Friday, February 26, 2010

Permesso Application Done, Weather, and other Tidbits

We promised Vince a romp on the beach.  We were completely alone.
It's been a little over a week since we landed in Rome. I expected this post to be about the permesso di soggiorno process (Permit to Stay, an Italian version of a Green Card) because I knew it was due 8 days after entering Italy on our Visa--and I promised other Americans interested in this process a report.  I had also planned on photographing that process, but we ended up on the beach, so those are the pics for the week. 

If you are planning to move to Italy, in addition to a Visa, you will need to understand the process for obtaining other documents once you arrive.  This is the best link I have found for a general explanation of the process from the Expats in Italy website. The rest of this story will be impressions of the actual implementation by us. You will see some beach pictures interspersed here, but that's so you will remember why it's all worth it and to spare you the pictures of lines in the post office, etc.

Things didn't start out very well, as usual for us.  We followed directions on the state polizia website for a place to help us fill out the forms.  It was hard to find, we got sent all around town (Scalea) by various people and then found the right office--maybe.  A very nice lady looked at our documents (applications that you get from the post office, proof of housing, our codice fiscale--similar to social security number, bank statement showing financial ability to not work in Italy, proof of health insurance, and a copy of every page of our passports).  She said she'd call us back the next day but we didn't get the idea that she would be much help because the first thing she asked me is if I was a resident of our Commune (town). Anyone who knows the process knows that you can't get residency until you get the permesso.  She also said she was going to ask a colleague of hers.  It just didn't feel right.  We decided to go it on our own at the post office.  Time for another beach picture:
Vince looks like he knows what he's doing, but like the lady at the community service office, he really didn't know how to find a stick in surf.
I spent all of the following day (Wednesday) painstakingly filling out the application forms.  We found out you buy the marco bollo (14,62 Euro stamp that goes on each application) at the Tabbachi.  Doug took care of that.  Then we went to get copies of our supporting documents.  The next day was the day we heard so much about from other expats--struggling at the post office handing in the application.  We had learned from the day we got the forms that one window in the post office was for this service.  We heard that there was no order or lines in Italy, that people just stand around and push their way to get attention.  There was none of that here.  We took our number, the number appeared electronically above the clerk and you have about 2 seconds to respond before they go to the next person.  Very orderly.  Not that crowded, we came early.  There were chairs for waiting for your number.  We also heard that government workers were rude and controlling, but as I sat in my chair I noticed that the man who would probably end up with us was joking with people, smiling now and then and making many comments to his colleague at his side. (Italians here use the word colleague a lot which I like because I understand it. It sounds more like "co-LEG-ee" but I get it).  My number came up and the first thing I said was that my Italian was bad and showed him my application package.  All went smoothly.  I made one mistake at the top of the form where I was supposed to put in "Cosenza" for the province and I had put in my name.  There was a stir in the seating area when I waved Doug up to proceed with his application.  I think it was because of the two on one number thing...but I  also think "our guy" thought it made sense to do it together.  Some comment was made about us not being Italian...but I can't be certain...
Time for another beach picture:
Close up of the black sand and typical beach marble.  You can have black sand, pebbles, or regular sand all in our area.  
The town of Diamante has the "white" sand--we have found so far.
Anyway, much to the relief of the folks in the chairs, we left after paying about 60 more Euro to mail our applications to the provincial authorities.  We got a date to be fingerprinted there (Cosenza), and a user name and password to use the Internet to follow the progress of our permesso. We have heard it will take about two months to complete after the visit to Cosenza.
Friday came (today) and we found that we only had two chores to do and that our colds were beginning to lessen in intensity.  WE were feeling better, our applications were in, the weather was clearing up (there were some super thunderstorms, unplug your computer kinda storms).  We went to the middle school to sign up for daily 2 hour free Italian lessons.  I signed up for a Gym (they call it a "GYM"--290 Euro for A YEAR of unlimited use).  It's very nice.  The owner's name is Angelo and he was very patient and spoke slowly to me so I understood what I was signing.  We also looked at tubs and showers for the guest apartment as a shop was across from the Gym.  Next, you have caught up with us as we took the dog to the beach today:
After lunch we came back to Santa Domenica and took some weather and sunset pictures so you can get an idea of what the worst month (according to locals) in Calabria looks like--17C (63F):

Doug noticed at the store that lots of people were buying water.  The mayor told people to stop drinking tap water until he gives the OK.  Hmmm.  Must be related to the storms or something.  My observant husband.  I would never have noticed an excess of water buying.  So next week it's Italian lessons...


  1. Congrats on getting your form etc
    I spent ages on the English website, worked out which post offices I could reasonable get to... got off tram into BEDLAM. There were numbers & queues, and random wandering people. On the web it had said there was a specific desk NO and forms could be also picked up easily NO. Gave up in horror and haven't been back.

    Maybe see you on the beach tomorrow :D

  2. It is lovely to see how you have got on so far and good to meet Vince too (he is lovely). We have sat in a few post office queues in Italy and wondered how they know who is next, although on several occasions we have been told to go next, when we are sure it wasn't our turn. We are sure after we have gone on our way they say the usual of "who are they" and "they knew a bit of Italian", but we still see it as a kind gesture. In fact we met our now close Italian friend in a post office on our first holiday in Southern Italy in 2005, and he made our holiday there really special. Perhaps now that you are doing Italian lessons you may feel brave enough to do a dual language post on the blog soon? It is not until you start learning Italian that you realise how many English words derive from latin. Look forward to your next blog. Best Wishes from John & Toni

  3. Sue, John, Toni and Lindy Lou,
    Thanks for the support. John and Toni, I have seen those dual language posts--I don't know when I'd feel brave enough for that. I know I have keyboard issues--the few messages I've sent without the proper accents probably had worse defects, but I'm not sure how to solve that with a laptop. Di

  4. Hi Di and "Guido", it is quite easy once you know how. Just do a google search for Italian accents typing, and the first option that comes up should be entitled Italian accent codes. We have found the Windows Alt codes section the easiest to use. If you click on that you will get all the options of what numbers to type in while holding down the "alt" key to get the letters that have accents over them, both in lower case and capitals. We originally considered buying an Italian keyboard, but this way is much cheaper and you don't have two keyboards to mess around with. We find that it takes twice as long to type anything though because we are now always doubting which words have the accented letters and which don't. Good luck with your next message. John & Toni

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  6. Ciao again,
    It's good to hear of your success with the permesso: like you, I've only heard horror stories, but that was in larger cities. You are doing quite well in finding you way around with little knowledge of the language and culture.

    As for the accents, (when you're ready for that) there is a simpler way: using the international keyboard option on your pc. You can download it for free if you don't have it already, and then learn the shortcuts. On laptops it's easier than using the Alt+ code thingy. No need to get an Italian keyboard!

    It's great to read about you guys living your dream in Italy. Bravo for having the courage to take the plunge!

    Divertatevi! (enjoy yourselves)
    a presto,



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