by Melinda Gallo

Top of the morning at the comune

At 9AM there are a million things I'd rather be doing. But, instead I was walking in the rain through the empty streets of Florence (with only a handful of tourists walking about) to the comune for my appointment with my lawyer. I got there late, but 15 seconds after she arrived. She went through the metal detector and then I went through right after her.

We were the first ones to arrive at the office and it was already 9:30AM. We figured it'd be good to get there early so that we wouldn't have to wait too long. Although the earlier it was, the less awake I was.

We sat down at the woman's desk without waiting. I pulled out all of my documents to show the woman. We talked to her about the discrepancy in my father's first name and for once she finally took a good look at the documents and noticed that everything else was consistent, like my father's parents' names and the dates.

She called another woman, probably her boss, to ask a few questions about my case. She told me to get a letter from the Italian consulate in the US stating that to them my father is the same person after having looked at all the documents. The comune also said that I need to get my translations redone and legalized by the consulate. And, I need a document stating that my father and I have never renounced Italian citizenship.

They also told me that I'll need to send the comune where my grandfather was born all the information regarding his American naturalization in the 1940's and also his death. They said that I should also bring them up to date on other information, like my father's birth and death as well.

I felt better about our visit as they gave me a lot of hope about getting my Italian citizenship. The woman asked me how long my permesso di soggiorno was for and I said a year. She was happy that I didn't say 3 months, which is what a lot of people who come to Florence think they need to get their Italian citizenship. She said, "Ci vuole un mese per avere il permesso, un mese per la residenza e poi ci vuole qualche mese per ottenere la cittadinanza." (You need one month to get a permit to stay, another month to get residency and then a few months to obtain citizenship) She said that it seems like everyone comes to Florence to get their Italian citizenship.

They asked me to contact the Italian consulate in the US to see where my case was and to see if they can get me the documents I need.

I got home and wrote an email to the woman at the Italian consulate in the US and I'm still awaiting a response. I hope for the best. I'm very happy to have the lawyer come with me during these interviews. I don't believe it's necessary, but it's nice to have someone on my side who is so supportive and pro-active.

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