by Melinda Gallo

First trip to the Questura

This morning we got up early to go to the Questura (police station) to give them our visas and other documents to receive our permessi di soggiorno (permits to stay). Our first stop was to the Italian insurance company to pay our annual fee for medical coverage.

We got to the office before it opened and a man came out to ask us what we needed. I explained that we wanted to pay for medical insurance for a year. He gave me a photocopy of how we're supposed to fill out the form at the Post office. He crossed out the amount on the photocopy and told me to go and ask them at the Questura how much the annual fee is.

Dave and I got inside the Questura after about 100 other people had already arrived. I pushed my way up to the front politely, telling each person that I had just one question to ask the police officer at the counter. They waved me on. I finally made it to the front and I asked the woman. "Cosa?" (What?) she said to me. I explained again that the guy at the insurance company told me that the rate changed and that I was supposed to find out the new fee at the Questura. "Ma stai scherzando." (You're kidding me). She called one of her colleagues over and repeated everything I said to her. She said that no one there knows how much the rate is and that I should go to the Post Office.

I left Dave in line and went to the Post Office by myself. I asked the woman at the counter and she told me, "Non possiamo sapere la tariffa." (We can't know the fee." So, I decided to just pay the amount that was on the photocopy that the man crossed out, which was 77 Euros.

Afterwards, I had to go to a small shop near the Questura where everyone seems to go to take passport photos and get photocopies. I made photocopies of every document I had.

When I got back to the Questura, Dave was almost at the front of the line. When we got to the front, I said, "Buongiorno." For every document, she requested, I handed it to her. "Photocopie del verso del visa?" (Photocopy of the back of the visa?) Oops. She took our visas and photocopied the backs of them and sat back down. "La photocopie del verso delle vostre carte di credito?" (Photocopy of the back of your credit cards?) Again, I didn't think of this. This time she handed everything back to me and told me to get the photocopies and come back to see her. "Dobbiamo fare la coda ancora una volta?" (Do we have to wait in line again?) "No, basta tornare qui." (No, just come back here.)

I did as she said and left Dave inside again while I went to get the missing photocopies. She handed us each a small receipt and told us, "Tornate fra 40 giorni." (Come back in 40 days.) With that, we left and now there was hardly anyone left inside and no one else was in line. It felt like we had been there hours waiting and running around, but when I looked at my watch it was only 11AM. I'm just happy we had all the documents because if not we'd have to be back the next day to start all over again, which is what a lot of people have to do since not much is clearly written anywhere.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!