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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Postbox Saga


A year ago I wrote the story of the Postbox Saga, which may have recently been resolved, while for now anyway! For the benefit of those of you that did not read this story last year I have reproduced the posts here again in full.

The Saga of the Postbox  (originally posted on News From Italy, October 20th 2009)

In Italy in rural areas it is not unusual to have to collect one’s mail delivery from a bank of mailboxes located in the vicinity of a group of properties.

This was a new experience for us when we moved to Campo delle Rose as although we lived in the countryside in Vetralla the mail was delivered to the house, well almost, actually a box at the end of our drive. As it was a long drive we were pleased to discover the postbox here was no further away, located in a sheltered spot on our neighbour’s property. He had built a shelter for the boxes so that larger letters and parcels which will not fit in the boxes can get some protection from the rain, important for me as I receive lots of books!
The only down side to this arrangement was one of the neighbour's dogs that is not always chained up and very protective of his owner nipped me enough to bruise me the first and only time I made a solo trip to collect the mail. I have never been confident with dogs and since then will only go to collect the mail on foot if the dog is chained up, even then I am not confident as they are very long chains and I am never quite sure how safe I am! It is not just me, as our neighbour Stefania is also very wary.
We therefore thought it was maybe good news a few weeks ago when we received a letter from two of the other postbox owners to say that in short the postboxes were to be removed elsewhere. There were a number of possibilities listed in the letter, either everyone involved was to demand that Poste Italiane delivered to our individual properties or the shelter was relocated. It turns out that this letter is part of an on going family dispute between two cousins which I will not go into here as it is none of my business. We have all been informed by the neighbour who owns the land where the boxes are located that the letter was too be ignored and that there would be no changes.

Unfortunately the situation escalated recently when the other cousin, who by the way does not even live in this commune, arrived secretively one morning loaded the postbox shelter on to the roof of his car and very hurriedly relocated it to a position opposite our road entrance. When this was discovered lengthy discussions were held amongst the owners of the postboxes, as this particular gentleman had no rights to do this, they are our property not his etc, etc. We nod knowingly and agree to whatever the neighbours decide to do, after all this is not our war. Anyway something will have to be done as apparently you cannot just locate postboxes wherever you fancy there are rules and regulations.
The shelter had been hastily and precariously relocated and it did not even survive its first night in its new but possibly temporary position. The next morning it was on the ground causing yet more problems as it was now a hazard in the narrow lane and junction. If an accident was caused it seems that the postbox owners are the liable parties. This of course caused even more concern amongst the neighbours, photographs were hastily taken and consultations with Poste Italiane intensified. The inspectors have now been to look at the location and we believe it has been declared as unsuitable, but there it stays until situation resolved.
The situation now is that the gentleman concerned has received a legal communication from his cousin to reinstate the postboxes and shelter to their original location within a set period of time.
We await further developments!


A few weeks later I posted an update.

Postbox update (originally posted on News From Italy, December 10th 2009)

Italian Postbox
Originally uploaded by se_kwien

Sorry but I have only just realised that the update I promised was never blogged.
What a surprise we had just five days after my last post on the situation to get up one morning and find the postbox had gone. Moved back to its original position by the main owners of the land it is positioned on, early that morning before we were even awake.
The argument rumbles on though as the cousin was far from happy and had ignored the fact that action would be taken if he did not restore the postbox back to its original position himself!
Well he didn’t so it was done for him, so disgusted was he that he called the carabineri out, yes to complain about his own cousin! Anyway they were far from interested when they realised that the post office were involved and that they had stated emphatically that the postbox could not stay where the objecting cousin had placed it.
It seems to be stalemate at present.

Latest Situation October 2010

The stalemate continued for just about a year with the postbox remaining in its original place despite the cousins objections. During this period the neighbours have had various discussions on behalf of all of us as to where it could be safely sited on the lane conveniently for all concerned. There was even some discussion about just five postboxes, those of us living in the immediate vicinity, being mounted on the wall of our workshop which backs onto the lane. We were in agreement and one of the neighbours was to build a more respectable structure to take the boxes.

Unfortunately nothing came of this plan before the situation seemed to escalate again. The cousins are having a legal battle of which the postbox is just one of many problems they have unresolved between them. It seems that having had enough of the postbox being on land it was not supposed to be on for yet another year, legal action was taken between the cousins demanding it was moved immediately.

So within hours of getting another solicitors letter our neighbour has moved the little house for the postboxes out on to the lane again. This time it is on the left side of his gate,rather than the right where it was placed last year. Last years position was not approved by Poste Italiane, but since then consultations have taken place and we are led to believe that this current position as been deemed suitable by the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile this is where the postmen are delivering our mail, just a few steps across the lane from our house.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I really want to tidy this up!

For now it stays as it is and I must go and concentrate on preparing for the Olive Harvest.


  1. Goodness what a huge problem just to collect your post. I agree it does not look very beautiful, maybe on the back of your workshop would have given you a chance to tidy it up! Nothing worse than family feuds, especially when it affects everyone else. Diane

  2. Oh my, how many sagas did you have? LOL, living in Italy! I think the postman is lazy, never heard of a bank of mailboxes.
    It is true that I never lived in the country though.

  3. Fascinating and frustrating at the same time. Never live close to family is what I always say. We talk about mail delivery every day here because my husband is a rural mail carrier in middle Georgia and we have our share of sagas but nothing like this! I will show this post to him Linda and am sure he will enjoy it very much. ♥O

  4. Excuse me. I am laughing while I am trying to type. This sounds like a tv comedy.
    I have visions of postal customers in a daily search for the post boxes, never sure where they may turn up, and early morning runs of feuding relatives trying to outsmart the other.
    Life is grand

  5. The whole sage really is quite funny! (Although not sure I would find it quite so funny if it was MY postbox involved!).These are obviously two cousins who just do not get on at all!! Yes, I would want to tidy it up as well!!!

  6. Sounds just like the Don Camillo stories!
    Love, Sarah

  7. Compared to your neighbors, mine are wallflowers. Crazy people, they really must not have anything better to do!

  8. Hysterical! This has to be true because no one could make up something this crazy! Oh what tangled webs we weave....

  9. After reading this, I guess I am lucky to have a box on a post in front of our yard..Whew, this is quite the story and I must say I was laughing all through it. Wouldn't like the dog business though..that wasn't funny.
    I put a picture up today and somehow my labels ended up to the side..I had to write Mandy right away, because I felt foolish..I don't know what I did wrong..but there they are to the right of my picture..I still can't figure out what went wrong..
    Have a good rest of the week and weekend..

  10. Diane - I am not holding my breath that this is where it will stay, so it may yet be rebuilt and mounted on our workshop, we shall see.

    Alessandra - No I do not think he is lazy, the properties around here can be miles apart it would take forever to visit each house. We are a long way from the office that delivers our mail and I think sometimes they save it up to make it worthwhile driving out here anyway?

    Olive - I hope your husband enjoyed the tale! The family has a large presence in the locality but strangely enough the cousin causing the problems for our neighbour does not even live here but some miles away!

  11. Mya - Absolutely it was just like that at times!

    Thisisme - It is very funny and has not really bothered us, but we gather some of the people who live further away have not been amused. The feud between the two cousins is not so funny though as the postbox is apparently just the tip of the iceberg.

    travelingsuep - I know only in Italy!

    Sarah - Absolutely :)

    Rowena - Our neighbours are all lovely people, unfortunately it is a cousin of one of them who does not even live here but owns part of the land who is causing a lot of agro for his cousin!

    Patricia - Fact funnier than fiction, some of the action would have made a good video!

    Rosebud - I am nervous of strange dogs anyway so that episode did spook me rather! So pleased that you have joined us on BW.

  12. What a huge saga, doesn't sound like something that is going to get sorted out in the near future.. :-(

    Oh it was great meeting Diane today .. We got the photo on the off chance.. we wanted to meet for coffee and we only have one little cafe in the village .. so I went to meet Diane there, and it was not open .. having the kitchen refitted , so I asked the lady in charge if she wouldn't mind taking a photo.. and then we came to my house .. coffees and a long chat :-) What is the chance of meeting a blogger from France in you own village :-)

  13. My Joe just read this post and he enlarged all the pics. He laughed that insider laugh. He has some cluster boxes that are difficult but nothing going on like this he says. The big deal here is that they may close the post office and make everyone change their address which will be a nightmare. Joe will thankfully keep his job but will be transferred. Your postman must walk up to your boxes from looking at the photos while Joe drives a 120mile route with 420 boxes on it. Maybe one day this can be an entire chapter in a book of yours.

  14. Oh that sounds hilarious - well, from an outsider's point of view anyway. I'm always amazed when I read stories like this - the ones that wouldn't be out of place in some comedy movie... Hope your week has otherwise been good ;-) Love from London xo

  15. It sure must be frustrating to be in the middle of this mess! I imagine myself in your place, watching everyone talking loudly and fast and not being able to help on a decision. Can't wait to see how this is going to end!

  16. Hi!

    It doesn't sound funny to me at all. It does sound typical though. What a strange situation you find yourself in. I think the list of similar stories can go on and on. I'm happy to hear you have a light hearted attitude about it. I think I wouldn't be so forgiving however when it comes to dog snippets. I go walking where often a lady lets her mean dog out and he follows me barking. I can't stand it.

    Anyhow, I don't believe that is legal either. I think the dog needs to be in an enclosed area.

    If I were in a similar situation as yours I think I would take charge of the situation. I think I would get an estimate even online for a decent wood hutch and the six or so mailboxes you share. Then I would let each neighbor know in writing how much his cost would be to update. How frustrating that must be not to be able to have a decent mailbox!

    Well good luck. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out. Thanks for sharing.


  17. Anne - I think the karma is brilliant for you linking up with Dianne. Yes some saga, not a problem for us, but I do feel for the man who is being attacked by this cousin. Ok we do not know both sides of the tale and it is not my place to get involved, but it seems like bullying to me.

    Olive - I bet your husband would have some tales to tell, glad he enjoyed this one. Our postman drives out to us, no walking for him either, as it is a rural scattered round, hence the groups of boxes together. I have no idea of the mileage or number of deliveries though your husbands certainly sounds extensive. No book for me I prefer blogging.

    Mademoisellle P - It is hilarious but sad for the cousins to be fighting like this, the postbox being just one of the many things they are in disagreement over.

    Simony - It does not really frustrate us, as long as we get our mail, just hate family disputes like this, life is too short.

    Julie - When this happened I was walking beside his owner to the postbox and the dog was supposedly jealous of me! Luckily no harm done and again why upset the neighbours. They know know how I feel and are careful to make sure the dog is chained up, if I am going to be on their land.
    As for taking charge of the situation, I think as 'stranieri' one has to tread carefully and not be too overpowering towards these Italian country folk that have welcomed us as neighbours. One of the younger ones was planning to build something and place on the back of our workshop, so this is an idea we will be encouraging.

  18. Dear Linda , I havve had a lovely time reading your blog, and admiring your photos , When we moved to Vancouver Island,I was full of enthusiasm to garden . and the local wild deer were just as happy to taste , and eat every thing I happily planted, so we now only try to grow prickly,unpleasant smelling plants . I use a very strong , scented spray . Not much fun, but there is the ocean , and the mountains, and fir trees and spruce . Best wishes, and safe trip to the U.K.. Happy Christmas to all your family , Joyce .


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