A friend & bureaucratic shenanigans
We were still hosting our guest when we left him for the morning so that we could conclude our business with the comune. Javier and I nervously set out to the main Florence Comune with all the paperwork we imagined they could ask for, plus some. When we arrived we told the secretary we had an appointment, gave them my name and sat to wait. They took our application, and walked from office to office to see if anyone was aware of my appointment. Apparently they didn’t have it in their system. Great.
I quickly whipped out my cell phone and showed everyone I could my confirmation email. After some more side conversations we couldn’t understand they mercifully decided to honor the appointment.
We were fortunate to find an agent that spoke nearly perfect English. After listening to our story, I filled out a simple application and it appeared we were finally moving forward at least with my registration. The agent asked for our marriage certificate, and our translations for them. She then informed us we needed the documents translated and verified by another office, in another government building before Javier could be registered.
This was disappointing, however we were overjoyed to finally have some kind of forward movement. The agent reminded me that a police officer would come by to verify my residence in 14 days sometime in the morning. If for some reason I was not home for the visit, they would leave a note for me to reschedule a time.
We profusely thanked the agent for all her help, and left the office feeling amazing. Now all we had to do was figure out how to do the translations. We prepared ourselves for the potential of another maze of conflicting instructions, government offices, lengthy bus rides, and google translate conversations.
Our next task was to make an appointment online for the translation office. Seems easy enough right? Wrong. I didn’t see any available appointments on the calendar for months, and we needed to get this settled with in Javier’s 90 days. I thought there was a problem with the website, but it turns out this was just another broken system in Italy. There is only 1 office in Florence that provides this service for the entire population, with a whopping 6 appointments a day 3 days a week.
We imagined that we would have to physically go down there and beg for someone to help us out. I kept going back to the website to see if anything changed, but to no avail. We made a plan to go to the office the following Monday. Before I went to bed that Sunday evening I decided to check the website one last time. To my surprise an appointment had opened up for Tuesday morning. I booked it as fast as I could.
We managed to arrive at the translation office almost 30 minutes before it even opened and 45 minutes before our appointment. When it was finally our turn we produced our documents to see what would happen next. We thought that they would take them translate them, maybe get them back to us later in the day but no. The woman told us we needed to have the document translated before we came to the translation office. Thankfully we already had them translated, as required to get my citizenship in the first place.
She looked over the translation while we went to purchase an official payment stamp, and the woman finalized the paperwork. Another accomplishment! We scanned in the document, and sent them to the Comune thinking that now Javier too could be registered.
We returned home to celebrate with Bryan, and hit the streets of Florence. Although Florence isn’t famous for pizza, we have a soft spot in our hearts for Gusta Pizza. The spicy sausage with fresh mozz hits the spot like nothing else.
Most of Bryan’s trip seemed to blink by after that, we conquered most of the sites Bryan wanted to see in Rome, ran through the streets of Amsterdam, enjoyed some sun in Pisa and relaxed in some healing mineral waters.
The only damper on all of our travels was an email from the Firenze Comune. It turns out the translation that they asked me to get (and the office that we nearly couldn’t get an appointment for) would not be accepted to register our marriage. We were now told that we had to go to court with a lawyer and swear before a judge that our marriage documentation was true and correct. It almost seemed like a joke it was so mind-boggling. I forwarded the email to our lawyer who was just as shocked as were. He had never heard of such a process, and he said he would help us unravel everything once my residence registration was finalized.
Two days before Bryan headed back to Oakland, an adorably small police officer came by our house to confirm my residence. This FINALLY meant that I could soon obtain my carta d’indentita! Bryan helped us celebrate as much as possible during his last moments in Florence.
Bryan and I have been friends for nearly 20 years and we have always dreamt and talked about visiting amazing places together. I was overjoyed that we finally made this happen, even in spite of the bureaucratic non-sense we dealt with during his visit.