIONITALY/ITALIA if arriving from outside of ItalyNO
The Italian Postal System’s guidelines for the proper Italian address format

While lines 1, 4, 5, & 6 in the Proper Italian Address Format table above are straightforward, lines 2 & 3 (Additional Info on the Recipient and Building) are more ‘flexible.’  You will, however, see some common ‘special cases’ in these lines of the address, including:

Including this is very important if the recipient is in an apartment or large building.  Without it, the letter will only arrive at the building, not to the intended recipient.

Unit Or Part Of House = ‘/’ + Letter Or Number

Example – Lorenzo lives in Apartment A of Building 12 on viale Europa:

Fantozzi Lorenzo
VIALE EUROPA 12/A
50126 FIRENZE FI
ITALY

Attention = C.A.

The abbreviation C.A. stands for Cortese Attenzione (Courteous Attention), similar to the U.S. version c/o (care of). 

Example – Chiara works at Ferrari in Modena:

FERRARI S.P.A.
C.A. FRANZETTI CHIARA
VIA ALFREDO DINO FERRARI 43
41053 MARANELLO MO
ITALIA

Care Of = Presso

You’ll typically see ‘Presso’ when addressing a letter to someone at a company or organization.

Example – Mariangela works at Gucci in Firenze:

Colalto Mariangela
PRESSO GUCCIO GUCCI S.P.A
VIA TORNABUONI 73/R
50123 FIRENZE FI
ITALIA

No House Number = Senza Numero

The recipient’s address may not have a house number.   The address is senza numero (without a number).  It is also sometimes written senza numero civico (without a house number). 

Example – Matteo lives in a house (without a house number) on a piazza in a small village:

Corti Matteo
PIAZZA ALBERTI SNC
02046 LOC. FRANZELLI RI
ITALIA

Description Of The Building

You may need to describe the building in order to ensure the mail gets delivered.  Descriptions include the type of building (palazzo, edificio) and/or parts of the building (scala, quarto piano).

Example – Carlo lives on via Sostegno, in Palazzo 12 on the 3rd floor:

Maccheroni Carlo
PALAZZO 12, PIANO 3
VIA SOSTEGNO 35
10121 TORINO TO
ITALIA

Post Office Box = ‘Casella Postale’ + Box Number

The casella postale (post office box) number must be written in the address line.  The line above it must include the name of the post office.

Example – Giorgio has his mail delivered to box #3145 at the Rome post office 312:

Franchi Giorgio
UFFICIO ROMA 312
CASELLA POSTALE 3145
00184 ROMA RM
ITALIA

Red Number In Florence, Genova, And Savona = House Number + ‘/r’

In some Italian cities, the ‘house numbers’ are either red or black.  The black numbers are typically residential, and the red numbers are usually businesses.  So, someone’s home is VIA REDI 33, while a restaurant is at VIA REDI, 33/r (or 33r). 

Example – Trattoria Sambuca is located on Viale Europa, at 16 red:

TRATTORIA SAMBUCA
VIALE EUROPA, 16R
50127 FIRENZE FI
ITALIA

photo of an outside wall showing a red sign with trattoria on it.  to the right of the sign is a number 16 in teh color red, which signifies it's a business, not a personal residence.
The red color number ’16’ signifies it’s a business

Kilometer Number = Street Name + KM

Instead of a house number, the location of the recipient may be marked by a kilometer number.  Remember that in Italy, a comma ‘,’ is used for a decimal instead of a period ‘.’.

Example – Filippo lives at kilometer 7.5 on state road 290:

Gatti Filippo
SS 290 KM 7,5
90020 ALIMENA PA
ITALIA

Frazione (Hamlet)

Small hamlets may not have streets in the address, only the name of the hamlet. 

Example – Enrico lives in Frazione Ferro:

Piazzini Enrico
FRAZIONE FERRO, 17
50023 GREVE IN CHIANTI FI
ITALIA

Where To Write The Return Address For A Letter Going To Italy

Always include the return address in the upper-left corner of the envelope.  You will often see MITT or MITTENTE in front of the name.  ‘Mittente’ means ‘sender.’

Example – Teodoro is sending a letter from his family farm, Podere Girasole:

MITT. BRANCACCI TEODORO
PODERE GIRASOLE
VIA COSIMO 117
25121 BRESCIA BS
ITALIA

Examples Of Correctly And Incorrectly Labeled Envelopes

Handwritten envelope showing a correct and an incorrect Italian address format
This address is missing the CAP and PROVINCE.
Handwritten envelope showing a correct and an incorrect Italian address format
The address on the right incorrectly has the HOUSE NUMBER in front of the STREET NAME.
Handwritten envelope showing a correct and an incorrect Italian address format
Mistakes made in the address on the left: (1) writing in cursive; (2) writing in lowercase; (3) writing the CAP at the end of line 3 instead of the beginning.
Handwritten envelope showing a correct and an incorrect Italian address format
The address on the right incorrectly places the ADDRESS above the BUILDING DESCRIPTION.
Handwritten postcard showing an incorrect Italian address format
This address is missing the CAP and PROVINCE.

Map Of Postal Zones

The first digit of the CAP stands for one of the 10 main postal zones in Italy. 

map of italy divided into its CAP zones
Map Credit: Di Karplus – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 3.0

Table of Italian Provinces With Their Abbreviations and Numeric Codes

Each of Italy’s 110 provinces has a 2-letter abbreviation and a 2-digit code that is the beginning of the CAP in that province.  For example, Firenze is abbreviated as FI and all CAPs in the province of Firenze begin with ’50.’ 

PROVINCEABBREVIATIONNUMERIC CODE
AgrigentoAG92
AlessandriaAL15
AnconaAN60
AostaAO11
ArezzoAR52
Ascoli PicenoAP63
AstiAT14
AvellinoAV83
BariBA70
Barletta-Andria-TraniBT76
BellunoBL32
BeneventoBN82
BergamoBG24
BiellaBI13
BolognaBO40
BolzanoBZ39
BresciaBS25
BrindisiBR72
CagliariCA09
CaltanissettaCL93
CampobassoCB86
CasertaCE81
CataniaCT95
CatanzaroCZ88
ChietiCH66
ComoCO22
CosenzaCS87
CremonaCR26
CrotoneKR88
CuneoCN12
EnnaEN94
FermoFM63
FerraraFE44
FirenzeFI50
FoggiaFG71
Forlì-CesenaFO47
FrosinoneFR03
GenovaGE16
GoriziaGO34
GrossetoGR58
ImperiaIM18
IserniaIS86
L’AquilaAQ67
La SpeziaSP19
LatinaLT04
LecceLE73
LeccoLC22
LivornoLI57
LodiLO20
LuccaLU55
MacerataMC62
MantovaMN46
Massa-CarraraMS54
MateraMT75
MessinaME98
MilanoMI20
ModenaMO41
Monza e BrianzaMB20
NapoliNA80
NovaraNO28
NuoroNU08
OristanoOR09
PadovaPD35
PalermoPA90
ParmaPR43
PaviaPV27
PerugiaPG06
Pesaro e UrbinoPS61
PescaraPE65
PiacenzaPC29
PisaPI56
PistoiaPT51
PordenonePN33
PotenzaPZ85
PratoPO50
RagusaRG97
RavennaRA48
Reggio CalabriaRC89
Reggio EmiliaRE42
RietiRI02
RiminiRN47
RomaRM00
RovigoRO45
SalernoSA84
SassariSS07
SavonaSV17
SienaSI53
SiracusaSR96
SondrioSO23
Sud SardegnaSU09
TarantoTA74
TeramoTE64
TerniTR05
TorinoTO10
TrapaniTP91
TrentoTN38
TrevisoTV31
TriesteTS34
UdineUD33
VareseVA21
VeneziaVE30
Verbano-Cusio-OssolaVB28
VercelliVC13
VeronaVR37
Vibo ValentiaVV88
VicenzaVI36
ViterboVT01

How to Find the Zip Code (CAP) For a City in Italy

1. Go to the Poste Italiane website for searching for a CAP if you know the city.  The site is in Italian, so you will need to enter the Italian names for the cities (Roma, not Rome).

2. Enter the name of the city for which you’d like the CAP.  Click on the search icon.

screenshot of Poste Italiane website with notes on how to enter CAP to enter in the Italian address format

3. To continue, you’ll need to click that you’re not a robot.

screenshot of Poste Italiane website with instructions to click that you're not a robot in order to continue

4. The postal code(s) for the city will be displayed.  In this example, Terranuova Bracciolini has postal code 52028.

Screenshot of the searched for CAP on the Poste Italiane website

If the city entered has multiple CAPs, you’ll be asked to be more specific.  You can enter a street name, or a street name and house number.  For example, Milano is a large city that has many CAPs, so you need to be more specific.

Screenshot of Poste Italiane website asking for the user to be more specific with the address

The postal code for the more specific address will be displayed.  In this case, the postal code for via Monte Napoleone in Milano is 20121.

Screenshot of Poste Italiane website showing CAP that will help you use the proper Italian address format

How to Find Out Which City is in a Zip Code (CAP) in Italy

1. Go to the Poste Italiane website for searching for a city if you know the CAP.  The site is in Italian, so you will need to enter the Italian names for the cities (Venezia, not Venice).

2. Enter the name of the CAP for which you’d like the city.  Click on the search icon.

Screenshot of Poste Italiane website showing how to search for a city if you know the CAP

3. To continue, you’ll need to click that you’re not a robot.

Screenshot of Poste Italiane website that shows you must click to prove you aren't a robot

4. The cities / towns for the CAP will be displayed.  For example, CAP 50025 includes Montespertoli, Baccaiano, Lucardo, Martignana, Montagnana Val di Pesa, and San Quirico in Collina.

Screenshot of Poste Italiane website showing the cities in the CAP 50025

Italian Address Format Vocabulary and English Equivalents

ITALIANENGLISH
nomefirst (given) name
cognomelast (family) name
indirizzoaddress
cittàcity
provinciaprovince
paesecountry (can also mean city, town etc.)
codice postale / codice di avviamento postale (CAP)zip code / postal code
ufficio postalepost office
casella postalepost office box
viaroad
corsomain street
vialeavenue
stradaroad / street
strada statalenational road
strada provincialeprovincial road
strada privataprivate road
strada comunaletown road
superstradaexpressway / motorway
piazzasquare
piazzettasmall square
vicoloalley
appartamentoapartment
pianofloor
scalesteps / stairs
portadoor
cortilecourtyard
borgoneighborhood
frazionehamlet / suburb
capoluogocapital city / town
rionedistrict / neighborhood
quartieredistrict / area
contradadistrict
campofield
poderefarm
tenutaestate
lungomarealong the sea
lungofiumealong the river
parcopark
pontebridge
scaloslipway
vialettodriveway
isolaisland
poggiohill
vallevalley

Final Things to Remember When Addressing an Italian Letter

  • Include all information – for example, if you don’t know the province, don’t leave it out and hope someone will figure it out and deliver your letter. 
  • Make sure your handwriting is legible.  If it’s not, print out an address label.
  • Avoid distracting decorations on the envelope, especially near the address.
  • Use the correct format and put the information in the correct order (for example, remember that the postal code is at the beginning of the line, not at the end.
  • Italian printing and cursive styles are unique.  The best way to ensure your writing is read correctly is to print in UPPERCASE.  Otherwise, use a computer to print an address label.

FAQ