Friday, September 10, 2004


When Art had his wallet stolen in Prague, we were amazed at how easy it was to replace his Carta D’Identita and codice fiscale. The fact that he had made a police report and had a copy of both the police report AND his Carta D'Identita with him helped enormously. The Carta was replaced here in San Venanzo, and for the codice fiscale card we went to Perugia and the new card was mailed to us several weeks later.

The other day, while driving home from the grocery, I suddenly realized that MY Carta D’Identita wasn’t in my wallet! You know the feeling…where did it go? How long has it been missing? Wouldn’t I have noticed if it fell out? Why hadn’t I missed it before now? And of course, what in the world made me realize it THIS time?

I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen it for sure. After Art got his new Carta, we had them laminated, which would have made it slightly bigger and slightly more heavy, but also more slippery. Could it have just slid out when I pulled out some bills without me noticing?

Since I had received my renewed passport back just the day before, we had been planning to go to Terni to renew our Permesso’s. Now I would have to replace my Carta first…damn! Since it had been lost, not stolen, I didn’t have a police report, and I wondered if this would present a problem, or if I would have to make a report...meaning I would have to deal with not one but two government agencies where no one spoke English!

Art and I had already stopped in Marsciano to get pictures taken for our new Permesso’s so I could just use those photos and have new ones taken before we went to Terni. On Friday morning we walked up to the Commune, photocopy in hand, to get my new Carta.

Amazingly, no one else was there! We explained to the clerk what had happened…Art was scared that we would be assaulted with twenty questions…where did you lose it? How long ago? Etc etc, but no…the clerk, who we knew from previous visits, just told us that we needed to go to the police station to make a report and then he could issue the replacement. I’m not sure if having a photocopy helped, but since I have a copier at home I try to scan everything and make copies of everything, just in case.

As we were leaving, the clerk asked me to leave my four photos and the photocopy. He asked me to sign the forms and said that while we were at the police station he would prepare the new Carta so that it would be ready for us when we returned. So much for Italian inefficiency!

We walked back to the police station, rang the bell, and were greeted by an officer. We told him what we needed, and he directed us into his office. Another officer came in and stood behind the first officer as he took our information and typed it into the computer. Again we braced ourselves for an onslaught of questions, but they never came.

The officer printed out the report, had me sign it, made me a copy, and told me that if my old Carta showed up, I should bring it to police station so that it could be destroyed. Since the Carta had my address listed inside, if anyone did find it, it wouldn’t be hard to return. Since it hasn’t shown up yet, I don’t expect it to.

It had taken us about ten minutes to complete the report, and with it in hand we walked back to the commune, gave the clerk the police report, and he handed me my new Carta! I gave him the €5.50 fee and that was that…I now had a new Carta, and had learned the hard way that lamination might not be the way to go!

Bureaucracy can be a problem in any country. When you don’t speak the language and are unfamiliar with the ways things work, then dealing with the bureaucracy can be a nightmare. However, when things work as quickly and smoothly as this, it does remind me that bureaucrats are still people. When we’re lucky enough to make that personal connection, it can make all the difference in the world!


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