Polizia Italiana Come to Visit Us
Now that I’ve applied for a permesso to stay in Italy during the citizenship process (it’s kind of like a green card), they wanted proof that we are actual residents before they grant it. So, they’ll send a police officer to our apartment to check on us — supposedly only once, but possibly more. Just to be sure.
When applying for dual citizenship “in country,” this proof of residency is an important part of the process. They want proof that we’re staying here, which required signing a lease and getting my name on that doorbell.
It’s very important to be home when the police drop by. But you don’t know when it will be. “Sometime within 45 days.” Really? That’s worse than leaving a whole day open for the Comcast guy. I mean, I can’t leave my home Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm for… weeks? This was my house arrest. In a barely furnished, not super livable apartment, I might add.
Thank god for Netflix.
At Last. The Doorbell Rings!
Our building has a buzzer on it that could wake the dead. You can literally be staring at the phone to ring someone in, knowing it’s about to buzz, and it buzzes, and it will scare the living shit out of you.
But on this day, when the terrible buzzer buzzed, it was the police coming for a visit. Half fear (um, Italian police in my house?… flashbacks to college), half rejoicing for my house arrest to finally be over. It was only ten days before he arrived, but still.
We had been told to make sure our place “looked like we lived in it.” Huh?
We’ve been traveling and living out of suitcases for a year, and hadn’t had time or desire to acquire much since arriving in Rovigo. Except a sponge and a clothes drying rack. Ah yes, make sure to put those out where the police can see those. That will certainly prove that our residency is not just some non-consulate-citizenship-seeking sham residency.
Sponge with tiny food fragments on edge of sink: check.
Drying rack with damp droopy socks: check.
I was ready.
My Italian mother told me to have a plate of biscotti (cookies) out for him, and to offer him coffee, but frankly I was too scared. Not to mention, I hadn’t mastered the Moka pot found in all Italian homes.
The policeman entered our apartment.
He was very polite and spoke almost no English. He asked a couple of questions which I pretty much didn’t understand, but mostly just had us sign some papers.
The policeman never once looked at our sponge or drying rack.
Then, with a cheerful “arrivederci,” he left.
Two days later, we saw him in civilian clothes walking along the Popolo (the main street downtown) in the late afternoon. I don’t know if he recognized us, but if so, our taking a passeggiata (evening stroll) along the Popolo was about as much proof as one could ever offer that we were, indeed, residents of Rovigo.
He has not returned to re-check on us. Yet.