Changing my residency

After our early morning run and a very hot shower, I felt energized and ready to face the world. I was so full of energy that I decided to go to the anagrafe (registry office) to change my residenza (residency) to Alessandro's place. I have been putting it off since we got back from the US, but I know that once the Italian Consulate sends my certificato di matrimonio (wedding certificate) to be registered at the Comune (town hall), I will then have to go to the Questura (police station) to get my carta di soggiorno (stay card). It all sounds complicated, but it is quite simple once you know where to go and what to do.

Living in Florence :: Changing my residency

I walked into the ufficio dei servizi demografici (demographic services office) in via dei Leoni and waited my turn behind a small crowd of people around the reception desk. The sala d'attesa (waiting room) was already full of people and the air was heavy. The girl at the counter raised her eyebrows and looked at me to signal that I could ask her my question. I explained that I needed to change my residency to my husband's place. "Lui italiano? (Is he Italian?)" she asked me as she grabbed for something under the counter.

After I said yes, she handed me a modulo (form) and said that I needed to fill it out, have Alessandro sign it, and bring along a photocopy of his ID. "Puoi anche tornare verso mezzo giorno e mezzo se vuoi. (You can even come back at 12.30 p.m. if you want.)," she said. I looked up at the clock above her head and I saw that I had about three hours before I needed to be back with everything in order.

I walked out of the ufficio and headed toward Piazza Repubblica. I called Alessandro on my cellulare (cell phone) and told him that we had to meet up so he could sign the modulo. He wanted me to just go back tomorrow, but I wanted to get it over with since I already had a number.

Because he couldn't meet me right away, I decided to walk to Giacosa for a brioche con crema e cioccolato (cream-filled croissant with chocolate chips) and a cappuccino.

I was lucky enough to find an empty table so that I could sit down on the couch in front of the window and sip my cappuccino while I enjoyed each bite of my brioche. I watched people come in for their morning coffee. Only a few of them selected a brioche or pasta (pastry) to eat and almost no one sat down.

I strolled under the portici in Piazza Repubblica to the Edison bookstore. I could literally spend hours and hours in there, but my goal was to buy a book for a girlfriend, "Le donne che corrono coi lupi (Women who Run with the Wolves)." After I picked up a copy in the basement, I walked up to the second floor to peruse the English-language section. I exited the bookstore with a lighter wallet and a bag full of books.

It was still too early to meet up with Alessandro, so I walked back to the Palazzo Vecchio and entered the building to go to the Ufficio Matrimoni (Weddings office) to see if, by chance, the Italian Consulate in the US had sent them our certificato di matrimonio. The woman tapped Alessandro's name into the computer, but nothing came up. She told me that I'd have to wait at least a few weeks after they receive it, and told me to return at the end of January.

I walked around the corner to the ufficio dei servizi demografici to see what number was being called, F022. Twenty-six more people were ahead of me, so I knew that I still had time. When I picked up my number, the number F009 was being served.

I met up with Alessandro in the piazza underneath our apartment and he filled out and duly signed the modulo. I already had a photocopy of his passport so I had everything in order for the ufficio dei servizi demografici.

I went back up to our apartment and selected one of the new books I just bought so that I could read it while waiting in the sala d'attesa.

I meandered back to the ufficio dei servizi demografici and looked up at the board: F029. I would've gone inside, but there wasn't a single available seat that I could see through the large glass windows.

It was a sunny day, albeit a bit chilly, so I walked around the corner to the front of the Palazzo Vecchio. I noticed earlier when I walked by that workmen were setting up Florence's coat of arms, a giglio (lily), in beautifully colored flowers and perky, green plants.

I stood in front of the Palazzo Vecchio where school children were getting their picture taken with the giglio behind them. The giggly children were probably about four or five years old and their smiles were infectious. I happily waited my turn to take a picture of the giglio without anyone in the way.

I walked back to the ufficio dei servizi demografici and the number was F032. I saw a few empty seats, so I walked inside and sat down.

I read at least two short stories in my new book before my number was called. I ran to the desk where the woman was finishing up with two other people. I waited for one of the guys to leave before sitting down and explain that I was changing my residenza to my husband's place even though our matrimonio hasn't yet been registered. "Deve venire lui. (He must come here.)," she said and handed me back the modulo. "Cosa? Ho spiegato tutto alla ragazza alla reception e mi ha detto che bastava la fotocopia del passaporto del mio marito. (What? I explained everything to the girl at the reception and she said that all I needed was my husband's passport.) "Ma lui viene a vivere con Lei o Lei va a vivere con lui? (But is he coming to live with you or are you going to live with him?), she asked. For the second time, I explained that I was going to live with him. "OK, ho capito male. (OK, I understood incorrectly.)" she said and took back my modulo.

She asked me for my permesso di soggiorno and saw that it had scaduto (expired). I explained that I was within the 60 days of the expiration date and that I went to the Questura where they told me that I shouldn't renew my old permesso di soggiorno because I need to file for a new one once I get my certificato di matrimonio registered in Florence. I told her that I even had a letter stating that I have filed for Italian citizenship, but the Questura told me to not get a new permesso di soggiorno for that reason either.

She had to ask her collega (colleague) if she could change my residenza, and after hearing everything, she said it was not a problem. The woman wrote down our wedding date, but kept insisting that we were only conviventi (living together). She asked me to sign a print-out and then handed me the receipt, which she stamped and signed.

By the time I walked out of the ufficio dei servizi demografici, it was 1.30 p.m. I was wondering why I felt a little nervosa (worked up): I'd been up for eight hours already and it was already lunch time. But, the good news is that I'm one step closer to getting my carta di soggiorno.

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