Saturday, October 18, 2003


October 18, 2003

Since we have gotten the receipt for our residency, we are now able to buy a car. We have told everyone we know what we are looking for: 2-3 yrs old, definitely a diesel, five doors, small enough for us every day, but large enough to accommodate 3 people in the back and their luggage.

One friend has sent us to a Fiat dealership near Assisi, saying that they are very honest. Even in Italy, an honest car dealer is hard to find. We look on the lot but don’t see anything that meets all our requirements. We go inside and look at the new cars, just to get an idea of the prices. Art has been admiring the Fiat Stilo, which is a fairly new model, so we don’t know how likely it would be to find a 2 or 3 year old used one. The prices for a new one are definitely more than we can afford.

Another friend highly recommends a Ford dealership. He opens the phone book so that we can see the address, and I know immediately where it is. The address says San Sisto. San Sisto is where the Perugina factory is located! At last, an excuse to stop by and see our friend Corinna! Our friend tells us that yes, the car place is just across the street from Perugina …..perfetto!

We decide to check out the Ford place on Saturday. We only have the rental car reserved for 2 more weeks, and although we can extend the rental at the same daily rate, it’s still expensive. I am told that Italy is one of the most expensive places to rent a car. Why, I don’t know. Maybe because they drive so crazy!

We get to the car lot and take a quick walk through the used cars. We see a couple that might work. We decide to go inside to check out the new car prices. We look at the five door Fiestas and Focus’s. The Fiesta is about the size of a Fiat Punto, and we think the trunk space is a little too small. The Focus looks like it might be just the right size.

By this time a salesman has arrived to help us, and we ask for a brochure for each model, so that we can compare the dimensions. The car must still be able to fit in our garage! The salesman understands completely. We are trying to walk a fine line…getting a car that is small enough to get around in tight spots, yet large enough to have some power. Small enough to be economical to operate, yet large enough for the extra passengers and luggage.

We ask a few more questions about each car, then Art asks if they have any used cars that meet our requirements, and the salesman says, “Venga!” which means “Come!” We walk outside and there sits a demo car, a Ford Fusion. It’s a wagon, but about the same size as the Focus hatchback. The station wagon is just more squared off in the back. This car has everything we want…four airbags, anti-lock brakes, a CD player, and it’s a diesel. This model is a 2003, so I guess it’s the end of the year clearance. It has less than 4000 km, and still has the new car warranty, just like it would in the States. We start to discuss the car, and before you know it, we are signing papers. We aren’t even sure what our options are for financing. The salesman says that it will be easier at our bank, since they already know us. Our biggest hurdle will probably be in insurance.

The salesman asks if we have residency, and we say yes. The car will be in Art’s name, so he fills out multiple forms with his name, the place and date of his birth, and our address in Italy. He asks for Art’s codice fiscale and passport, but we never even have to show the residency receipt. Maybe this will be required by the insurance company, but for right now, it seems as if all you have to do is say “yes”, and the car is yours. We put down a deposit and say goodbye. Never in my life have I bought a car so quickly. I guess ignorance really IS bliss.

And now the best part…we go across the street to visit Corinna! The factory is quite a hub of activity! There are television people there and many visitors, due to the Eurochocolate Festival that is starting today. Corinna tells us that they have made the world’s largest Baci. All the Baci in the world are made at this plant, and now this Baci will be in the Guinness Book of world records. And of course, it’s on display in Perugia. I ask Corinna if there are any new flavors, and unbelievably, there are! One is a chocolate covered Maraschino cherry, with a liqueur –yummm! Also new are Zuppa Inglese, Profiterole, and Tiramisu. And Corinna tells me that I don’t have to worry any more; now there are plenty of chocolate bananas. Thank goodness! As usual, she gives us some samples, and I buy a few chocolate bananas to hold me until I get to the festival. On the way home we see that traffic has come to a standstill as everyone tries to get into Perugia. We will go one day during the week…although there won’t be as many activities, it will be much less crowded, and there will be no shortage of chocolate goodies. What a successful day! A new car and chocolate too! And now, any time the car needs servicing, we can stop by Perugina! And some of you wonder why we like Italy so much!


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