This is a two-part post.  The first was written before April 21st, the second part afterwards…

Some stories just grind on, and on, and on…  the end just may be in sight, though, for the Tale of the Elusive Permessi.

Our former Permessi di Soggiorno, the very important documents that give us permission to be in the country, expired last July.  With the invaluable help of the Patronato office in Rapallo we each applied (in May!) for a Carta di Soggiorno, which will give us a permission of longer duration.  (The accounts of this adventure up to now can be found here.)  Unfortunately the process was not completed before we left the country in November.

The Captain was able to navigate the Questura’s website when we got back, and found, to our delight, that our Permessi are now ready for us. Yippee!!  But of course one cannot simply show up at the Questura and ask for them; one must make an appointment.  And there’s only one way to do that.  One must go to the Questura.  In Genova.  On a Tuesday or Thursday between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.  Well, okay… seems a little Baroque, but we’re game.

So we hopped on the local train (I love any train ride, so I was thrilled), rode 40 minutes to Genova, trotted tpermesso-appointmento the gate at the Questura, thrust our passports under the glass and were issued with two little slips of paper with the day (April 21), the time (10:00 a.m.) and the numbers of our appointments.  Then we jogged back to the train station and just caught a train which, 40 minutes later, dropped us in Rapallo.

Next Tuesday, April 21, we will repeat the exercise, although we know full well that we will sit in the waiting room for an indeterminate amount of time until our names are called.  At least this time we have been given appointments on the same day.  We had to go on successive days last time.  With luck we will be given shiny new Carte di Soggiorno that will last us five years.  By which time we will have forgotten what a long process this has been.

I’m not really complaining about Italian bureaucracy (yes I am); it’s their country, and they are very nice to allow us to be here at all, and we are happy (well, willing anyway – what choice do we have?) to comply with any and all requirements to stay here.  But doesn’t it seem odd that one cannot make an appointment by phone, fax or e-mail?  They’ve seen the passports before and taken fingerprints and, and, and…  In fact, why not just mail us the Permessi?  Oh gosh, there I go again, being all American and efficient.  Where’s the fun in that?

———– TIME PASSES————-

Okay… it’s disclaimer time…

We went to the Questura at the appointed time, and after only a little confusion were sent down to the Immigration waiting room.  Here is the rest of the 10 o’clock gang:

questura-waiting-roomIt’s a stuffy room at the best of times, so we prefer to wait outside where we can also keep an eye on the room to which we will eventually be summoned.  That’s it on the right behind all the glass:


Now here’s the amazing thing.  Our appointments were for 10 a.m., and we were actually called in at 10:30.  We have never, ever, had such a short wait at the Questura.  Not only that, once one is called in there is frequently another long wait inside.  Not this time.  There were two people in front of us, each of whom took less than five minutes.  The Captain walked up to the glass partition when his number was called, pushed his passport and old permesso through, and back came a paper for a signature, followed rapidly by an envelope containing his permesso card and a bunch of secret codes for things we don’t understand (yet).  Then it was my turn, and everything was just as expeditious.

We walked out of the Questura at 10:45, both proud holders of Permessi di Soggiorno that are good until 2013 – that’s four years!  It makes us feel almost indolent to have that much time before we must repeat the process.  Now the trick will be to remember to apply for the new permessi in late 2012…