WOW! Today a red letter day! Here is what has been happening. Since we received our Permessi last Saturday we have been working hard to get our Residenza. We went to the Comune (city hall) on Monday morning and they did the paperwork for our house. Putting it into our name and showing we will move in at the end of the year for garbage tax etc. We took that to another department where they filled out our papers to get our Residenza which will include a visit by the Police to our house to make sure we actually live there.
On Tuesday we went car shopping in Perugia. It was not very hopeful. We thought we were going to have to order a car which would take a couple of months minimum. We decided we’d go up to Citta di Castello on Wednesday, Christmas Eve, where they have an auto row type street to see about ordering an Alfa. We went to the VW dealer first. The salesman was pretty helpful. We explained we needed to buy a car as soon as possible. He found a VW Golf Diesel with most of what we wanted in Arrezzo (not too far away). They would install the GPS for us at an additional charge. Seemed like a good deal. We told him we would think about it. We wanted to try the Alfa dealer. He pretty much laughed at us saying what we wanted was impossible. Since we did have the VW in hand we decided to go back and buy it.
We did so. They explained that our Permessi were not enough to buy it. We had to have the Residenza. SO when we got back to Umbertide we decided to visit the Police to see if we could speed it up some. Serendipitously we ran into Jim (our realtor) as we were turning away from the Police door after reading their hours. Jim is not put off by closing time. He rang the bell and ushered us right in. He talked to the Policeman who found our visit request at the bottom of a big stack. He explained where we lived and he stamped all our papers and called ahead and we went up and GOT OUR RESIDENZA permits!!! I think getting our Permessi and Residenza in only 3 business days must be a record.
This means we can actually close the deal on the VW and return our rental without extending it (we hope!). This is a most welcome Christmas present for us!
Other things of interest
We got our guest bed head and foot boards.
Looks and is comfy!
We also went to Castiglione del Lago with Susan and Gary for lunch on Sunday. It was a lovely, very mild day. Lots of folks out and about. We had a great lunch at Monna Lisa. This is a seafood restaurant that we were sure Susan and Gary would love as we had eaten there with Jodi and Don recently.
Pictures of Castiglione.
Finally, at the end of a very eventful year for us, we want to wish everyone a Buon Natale! We will have a nice Christmas Eve dinner with friends tonight.
There hasn’t been too much happening. Just odds and ends that I’ll catch up on.
We spent a couple of quiet days. We caught up over lunch with Susan and Gary who had been in the Dolomite mountains in the Alto Adige part of Italy. It used to be Austria before the first world war. They still speak primarily German and it is Germanic in feel. We have been several times. It was not their cuppa tea! Also they had a lot of rain which was unfortunate.
We met with Emanuele and he “says” he is all set to start work on Sunday. I am excited but not holding my breath. He also brought us a letter from Fed Ex.
This was our next challenge. We had arranged for Luther to get his prescriptions sent to our Texas mailbox. They showed up last Friday. I arranged for them to be sent to Emanuele’s address as someone is always there. The letter he brought was from FedEx regarding customs who want to know exactly what is in this package. We had been expecting this. They emailed us a bunch of forms and we filled them out. We had to go to the bank to arrange to pay the €40.00 they charge. We could have gone to our bank website to do this but the site was down. We only had 3 days to get the funds there so opted to go in person to the bank.
SO we sent the money and filled out the forms and sent them all back. We hope this will allow the medicine to be delivered. This whole thing is costing a good bit of money. First the prescriptions cost around $30.00. Not bad. Then it cost $56.00 to sent them via FedEx. This was the least expensive method that was trackable. Add to that the €40.00 (about $52.00). At least we only have to do this every 3 months. Once we are registered here we can get the Italian health insurance. That will be a WHOLE other experience!
So we congratulated ourselves with a trip to the restaurant across the river today with a nice lunch all’aperto. As an added little factoid – in Italy never ask to dine al fresco as we do in the US. This means literally “in the cooler” or in jail!! HA HA!
We have two upcoming events. One is a tour of Umbertide Underground! It is through the wine club and is next Tuesday afternoon. Apparently Umbertide is honeycombed with tunnels, catacombs, old wells and cantine. We will get a guided tour and tour La Rocca which is the big castle built into the town walls.
The other is a concert in the Chiesa de San Francesco on Saturday evening at 7PM. The church was built between the 8th and 12th centuries. The concert will be a 50 piece orchestra playing Brahms. I am quite excited to see this.
Today was our appointment to go visit the Questura or State (of Italy) Police in Citta di Castello. We had gone for a ride out yesterday with Gary and Susan who knew where it was – kind of out in the industrial area outside of town. (then we had lunch :-))
So today we had a 9AM appointment and made it fine. We were the first called and we each went with a different person. We were fingerprinted and we had all the necessary forms. The two guys we dealt with were very nice. Luther had fun practicing his Italian and got lots of compliments on how well he spoke. They told is in 2 or 3 months we should have our Permesso. OK. At least that’s another hoop jumped through.
Yesterday we met with Emanuele and had Susan along as an interpreter as it was kind of technical stuff about the estimates, lights, kitchen, schedule etc. We got the number for the kitchen from Pedini which was about on track with our guess as to cost. The big surprise was that the rest of the work and lighting, tiles etc was much higher than we had anticipated. We are not sure why. Perhaps it is the logistics of the whole job. Emanuele told us they would have to take everything up and down the stairs. He had hoped for a hoist up to a window but that would be too disruptive to the stores below. Anyway. We took the lighting estimate home. It alone was 10,000 Euros but it was also everything and then some. We whittled it down and I think it will be more like 4,000 Euros now.
We took the lighting choices and the kitchen choice to Emanuele today and he called the Pedini people who will come to measure everything hopefully next week. He is also going to give us a line item estimate and we will eliminate anything we can to get the price down some. Right now I am thinking the attic area will not be tiled as we had discussed. We can use the space without it being tiled. We will still want the vent windows up there and probably have them clean it out. It will all depend on how much it will cost.
We also went to Formica, a big electronics chain who have a store here in Umbertide. Oddly the word formica means ant in Italian! We took Luther’s finally unlocked IPhone and got it activated with a plan for calling, text, and internet access. Pretty easy and pretty reasonable. He now has an Italian phone number. We will keep the little non-smart phone that I have which has a US number in case we need someone to call us from the US. I will use that for my phone.
I forgot to tell you that Susan told us about a free app for the IPad or IPhone called DuoLingua. It is a language app that I am finding extremely useful. I have learned a LOT of stuff from it in the last 4 days that I have been using it. I recommend it to anyone learning a language. It is really a lot like a game and that’s fun!
A quiet Sunday. A picture of the Piazza on a Sunday afternoon. Very quiet.
Here are our boys on Neighborhood watch Italian style!
And a pretty balcony in the Piazza.
We did our construction homework from Emanuele today and went through the house carefully noting anything that we would want changed or fixed. I emailed that list off to him.
We also worked on the paperwork for our Permesso and got ready to make copies on Monday morning. Since we don’t have a printer/scanner/copier yet we went to the Tabacchi which is a shop that sells all sorts of useful things. They make copies, they sell tax stamps called Marca da Bolla, they sell train and bus tickets, lottery tickets and sundry other things depending on the shop. We had to make copies of all the documents that we took when we got our visa. Also had to make copies of EVERY page of our passports! We purchase our Marca da Bolla which is necessary for the Soggiorno.
We then went to the post office with all of our paperwork, 4 passport photos, copies of everything, and our Marca da Bolla. We had a bit of trouble figuring out which button to push to get our number in the waiting line but after reading closer it was clear that we needed the “P” line. There didn’t seem to be any lines servicing “P”s but we kept waiting and finally one came up. We probably had to wait at least an hour but we got everything done, got a receipt that we had applied, got an appointment at the Questura (police) for July 27 in Citta di Castello the next town north of us. We have to take copies of nearly everything to the police as well as our photos etc and get fingerprinted etc. It takes a few months to get the final Permesso.
Next step is to see if we can get our carta di identita or Identity card. The rule, we are told, is that you have to have your residency to buy a car or a TV set. And you can’t get that until you have your Permesso finished. SOME have said you can use the RECEIPT you receive from the post office and buy a car. I am not sure how to find out whether this is true. But we have our car rented for 3 months so have some time to figure it out.
So today was yet another hurdle managed. Baby steps. Things get done as they will. Tomorrow we visit Emanuele about getting our estimates for the construction work.