How Do Italians Properly Address a Letter?

Whether you’re planning to send a letter or an email to Italy, it’s important to understand the specific formatting standards and salutations used by Italians. This guide will provide practical advice on how to correctly address a letter in both formal and informal situations in Italy.

Understanding the Italian Addressing System

An Italian address is typically written in the following format:

– The recipient’s surname comes before the first name.

– Street name follows, with the house number stated after.

– The postcode appears first on the last line, followed by the town, the two-letter abbreviation of the province.

– For international letters, ‘ITALY’ should be written in capital letters on the last line.


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It is recommended that your writing is easily readable by a computer; thus, printing the label is better than handwriting.

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Greetings and Salutations in Italian Letters

Italian correspondence varies in formality, from personal emails to formal business communications.

Formal Correspondence:

In formal emails or letters, Italian salutations encompass titles and polite phrases such as:

– ‘Gentile’ followed by a title and surname, for example, Genile[/strong] Signor* Verde.

‘Egregio’, equivalent to ‘Dear’, is used in formal business communications.

– ‘Pregiatissimo‘, translates to ‘Dear Sir’, is rarely used in modern communications.

Informal Correspondence:

For informal greetings, especially with family and friends, Italians start their correspondence with: ‘Cara’ for females or ‘Caro’ for males, meaning ‘Dear’. These are followed by the person’s first name.

Professional Titles in Italian Letters

In Italy, professional titles such as “Doctor” or “Lawyer” are always used as a form of address in writing. If a person has graduated from an Italian university or holds an important job title, they are commonly addressed as ‘Dottore’ or ‘Dottoressa’.

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Learning to address a letter correctly in Italian is not only respectful, it can also prevent potential miscommunications. Whether you’re writing a formal business letter or just keeping in touch with friends and family in Italy, it’s essential to respect the Italian etiquette for addressing letters and emails.

Keep in mind that cultural and linguistic nuances are still important, even in our digital age. The Italian language is extraordinarily rich in polite expressions, and using the appropriate formality level shows respect and understanding towards the recipients of your correspondence.

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