by Melinda Gallo

A document to prove it

There’s nothing like having a document to prove my Italian citizenship. Even though I was granted Italian citizenship back in March and was only notified in June, it hadn’t really sunk in. When I took my giuramento (oath) to become an official Italian citizen yesterday, I felt I had become an Italian citizen, but I kept thinking that something was missing. I couldn’t wait to get my carta d’identità (identity card) today because it would be the only document that would state I’m Italian. I wanted something tangible.

Yesterday, when I left Palazzo Vecchio with my suocera (mother-in-law), I got photos taken for my new carta d’identità. I wore my favorite necklace that has a giglio (fleur de lys, Florence’s coat of arms) in a heart in the hopes that it would appear in my photos, but unfortunately all I see is the chain.

This morning I walked over to Palazzo Vecchio again to the anagrafe (office of vital statistics), which is just below the office where I took my giuramento. I took a number and before I could sat down, a woman asked me what I came to do. She went through the list of items that I needed, and I realized that I only had two photos instead of three. I rushed home to get the third one and got back in time for my number to be called.

I wanted to also change my address at the same time, but the woman told me that it would take two months to process the change before I could get my carta d’identità. Because I really wanted to get my new carta d’identità today, I I decided to leave my old address.

I initially was a little disappointed that I didn’t take my giuramento on the 22nd because I thought the day number would be auspicious. I love numbers, and especially double numbers. So, I was fairly adamant in wanting to get my carta d’identità today, on September 22. What pleased me was that my new carta d’identità is valid for ten years and therefore expires on 21-09-2021.

Once I got my new carta d’identità, I couldn’t wait to show my friends. I ran to my friend Rossella’s shop to show her. I saw her yesterday as well after the giuramento to celebrate. She handed me a gift, which was a purple leather coin purse that she said I can use to hold my fiorino (florin). I immediately put my silver fiorino in it, and am now thinking of buying a gold one.

I have been so grateful for all my friends’ good wishes. However, one that really touched me was this one: “Dall'Italia c'è la fuga di cervelli...però arrivano i cuori!” (There is a brain drain from Italy...but hearts are arriving!).

I am still adjusting to what it means for me to be Italian. I see this new citizenship as a delightful addition to who I am. I feel at home in Florence and now maybe now I’ll feel at home in Italy as well.

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