The postman, a 56-year-old from Naples now living in north-eastern Italy, had been failing to deliver mail for at least eight years, police said on Tuesday.
They found 573 kilos of mislaid post – including old telephone directories from 2013 and campaign leaflets from the 2010 regional elections, as well as stacks of bills, tax forms, bank statements and other correspondence – in a garage near his home in Breganze, Vicenza.
Investigators described it as the biggest stash of undelivered mail ever discovered in Italy.
Video: Polizia di Stato via La Repubblica
It emerged after volunteers at a nearby recycling centre noticed 25 yellow Poste Italiane boxes stuffed with old mail among the contents of another garage that had recently been cleared out.
The garage had previously been used by the postman, which led police to check the contents of another garage he was known to have.
According to Rai News, the rediscovered post will now be sorted and finally delivered – several years late – to its rightful recipients.
In 2013 a postman on the island of Sardinia was found to have hoarded some 400 kilos of undelivered mail over four years.
The “violation, misappropriation or destruction” of someone else's post is a criminal offence in Italy, punishable by up to one year in prison.