Re-acquisition of Italian citizenship - Part 4: Moving to Rome

Rome+apartment+buildingFinding an apartment in Rome was not easy.  I was aware that most vacancies are NOT posted online, rather they are found by either word of mouth or walking along looking for notice signs.  Furthermore, since I was not planning to have a vehicle, I did not want a place in the suburbs.  That limited the options available.  And, did not want to rough it too much either, simply too old for that....  :-)

What can be easily found online are lots and lots of apartments that specifically target tourists and hence are very expensive, even those that are supposed to be "budget".    The websites that list apartments for rent in Rome are mostly in English and usually come at the top of any Google search (which on its own tells you they are designed by professionals as business endeavours).   I searched Italian sites written in Italian, and only spent time on those that seemed to be oriented mostly to Italians.  Although I bumped onto many duds, I did find a few good opportunities, but felt uneasy in sending any deposit without first checking the apartment out myself (which clearly was not possible).

The search which extended over 4 months was an incredible source of frustration that further added to my uncertainties of whether my quest was worthwhile (see previous blog).  However, I finally found an apartment in Rome, within the Trastevere neighbourhood, in a great location to experience and "live Rome." Although it was a bit on the expensive side, it seemed reasonable.  Rome Renting, the Agency that manages many apartments in historic Rome, does indeed cater to tourists (their website has an English version), but among their customers there are also many Italians that either pass through Rome or work in the city.   Now, with an address in Rome finalized, I was able to get my elective one year VISA to stay in Italy (that is more than the maximum of three months that a tourist can stay).  I was not sure how long the re-acquisition of my citizenship was going to take.

So, here I am, in this huge municipal building (see post: Re-acquisition of Italian citizenship - Part 1),
waiting for my turn to register myself as a resident in Rome at a specific address.  This is a very first important step, then it is a matter of waiting for the Municipal police ("i vigili") to come by and verify that it was indeed true.  I had to re-register myself in Rome since I was born in this city and and all my old documents and various records reside in Government files here.  I also knew that going through the process in Rome could mean huge time delays (this is not a small town!)

Well, following the advice of a security officer that thought he was very important (and acted as such!), I picked up my number and waited.  After almost two hrs, it was finally my turn.  I then discovered that, due to my situation (I was moving to Rome from oversea and was not an Italian citizen), I was in the wrong office (note: the above mentioned officer knew my situation).  I was redirected to the Citizenship office which is located in a small office on the second floor where, with no wait, I met the second individual that made a difference in my quest, la signora Antonietta.

IMG_0027As mentioned in a previous post, I strongly believe that the social system(including bureaucracy), at all levels of organization, only works thanks to the few people that care about their job and, as importantly, care about people.  One just has to be lucky to meet them.  La signora Antonietta checked my status on the City of Rome computer system (where I still existed, amazing considering I left Rome 37 years earlier), informed me that not all the documents required had been forwarded by the Consulate in Vancouver, asked me to connect with it and see whether they could address the issue.  In the meantime, she sent me to another office, this one on the 3rd floor, where they handle cases like mine.   It is here where I met signora Flaminia which filled up the right change of residence forms and forwarded it to the Municipal police.

So, during my first day in Rome, over a three hrs period, I had my full exposure to the Municipal bureaucracy of a very old and busy metropolis.  I prepared and promised myself to be patient.  May be that is why it felt it was not as bad as I feared.  Also, with the exception of the use of computers, it felt things had not changed very much since I left.  All I had to do now is wait.  That was September 26, 2011.

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