It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Our heads are still spinning from yesterday. Having written the fateful letter to Teresa (still no reply from her and Silvia), we moved forward with the plan of trying our luck in the little town south of Cuneo where our friends Carla and Giorgio live. We got to know them a few weeks ago when they invited us for dinner after Church. Carla confessed that we were the first guest to whom she had ever served quinoa. We found that we are kindred spirits. Organic food, homeopathy, attachment parenting, etc. They also live in a tiny town (some 2500 people), and Giorgio’s father is good friends with the Sindaco (Mayor).

Tony sent Carla the Circolares that explain jure sanguinis, along with our Table of Contents. He included the photographs he’d had his mother send of Domenico, Louis, Josephine A, Josephine B, and himself. It made the whole thing seem a lot more real. We know our great-great-grandfather. We even have a photograph of him. These are real people, and they’re family. It’s not some genealogy we made up.

Carla had a preliminary meeting with the Sindaco the day before we went down. He said he would be happy to help their American friends get citizenship recognition. The man from the Anagrafe was somewhat less then ecstatic at the prospect of this frightening new procedure (he said it would take years and years) but his doubts were over-ruled by the collective enthusiasm of Carla and the Sindaco:

(Anagrafe man: “they’ll have to live in Chiusa Pezio.”
Carla: “They can live at our house.”
Anagrafe man: “They should do it in the Comune where their ancestor was born.”
Sindaco: “You must be joking.”)

We took a good look at our trusty Circolare and determined to remove the death certificates, since they weren’t expressly required. We also removed all the declarations stating that the ancestors had never renounced citizenship, and replaced it with a one-page document stating which consulates needed to be contacted and regarding whom, with specific dates. We wanted to make everything as simple as possible.

The man from the Anagrafe still turned pale when he saw what to him looked like a daunting pile of work. He repeated to Tony when he saw all the consulates he would need to contact, that it would take years and years. However, he did produce the necessary forms for us to fill out. Unfortunately, after reading our second Circolare, he decided that since it said anyone with a Permesso di Soggiorno, no matter what it was or for how long (meaning tourist Permesso works fine), we couldn’t be inscribed as residents. We don’t have a tourist Permesso, since that Permesso was abolished last year. It was a technical point, but he wouldn’t listen to reason. I’m not sure what he thinks. We’re obviously not here illegally. Tourism hasn’t been abolished. Just the requirement to get a formal Permesso.

We left the Anagrafe, and Carla phoned Giorgio so he could start phoning his contacts. Unfortunately, jure sanguinis is such a little-known procedure that not everyone has even heard of it. That doesn’t stop them from giving advice, though. He talked to someone at the Questura who said he didn’t think dual citizenship was possible. Luckily, Carla has dual French/American citizenship, so it didn’t take Giorgio long to settle that doubt. Then the Questura employee said that he thought jure sanguinis only went back four generations. The last word was that we should come back to Cuneo and go the Questura first thing the next morning to ask if jure sanguinis goes back more than four generations.

Just as Carla was on her way out the door for an afternoon of violin lessons, Giorgio phoned again, and said she and Tony should rush down to the post office to get a Permesso di Soggiorno kit. (it was 1:57 and the post office closes at 2:00) They made it in time, but apparently Permesso di Soggiorno is not much in demand in Chiusa Pezio, so they didn’t have any. Giorgio said we should get one at the post office in Cuneo, and that we were supposed to fill it out and mail it to Rome, and that would give us Permesso di Soggiorno.

Bewildered, we dutifully went into the post office in Cuneo on the way home and picked up two voluminous Permesso di Soggiorno applications. As far as we understand (from some help on the invaluable Expats in Italy board), we’re supposed to fill them out, and we don’t go the Questura at all until they call us.

Our next move is to contact my friend Alicia, who works at the Centro Migrante and has offered to help us get our Permesso (once we had the document from the Comune, which has turned out to be so elusive). I’m going to ask her if we can go without it and just get help with everything we’re supposed to do. Maybe she can give us some kind of form letter for the man at the Anagrafe to fill out and sign, so he can feel less overwhelmed.

Hopefully, this is all coming to an end soon.