Massimo Schiavone: Postino extraordinaire

Story by Lee Wallace

Massimo Schiavone is a true man about town.  The pride he takes in his work is rewarded by the friendships he has forged within the Cagli community.  Massimo is a postini in Cagli, responsible for delivering mail to more than 800 families in the city every day.  He says he knows what he likes best about his job: “The people and the personal contact.”

The Cagli postal station is small.  With only six employees, the mail carriers enjoy camaraderie and opportunities for advancement.  Massimo, however, likes delivering mail; he knows everyone in town, and, he says, they appreciate and respect the work he does.  He takes his job seriously.  It is important to him that each person’s bills, letters and important documents are delivered to the right place at the right time.  But to Massimo, the work is not without humor and a little fun. He is quick to laugh and his smile is infectious as he greets each person along the route.

Early in the morning, while many residents of Cagli are sipping their morning cappuccini and preparing for their days, Massimo is already hard at work sorting stacks of mail from the Ancona distribution center in preparation for the daily delivery.  Because his is a city route where stops are frequent and the streets are narrow, Massimo makes his rounds partly on foot and partly riding a white scooter emblazoned with the yellow-and-blue logo of the Posteitalane

Around 10 a.m., after the sorting and bundling is complete, Massimo loads his scooter and sets off to deliver the assortment of envelopes, folded flyers, catalogs and small packages. Learning the postal routes is difficult because there is little standardization and no written guide to follow.  Where a family receives their mail is somewhat a matter of personal preference, and everyone depends on Massimo to remember which end of the café counter, which side of the entryway, which special place to leave the mail when a postal box is not available.

Massimo has been in Cagli for nearly six years though he joined the Posteitalane in his native Sicily.  The pull of southern Italy, where his family and friends remain, is strong for the young bachelor, and he misses them every day.  Each year he anxiously awaits the opportunity to take a position closer to home. But, he adds, he loves his work at the Cagli post office – a good station to work from. The commute is about as short as anyone could hope for -- down the stairs and across the street from his comfortable and modernized apartment disguised inside a 17th century exterior. 

When he’s not working, Massimo joins his friends for long walks and conversation and, through the internet, keeps in touch with friends and relatives who live in distant places.  Social media allows him to stay close to his cousin in Connecticut, her American husband and their one-year-old daughter as well as many other family members scattered throughout Italy and beyond.  

When he needs a change of scenery, Massimo samples the nightlife and sunny beaches of Rimini or embraces the lively college-town atmosphere of Urbino.   Though as a government worker he enjoys 30 days of vacation each year, he is only allowed to take 10 at a time.  While it’s enough time for a relaxing, energizing getaway, he says, it doesn’t allow quality time in the south of Italy, renewing acquaintances, friendships and family ties.

For Massimo the job is secure, predictable and stable.  He is glad to have it, he says. “If I didn’t have this job, I’d be making pizza in Sicily.”

Massimo at work

Massimo Schiavone leaving the Cagli post office to deliver mail.

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