Upon receipt of PCS orders to Sigonella, it is recommended that you contact the nearest Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) as soon as practical to arrange for shipment of your personal property. Depending upon the CONUS origin, it generally takes 60-75 days for household goods to arrive in Sigonella. The transit time is significantly longer for shipments originating from other OCONUS areas.Please review the Personal Property Consignment Guide (PPCIG) for Italy at the following website. If you are unable to access the website, please ask your servicing PPSO to print it for you.https://tops.ppcigweb.sddc.army.mil/ppcig/menu/query/country.do.
Sigonella is not a weight-restricted area and members may ship their full weight allowance. However, it is not recommended to ship major appliances or large bulky items. Unaccompanied service members E4 and below are required to live in Bachelor Quarters Housing and should only ship essential personal items that can be accommodated in the quarters. Service members accompanied by family members will be assigned to mandatory government housing, three and four bedroom townhouse style units, and should be mindful of this when deciding what to ship.
Unaccompanied baggage (UB) is packed and shipped separately from your household goods, and consists of items you will need immediately on arrival for health and comfort, pending receipt of your household goods. Nonessential items and items available at the new duty station for temporary use should not be shipped as UB. Temporary loaner furniture is available through the Housing Office, and hospitality kits are available at The Fleet and Family Support Center while awaiting your personal household goods shipment. Please note: Italian beds are sized differently than U.S. beds, therefore flat are preferable to fitted sheets for use on your temporary bed.
Non-Temporary Storage (NTS) at origin is authorized at government expense for the duration of your OCONUS tour. You are strongly encouraged to exercise this entitlement for major appliances, large bulky items, and items which will be of little or no use during your stay in Sigonella. Once you are settled in your new home and realize that any or all items left in NTS can be used, you may request a release from storage and shipment to Sigonella. The time limit on this entitlement is 180 days from the date the property was placed into NTS.
All of us at the Sigonella Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) would like to welcome you aboard. Benvenuti a bordo! We look forward to assisting you with your household goods shipment(s). Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your anticipated arrival date and personal contact information so that we can notify you when your shipment(s) arrive.
In Italy, they aren't kidding when they say an apartment is unfurnished. This means that not only is there no furniture, but typically there are no kitchen cabinets, closets, screens, medicine cabinets, or light fixtures. An Italian takes great pride in planning every detail of their apartment and when they move, they take everything with them. Therefore, it is usually more expensive to set up your house here than most other places. The Navy helps to defray the impact of these costs by providing you with a Move In Housing Allowance (MIHA) to offset this expense and by lending you an "8-pack" which includes such necessities as stoves, refrigerators, wardrobe, kitchen cabinets, and closets to get you started.
The following is a discussion of some items you will need and some that you ought to leave at home.
Bring all the lamps and ceiling fixtures that you own. Light fixtures are adapted to Italian current simply by replacing American light bulbs with Italian ones. Additional fixtures can be purchased at the NEX or through mail order catalogs. If interested in taking back Italian fixtures to the U.S., there are excellent buys at fine local shops.
Beds and Mattresses:
If you have them, bring them. Beds are normally available in the Navy Exchange; but if out of stock, they can be ordered. Beds are available from Italian stores, but are not the same size as American beds, and your American sheets won't fit them.
Available locally, both new and used at a reasonable cost.
In a move to Italy, rugs often become a major expense. Italian floors are normally made of hard tile or marble, which can be slippery and cold. Bring all the carpets and rugs you own. If you don't already have rugs, you may want to buy a few inexpensive room-sized carpets (9x12, 9x15, etc.). You should buy neutral colors, because the tile is often of varied colors and patterns. Average quality rugs and padding in standard sizes are usually available in the Navy Exchange. A wide variety of rugs can also be found in Italian stores.
Drapes from your last home are probably too short for Italy because of the high ceilings and long windows; but they are worth bringing because you may be able to alter them. You can purchase fabric on the economy, or you can mail order drapes from the states. You may not require drapes immediately, because the "persiana" (pronounced per-si-ah-nah) blinds that raise and lower over windows, much like a roll top desk, are standard in most Italian dwellings.
Carpenter's Tools and Do-It-Yourself Equipment:
If you have them, bring them. A limited selection is available through the Navy Exchange. It can be easier to make items such as wardrobes, bookshelves, cabinets, and boxes than to buy them. However, wood is expensive in Italy.
Old Desks and Dressers:
Anything that could be used to store things will come in handy. Most Italian homes will have plenty of room for small tables, desks, wardrobes, dressers, and boxes.
Be aware that dishwashers are not practical in Italy, due to expensive water and electric bills, and water shortages in Summer. However, your portable dishwasher can be used with faucet connection modifications and many manufacturers sell these.
It is not recommended that you bring an air conditioner. Few Italian homes use air conditioning because of an inadequate power supply in most areas. Also, electricity is expensive.
Sicily can be very humid during the winter. A dehumidifier will help heat your home, and reduce mildew problems. If you have one, bring it.
Microwave ovens sold in the states are generally 60 cycles and cannot be converted. Unless specifically designed for 50/60HZ, the magnetron tube will be damaged. A microwave oven designed with 50/60 HZ will still require technical conversion and must be used with a transformer. Microwave ovens sold in the Navy Exchange are 50/60 HZ and are ready to use with a transformer. When you return to the states, you may adjust it to 60 HZ for stateside use.
Small Electrical Appliances:
Generally speaking, small electrical appliances adapt well to use with transformers. New 220-volt appliances are available in the Navy Exchange or on the local economy.
These are not practical because they will not keep accurate time due to the 50 cycle current (the hands travel only 50 minutes every hour.) Brief power outages are also common in Sicily. Wind-up or battery-powered clocks are your safest bet.
Italian television is broadcasted in a different format than U.S. television. With a minor adjustment of the receiver, you may be able to pick up the Italian sound, but the picture will appear in black and white. If you own a cable-ready or multi-system (NTSC-PAL, etc.) television, you will be able to receive both Italian broadcasts and the American television broadcast by American Forces Network (AFN). However, if you convert your regular American TV to receive the Italian signal, you will lose the capability to receive AFN's broadcast. A multi-system TV can receive both the Italian and American signals. More than 20 Italian channels are available in the Sigonella area. Satellite TV is also an option. For about $400, a small dish can be installed which will receive several English-language channels. The Navy Exchange sells converters, antennas, amplifiers, and multi-system TVs. The Radio/TV Appliance Repair Shop can make adjustments, if necessary. If you plan to use your TV only with a video player, conversion is not required.
A portable radio is invaluable, especially in hotels. Electric models work well, but a back-up portable is useful in case of electrical outages. Radios with AM-FM bands are best. The clock in a clock radio will not work because of the 50-cycle current.
Other Audio/Video Equipment:
A full range of brand-name stereo and video equipment sold by the Navy Exchange Sight and Sound shop. Before bringing your present stereo and video equipment to Italy, check with the manufacturer for required parts to convert turntables, cassette/tape decks and timers to 50 HZ. Purely electronic items are not affected by the cycle difference. With proper parts, the Navy Exchange Radio/TV Appliance Repair Shop can easily adjust equipment for a minimal charge. You will find a good selection of videotapes, cassettes and CDs at Sight and Sound, and videotapes can be rented both on base and off.
It was once unheard of for Americans to bring lawn mowers to Italy because everybody lived in apartments. Most residents will not need one today. However, with the exodus to the suburbs, many more families now live in villas with lawns. New lawn mowers are sometimes available at the Navy Exchange Home Center. Some common replacement parts are also available. If you ship your mower, you also need to ship extra blades, plugs, and tune-up kits.
Apartment balconies are a good place to use outdoor furniture. The Navy Exchange carries an assortment, as do Italian stores and markets. Italy is famous for exporting a wide variety of high-quality lawn items.
It is considered unsafe for young children to ride bikes in the streets off base. However, some suburban areas do offer relatively quiet streets for safe bicycling. Helmets are mandatory!
Stateside mail order catalogs will prove helpful in outfitting your house and family while in Italy. Most large companies produce a special APO/FPO edition that makes ordering easier. But note that some catalog outlets do not ship to FPO/APO addresses. You may want to collect the catalogs that do ship to this area before you leave for Italy.
Firearms and Restricted Items:
At the present time there is a ban on the importation of firearms into Italy. The possession of any types of firearms in Italy is strictly controlled and requires the owner to obtain an Italian permit. Even if the ban is lifted, it is recommended that firearms not be included in your shipment as this may cause a delay in the property clearing Italian customs. The definition of firearms includes any weapon that is designed for or can be readily converted to be used for attack, defense, sports, games or hunting by driving a projectile through the barrel. This includes air pistols, air rifles, and firing replicas of antique firearms. Care should be taken not to include other restricted or prohibited items with your shipment. A representative from the PPO will advise you on this. When you arrive in Sicily, visit the PPO as soon as possible. Take with you all copies of documentation covering your shipments, including your automobile, in order to allow them to start tracing if necessary. The Personal Property staff will provide specific information concerning delivery of your goods and claims.
Italian landlords do not carry insurance against fire, theft, or water damage to the building, apartment or household furnishings of the tenant. Unless you as a tenant take out renters insurance, you could suffer loss or damage which would be difficult to recover, even after long and costly litigation in the Italian courts. Reported cases of housebreaking and theft of personal property (including motor vehicles) are not uncommon. Americans as well as Italians learn to be "security conscious" and realistically evaluate the precautions taken to safeguard their property. Consideration should be given to storing items of great sentimental value or items of very high dollar value that are unnecessary to have during overseas tours. You may also wish to take out private insurance or update your current policy. Keep in mind, there are no safety deposit boxes available on the military installations. Under certain circumstances, when a theft of your property has occurred, you may file a claim with the United States government for reimbursement. However, there are limitations on the amount that can be paid. Information concerning claims is available from the Naval Legal Services Office.
Adequate Proof Of Ownership:
Make sure you have proof of ownership for all household goods shipped, and proof of value for all shipped items worth $75 or more. If items are lost or damaged in shipment, or stolen from your home while stationed in Sigonella, you will need this information to submit a reimbursement claim. Proof of ownership includes a detailed entry on the shipment inventory, receipts, and photographs. Proof of value includes receipts, recent appraisals, and catalog excerpts listing the same item (if the description of the item in your proof of ownership is sufficiently detailed).