This article is from the Italy FAQ, by Gianluigi Sartori email@example.com, Paolo Fiorini firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Last modified: August 13 1993
Luigi Semenzato <luigi@paris.CS.Berkeley.EDU> writes:
Italian law allows a very low duty-free allowance for gifts or other
items acquired abroad ($50 last time I checked, in 1991). Items above
this amount must be declared. The import fee is 10% duty + 19% IVA
and must be paid in cash.
If the items are for an Italian firm or a professional who needs to
list them as expenses for tax purposes, the paperwork needs to be done
by an `importer'. The duty receipt given at the point of entry is not
usable for tax purposes.
Custom controls are not strict. At major airports, and on flights
from outside the EEC, some checks are done. A verbal declaration is
requested, and baggage is sometimes checked. The custom inspectors
are likely to grumble a lot if they find undeclared items, and show
disbelieving faces at your explanations, but in the end it is likely
that they'll let you go. Remember that in Italy the exception is the
rule. Do not attempt to bribe the custom official: it's dangerous and
For flights into Italy from other EEC countries, very few checks are
done even if a passenger's flight originated outside the EEC.
Should everything go wrong, remember that Italian prisons are an
important aspect of the local folklore and these days you are likely
to meet famous Italian industrialists there (famous politicians are
expected to follow shortly). :)