by Melinda Gallo

My new carta d'identità

I received a letter from the comune (town hall) where I register my residenza (residency) back in September that stated that I needed to show them my new permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) as soon as I renewed it. So, this morning, I decided to make a quick trip to the comune, which is right around the corner from our apartment with my new permesso di soggiorno in hand.

I first went to the office on via del Leone because that's normally where the stranieri (foreigners) have to go to sign up for residenza. When I spoke with the young woman at the sportello (desk), she told me to go to the anagrafe (registry office) in the Palazzo Vecchio, which was just on the other side of the building.

After waiting in a long line to go through the metal detectors, I walked through the courtyard and into the anagrafe. I showed the woman my letter and she handed me a number. I only sat down for about one minute before my number was called. I think not many people were out because of the rain, but sometimes it's hit or miss with the anagrafe.

I walked to the office where the large numbers sit on top of the staff's desks. I sat down in front of the man at desk #1 and showed him my letter and my new permesso di soggiorno. He nodded at me and without saying anything typed in my name on his computer and I saw my scheda (record).

I asked him if I could also change my carta d'identità (ID card) because I changed addresses and the address on my permesso di soggiorno is incorrect. I wanted to tell them at the questura (police station); however, after waiting five hours, I couldn't think about spending one minute more of my time there.

"Non cambiamo la carta d'identità se cambi residenza. Devi aspettare la data di scadenza. (We don't change the ID card if you change residency. You have to wait until it expires.)," he said smiling shyly at me.

I was a bit disappointed because all my documenti (documents) have my first address in Florence and not my current one.

"Non posso cambiare la carta d'identità? Ho già le foto. (Can't I change my ID card? I already have the pictures.)" I said, hoping that he'd understand my desire to have at least one correct documento.

He took my carta d'identità and told me again that I'll just have to wait until it expires. "Ah...qui c'è un problema. C'è un'errore con la tua professione. (Ah...here's a problem. There's an error with your profession.)" he said. I had noticed the error before, but didn't think it was that important. Instead of writing libera professionista (self-employed), they wrote "2ibera professionista." I figured it wasn't that big of a mistake since it couldn't be anything else.

He took my photos and proceeded to fix the error and type up my new carta d'identità. He changed a few other things like my hair and eye color from castani scuri (dark brown) to just castani (brown). I was hoping that he'd put down that I was married for my stato civile (marital status) since it's already on my permesso di soggiorno, but he said that he can only change it if the comune has transcribed it.

I sat there while he printed it out and taped my photos onto the new carta d'identità. I asked him that when I obtain my Italian citizenship if they put both American and Italian, but he said, "Per noi saresti solo italiana. (For us you'd only be Italian.)" He handed it to me to check all the data and then asked me to sign it.

He waited while I got my things together to leave and as I stood up, he said, 'Buona permanenza! (Enjoy your stay!)" I thought it was a funny thing to say to me since normally I've heard it when people come to stay for a short period of time, but I smiled at him and thanked him. I guess I will enjoy my stay even though for now it is a much longer one.

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