by Melinda Gallo

An empty bank account

I received a call yesterday afternoon from my new bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena. The woman who was in charge of opening my account, Mariella, told me that everything was ready for me to sign whenever I wanted to come by the bank again. Because the bank was going to close in less than an hour and I didn't want to rush down there, I told her that I'd come by today and I did. I was in a hurry this morning, but I rushed downtown to sign my contratto (contract) before the bank closed for lunch.

Living in Florence :: An empty bank account

I walked into my new bank and didn't see the woman sitting at her desk. I walked over to a young man sitting behind the first sportello (bank teller's window) and said, "Volevo vedere Mariella. È qui?" (I wanted to see Mariella. Is she here?). The man walked over and said, "È vero. È malata oggi. Forse la mia collega può aiutarla." (That's true. She's sick today. Maybe my colleague can help you.) He pointed over to one of the other women who had talked to me the other day when I came.

She looked up at me and said, "Non so se posso aiutarla." (I don't know if I can help you.) "Ma devo solo firmare il contratto. Mi ha chiamata ieri per dirmi che tutto è pronto." (But I must sign the contract. She called me yesterday to tell me that everything was ready.) "Sì, signora, ma se non trovo il suo contratto, non posso aiutarla. In ogni casa, mi aspetti qualche minuto." (Yes, madame, but if I can't find your contract, I can't help you. At any rate, wait a few minutes.)

I stood in the large hallway admiring the 70's lighting they had hanging from the ceiling. I hadn't noticed it before. When I looked back toward the woman at her desk, I saw Lucia.

"Vieni. Ho il tuo contratto sulla mia scrivania." (Come. I have your contract on my desk.), she said. She explained that Mariella left it for her before she left in case I came in today. I was very happy because I didn't really want to come back another day.

I sat down in front of her and signed a bunch of photocopies. The woman explained all the numbers that I need and showed me how to fill out the modulo di versamento (deposit slip) and the richiesta bonifico (transfer request). It's always nice to arrive at the sportello with everything in order.

She told me that my Bancomat (ATM) card will arrive in ten days, so probably by the end of next week. "E il mio libretto degli assegni?" (And my checkbook?), I asked. "Se vuoi, possiamo ordinarlo, ma non c'è bisogno perché nessuno accetta gli assegni." (If you want, I can order it, but there's no need because no one accepts checks.) I agreed with her and told her that there was no need to order them. I just wanted them because they're just a normal part of opening an account.

I thanked her and told her that I'll be back to change my address as I'll be moving in a few weeks. "Sì vieni quando vuoi per communicarci il tuo nuovo indirizzo." (Yes, come when you want to give us your new address.) I'm cautious about giving my new address as our name is not written on the campanello (outside doorbell) yet.

I left the bank and walked toward the Duomo, I wanted to take a picture of the Battistero, the Campanile, and the Duomo as they all looked so overwhelmingly beautiful. I had to take a few pictures because most of them had close-ups of people walking in front of me as I held up my camera or riding past me as I snapped the shot. Notice that they took the scaffolding off the top of the Duomo and now we can see the gold cross at the top!

I'm happy about my new bank account, which is completely empty. I was surprised that the woman told me that I don't need to put any money in it to open the account. At any rate, I can't do take any money out because I have no Bancomat card and no libretto degli assegni. Now, all I have to do is deposit or transfer money into my account so I can set up the bonifico to automatically pay our monthly rent from now on.

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