Category Archives: italian paperwork

Permessi

So, you probably read that I found out our Permessi di Soggiorno were ready in a previous post? And I said we would have to wait, with the Zone Red. The story was not finished…

For some reason, this morning I asked Luther to check his phone for an SMS. The Questura is supposed to send us one when the PdS is ready. Sure enough, he had been sent one last Wednesday. Our appointment was February 10…February 10th!!? That was today. I looked outside at the wind driven rain and sighed. With the appointment on the phone we could leave our Comune. So we decided to “man up” and go.

We drove the 20 kilometers to Città di Castello. The rain, thankfully, let up on the way. I admired all the brilliant green fields and mountainsides. The winter wheat is so welcome about now when everything is gray. But the wheat! It is neon!

Arriving at the Questura we saw no one standing outside the door. This was odd. Usually there is a crowd. We parked and walked to the gate where there was a sign. It said it was closed until February 21 for the Permesso di Soggiorno. Oh well. No matter. The sun came out on the way home but black clouds loomed ahead. We visited the Wednesday market for some produce and retreated before the rain. Piano, piano as they say here. Slowly, slowly. In due time we will get the Permessi 🙂
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Now it is late afternoon and there is an ENORMOUS thunderstorm looming from the north. I took some pictures. It is pretty impressive. The sun is shining in the foreground and on the hills. The storm is a very black cloud behind. It sets off the sun very well. I love the contrast. And the thunder rumbles….

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A friend of mine and I were discussing food…it is an obsession in Italy…and after sharing the recipes we had been trying he said…”we have to keep our strength up for whatever”. And I laughed and laughed…yes we DO! Eating well is our best defense. And it gives us something to do.

Singapore Teochew Braised Duck is the next meal.  Luther is a huge duck fan. Always pestering me to cook a duck. I like duck. I just don’t like COOKING duck. I had duck parts. About half a duck chopped up. We bought it in the super mercato here in town. I decided roasting was not the way to go with parts. So I searched on braised duck and picked this one.

It was good. Had a nice broth from the braising. It included soy sauce, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, ginger root, garlic, onion. I made basmati rice. I put some of the broth over it. It was very tasty. I would make it again. I even have left over broth for another use.
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Italian sentence. “Domani è un altro giorno, proprio come oggi.“ in English, “Tomorrow is another day, just like today”. Doh-mah-nee A un al-tro gee-or-no, pro-pree-oh coh-may  ohg-gee. 🙂
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Stay safe! 🌈

Slowly, slowly…our supplies dwindle

I’m sure you’ve all read here in the blog if you’ve read for a while, that there are some things we love to get in the US and bring home to Italy. Things like spices and ethnic ingredients not available here. Although many things ARE available here and I’ve learned over the years how to find stuff, there are still a few things that MUST come from home.

Last week I used the last bit of my “Fish Fry” coating for fish. I looked it up, as I always do, on the internet and are there are many recipes for “do it yourself” fish fry. So OK maybe I can make it. We will try it and see. But I’d rather just have a new supply from the US 🙂.

Today, I opened my penultimate bag of Carolina Gold Rice, also called Charleston Gold. I keep it in the freezer until I need it. And there is one bag left. Italy, of course, has many very good rice varieties. Most notable are Carnaroli and Aborio rice. A short grain rice used in risotto. I also use it for regular rice. There are also readily available, basmati, brown and multi-grain rice. All good. But none are Carolina Gold.

I learned, years ago, about Carolina Gold rice from a Low Country cook book. Of course I ordered some to try. It was probably the original rice brought from Africa by the enslaved to America. These people also brought the knowledge to grow it. The labor it took to grow, was intense, and were it not for the enslaved, it would never have been possible to cultivate it. A hard life. So it wasn’t surprising when the rice died out after the Civil War. Until the 1960s, when a couple of people bought old plantations and slowly revived the rice. It is now cultivated and sold by these plantations.

What? you may ask, is so special about this rice? Rice is rice, right? But not this rice. It is nutty, and buttery, and has a distinctive aroma when cooking and when on the plate. It doesn’t need any gravy or enhancement to be enjoyed. Both Luther and I adore it and I never have to say “this is Carolina Gold” Luther always knows. It is the aroma.

Anyway. We really love it and bring back pounds of it in our suitcase (much to the amusement of the TSA). Just another casualty of the Corona virus. Unable to go home, and having no guests to bring some we will carefully nurse this rice and hope it can be replenished in 2021. Believe me, there are many other things that are going on my shopping list for when we can go home. 🙂

We rejoice there is now a vaccine, and it will protect our health care workers. And then, later, the rest of us. A light at the end of the long tunnel we’ve all been traveling this year. I have very high hopes for next year. I am itching to have some guests! My guest room has lain fallow for more than a year. It wants friends to come. And we are excited to also begin to plan travel. All in good time. First a quiet and lonely Christmas for most of us. It has to be. We will live to see NEXT Christmas…Stay COVID safe…live to see another year! 🌈

Boring things. We all have to do them…

Like everyone on this earth, we all have errands to run to keep our lives ticking along on track. We are happy all the shops are still open and, although we have to stay in our Comune, we have everything we need here.

Our list for today was extensive. First stop. As everyone does, we are preparing for winter. We have a heated mattress pad for our bed. And we have a summer one. So that summer one went to the dry cleaner to be cleaned for next summer…SUMMER ☀️ which I see as a shining light ahead of us! Maybe a new beginning after this pandemic. Spero di si.

Second issue we had been dealing with. Our old printer had died and we ordered a new one from Amazon, after trying to find one locally. We got that on Friday and have semi-set it up. (Don’t get me going on how hard it was!) Of course, as these things go, I had JUST ordered new toner for our previous printer when it died. €80 worth. So I needed to return it. But, without a printer, I was unable to print the mailing labels to do so. So I waited. Today we took the toner to the DHL pickup location to return. Check.

Last week we also had to go to the ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale – Local Health Unit) because our E01 had expired. Our Dottoressa had noticed when we visited her. This is the code that is used here to determine how much you must pay for prescriptions and some tests…according to your income. If it expires, you automatically pay the most. So we got that updated but we didn’t have all of the copies of our cards they needed (of COURSE they need copies!!). At home, we had no copier…so we waited and once we got the new printer – we made the copies and we took them there to drop off. Check.

A trip to the EuroSpin supermarket to order a turkey for thanksgiving was next. This part I liked best. This year I decided to do Thanksgiving dinner, even if it is just for us. Our friend Susan offered to make a pie and I think Gary is making a vegetable. No matter. I will take a pan of turkey, maybe dressing, gravy, and of course, mashed potatoes to them. We will eat alone, alas, but at least we will share the bounty with some friends.

After that we visited the Coop supermercato. I had not been since we went to Code Orange and they are again taking things seriously. We had our temperatures taken before we could go into the mall, of course masks are mandatory everywhere now, both inside and outside, and the spacing between people is being enforced. We bought a bunch of the staples we needed. And also some cat food for our friend who is in isolation. She feeds a mamma cat and her litter from this year and was running low on food. I dropped it by her house so she should be good for a while. She told me they are coming to her house to give her the Covid test rather than making her go to Citta di Castello. One of the few benefits of age 🙂.
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I took a walk Sunday evening. By the time I got back to the Centro the sun was just setting and the sky was pretty. Here are two pictures.

The Rocca, our fortress.
The entrance to the Centro Storico. We have a pedestrian bridge which crosses over from the road.

Stay safe all….andrà tutto bene 🌈

Permesso di Soggiorno #7

June 25 is an auspicious day for us. On this day, we flew from the US to Italia to begin our excellent adventure! Here is my post from the day of our flight — June 25, 2014 —  Our journey is Accomplished. 

Picture  from our first summer here…

Since we had to get our Elective Residency visa to start on the day we planned to go to Italy, it expires on the June 25 date every year. It just so happened that our appointment at the Questura was today. This is the appointment where we get ourselves fingerprinted and turn in more paperwork and our photos.

The experience was a little different. The former waiting room was devoid of chairs and the old disused windows in that room were now open and functional. So we didn’t ever enter the building. Our old favorite police officer, Latizia, whom I had missed for the last two appointments was back. She’s super nice and after seven Permessi, she knows us. Only the two people at the two windows were allowed inside. We waited outside until our turn. The horrible fingerprint experience ensued. I hate that part the most. But we always get through it. Piano, piano as Latizia said. Another bureaucratic hoop has been jumped through. Maybe next year we can again try for the long term permit. Sigh. I hope so. It’s not terribly hard to renew yearly but it’s just a lot of time and tedious work. Plus, now that our Permessi are officially expired we can’t travel within Schengen. People think they can with the postal receipt, but it is not true as that is not an official EU document. If we get the long term permit we won’t have this issue. 
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Dinner tonight was something new. Pizza from the wood oven at Calagrana. The downside, I had to drive there to pickup. The upside, the pizza was excellent!

Excellent pizza! Mmmm.
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I am so sorry to be watching the numbers in the US on TV. It is frightening to me. Everything seems so out of control. Anyway, please, all my friends, keep yourselves safe…stay home, if you must go out wear your mask. It is a no brainer…it saves lives. 🌈

Permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo – part 3

So… this week we did several things in pursuit of our Cartas.

Monday we visited the Agencia il Corriere. It is advertised as an auto and boat agency to facilitate all things legal, like titles and registration. It also helps with drivers licenses and we could have probably used them to convert ours had we known about them. We had thought we’d need to go to Perugia for this Police report. But the nice Policeman we visited last week told us about this agency and that they also do things like help get police reports! Who would’ve known that!? So we initiated that process. I’d pay just about anything to avoid going to the madhouse that is Perugia. We should get them next Monday.

Then Luther wrote to our Commercialista to get proof of our having paid our taxes since we’ve been here. That arrived in an email on Wednesday.

Today, we went to the Anagrafe in our Comune to get the CERTIFICATO CONTESTUALE, or family status certification. That was super easy and cost two €16 tax stamps or Marche da Bolla. Plus €1.04.

Since we were there we decided to convert our old style Carta d’Identite to the new electronic cards. This cost €27 each plus photos, fingerprints etc. We should get them in the mail.

So that’s three out of four things we need. The last thing is a Housing Certification or a certificate of habitability. We had thought this “could” be the long pole in the tent as they say. We noticed our deed mentions we do not have this certification. And it says, due to the age of the building. (!) Uh oh. So I decided to write our realtor, who knows just about everything real estate related, and ask him. Well, he replied that this is true, our house is in the Centro Storico, or historical center of town. This part of town is ancient and because of this it gets a pass. I guess we will highlight this passage on our deed and hope they accept it.

Stay tuned!

Permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo – part 2

So yesterday we went to the polizia here in Umbertide to enquire about how to get the certificates we need. Sadly we have to go to Perugia. We have vague directions. Sigh.

Then we met with our avvocato. Sr. Rossi seems nice and speaks good English which helps some. He explained we should just apply on our own as normal and if we are turned down we will file in the Administrative Court Of Umbria (TAR UMBRIA) to contest the decision. It will cost around €1500 plus court costs and take around 1 1/2 years or so. Sigh.

On the bright side we managed to get our health care renewed. Always problematic as we must wait for the US Embassy to send our stamped social security statements before we can pay the fee to renew. All done. And we chose a new doctor. Dottoressa Lorenza Medici. Good name!
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To catch up with a few things from the last week or two…

Lunch at Calagrana with a bunch of friends. Picture of little Pelegrino, a twin whose mother rejected him. He is being bottle fed and is cute as can be.

And today is February 1! We got past the long cold month of January. Look what I saw on my trip to the grocery store!

Here we go again!

More legal shenanigans! A brand new adventure.

As some of you know, I always document the legal ins and outs of living here. We are just beginning to embark on our new adventure. Since 2014 we have been applying for, and waiting interminably to receive, our annual Permessi di Soggiorno. It is a lot of work and time and also money and not something we enjoy or look forward to doing. Our Permessi expire on the anniversary of the day we arrived in Italy…June 26. So in around February every year we have to gather up all the documents and photos for a new one. We also have to visit the Poste Italiene to pick up the Yellow Packet for Stranieri which is the module we fill out and send in.

This year is different. This year we have been living here for more than 5 years. We are on our 6th Permesso and we were official residents for a total of five years on December 31, 2019. This means we are allowed to apply for Permesso di Soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo (ex carta di soggiorno) – elective residence. This is a PERMANENT permit to stay in Italy. And, as you imagine there are many more forms needed to apply for this as well. We have just begun the process today. I don’t know of what interest this will be to people reading this blog but if any of you are getting close to living here five years here is a list of what you need besides the normal renewal documents.

  • Police Report – Certification from the Clerk of the Court (Tribunale). There are two certifications for each of us. One is whether there is a record of a criminal conviction and the second is a certification there are no pending actions against us for criminal violations. CERTIFICATO GENERALE DEL CASELLARIO GUIDIZIALE and CERTIFICATO DEI CARICHI PENALI PENDENTI. You can download the form from this link. Casellario Giudiziale There is also a fee and you will want to enquire on that and whether you need to bring the ubiquitous Bolleto Valore in 16 Euro denominations. The document tax stamp.
  • Housing certification – We visited the office of our Geometra who did the work on our house for this one. We will need documents proving the property is habitable including electrical, plumbing, heating etc. If you rent your landlord, hopefully will help you obtain this.
  • Family Status Certification – This you get from the Anagrafe, the registry office for your area. That is a CERTIFICATO CONTESTUALE. More Bolleti Valori 16 Euros each plus issuing fee.
  • Italian Tax Payment – You must prove you’ve been paying Italian income tax on your income. We use an Italian tax accountant, Commercista, to do our taxes. We will ask her to write a memo certifying that taxes have been paid for the current and prior years. If you aren’t paying taxes in Italy, you won’t be able to get this Carta. Thankfully we are scrupulous about doing everything by the book here, including paying the onerous taxes.

The above are items to be added to all the normal documents that you include. You fill out and submit the same yellow packet except this time you check “Carta di Soggiorno”.

I will keep you updated as we move through this new process. We will be a test case for all our fellow American Expats living here in Umbria on the Elective Residence Visa. We know no one here who has gotten this permanent permit. It is the law and I know of people elsewhere who have gotten it but lest you forget, the bureaucrats make up the rules arbitrarily. A quote from the person who shared all the above information with me (thanks Larry)….”After six years, we suspect your experience with the bureaucracy is probably like everyone else’s. It is idiosyncratic to use a polite term. Local officials seem to take pleasure in interpreting the stated requirements to their own delight. Following the packet instructions carefully and having everything lined up will get you to your first appointment at the Questura. That’s when you find out what they may additionally want in the way of documentation.”

Just in case, we’ve retained the services of an Avvocato (lawyer). Carlo Rossi. We hope, should we need him he will accompany us to appointments and represent us if we need to contest the decision. We meet him tomorrow.

Drivers license…Patente di Guida…after two years, the saga is finished

If you haven’t been following our drivers license saga, I’ll give a quick synopsis.

More than two years ago we began the process to convert our valid German issued EU drivers licenses to Italian ones [We had gotten these when we lived in Germany 25 years ago. They don’t expire]. It is mandatory that you get an Italian License to live here. You can drive on a US license for only one year from your date of residency. Some people, erroneously, think a US issued international drivers permit will suffice. It will not. If you don’t get an Italian license you risk major fines, impoundment of your car and your insurance will be void if you’re in an accident. There is no reciprocity between the US states and Italy, so you have to take the tests, which are notoriously difficult.

So, to avoid this test, we enlisted the help of an Auto services firm in the next town, after first being turned down by ACI, the equivalent of the AAA here. The issue was that our names and places of birth differed slightly on our documents and they didn’t want to deal with it. This new agency, though, was very helpful and willing to work through every obstacle, and there were many. The lovely woman there, is named Sandra and we went back again and again, during the last two years, each time bringing new forms, trying to comply with the requests. We even had to go to Rome to get the Embassy to endorse our attestations.

Finally, last fall they asked for proof we had taken the driving test in Germany. We could not get this. I was loathe to give up but finally realized we’d hit a brick wall. I put it out of my mind and decided to drive on the VALID German one. I thought I could explain I’d tried to convert but it was not possible and since it is a EU license and still valid I figured I had a fighting chance with the cops. Luther, on the other hand, had decided to try to do the test. He was studying and was taking on-line sample tests.

Anyway, last Friday, completely out of the blue, we got a call from Sandra. She said…”your drivers licenses are ready to pick up!!” Luther made her repeat it two times to be sure he’d heard and understood correctly. Yes!! It was true!! I was speechless when he told me! I’m like “what!? But why? How?” Who knows. Someone could have been tired of having it on their desk. Or it could have been a new person doing the job and they found it and put it through. But I’m not asking! I’m just so happy! I am TICKLED PINK! Amazing and without a doubt the weirdest thing to happen to us here yet. Today we picked them up. I guess perseverance pays off! Time for a celebration tonight !🍾🥂🎊 (and we took Sandra flowers 🙂 )

And, by the way, I don’t have hair that short anymore. That tells you how long it’s been since we started!

 

Whoo hooo!

A Christmas present. I just checked the Polizia di Stato website and our Permessi are ready!!! We applied to renew them in early February. And here it is, only TEN months later and they are ready! The old ones expired in June. So I told Luther, when we go to collect them we’ll thank them and say “OK, see you next month!” Which is about right to start the process all over again. 🙄