by Melinda Gallo

Night and day

When I left the house this morning, I noticed something very different: the city was bursting at the seams. I couldn't help but notice that a lot of people had returned from their holidays this weekend. From last week to this week, it seems as if the city suddenly woke up. Shops in via dei Neri that were closed were now open, there were more people in the streets speaking Italian, and cars and motorini (scooters) were all around me while I was riding my bike through the city.

My day started out by going to Le Poste (the post office) this morning to find out information about my permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay). I am obsessed about all the possible solutions: I can either renew it, convert it, or get a new one entirely. I'm not too keen on getting a new one entirely, but it is an option that's available to me.

I talked to the woman at Le Poste about converting it, but the decreto flussi (quota agreement) hasn't still been announced, so there's nothing I can do yet. She did tell me that it should come out at the end of September or beginning of October, which would be perfect since my permesso di soggiorno expires at the end of October.

I thought I would ask her about another type of permesso di soggiorno for attesa della cittadinanza italiana (waiting for Italian citizenship). When I talked to her about my cittadinanza italiana that I was working on filing, she told me that it should only take a few months and that I shouldn't go to the Prefettura (Prefecture), but the Comune (Town Hall).

She explained to me that even if my father was American, I'd have to go through the Comune. I told her that I talked to someone at the Prefettura and he gave me all the information over the phone. I even printed out the information from the website to show her, but she said I was wrong. I didn't argue, but instead decided to go to the Comune to find out.

I rode my bicicletta (bicycle) to the Comune, but the people in the cittadinanza office were in a meeting and weren't seeing anyone. The girl told me to come back in a half an hour, so I did. In that time, I went home and picked up all the documentation I had regarding my nonno (grandfather) and babbo (father) to show her.

I walked back to the Comune and waited in the sala d'attesa (waiting room) for a few minutes. When the receptionist told me that I could go into the office, I saw the same woman I talked to a little over a year ago. I was grateful that she didn't recognize me since we went through all this the last time. I explained my situation to her, and she said that I had to go through the Prefettura because my babbo was American. Supposedly it's a different procedure, but it will allow me to have the cittadinanza Italiana. She told me that if she hasn't already retired by the time I get it, we'll see each other again.

By the time I left the office, it was too late for me to go to the questura (police station) to get my impronte digitali (fingerprints), so I went home. I had my morning all planned out, but when the woman at Le Poste told me that I needed to go through the Comune, I decided not to get my impronte digitali done right away.

On my way back home, I tried to go to the Tribunale (court house), which is right across the street from the Palazzo Vecchio where the Comune is, to get the certificato generale del casellario giudiziale (general certificate of court records), but I arrived too late. They are only open to the public in the morning.

By the time I went home for lunch, I was exhausted. Going from one office to another, riding my bike through the crowded streets, and having to explain my situation over and over again. At this point, I don't know what will happen with my permesso di soggiorno, but I'm sure it'll all work out. Things always seem to work out, but in the meantime, it can be quite stressful. And now that it seems that almost everyone is back in Florence, it's even more so. I hadn't realized just how quiet the city was until today.

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