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For all the ways that life in Italy seems different, there is one thing that is absolutely familiar – vehicle inspection.  That’s kind of surprising, given how many layers of administration there usually are to the simplest of tasks in this bureaucratic nation.  But getting the scooter inspected proved to be very simple.

The first step, of course, was to stop in at our mechanic Simone’s shop so he could give my bike the once-over for any glaring deficiencies.  He felt everything was okay, but encouraged us to tell the examiner that he was our mechanic if there were a problem – we presume that would have eased whatever might have followed.

In the event, it wasn’t necessary as the scoots passed with flying colors.

They check all the same things here that they check in the U.S.: lights (luci), brakes (freni), suspension (sospensioni), play in the steering mechanism and the chassis (prova gioca and prova deriva), emissions test (analisi gas di scarico) and finally a visual inspection (ispezione visiva) and in pretty much the same ways: there’s the spinning doodad for testing brakes:

and the pokey thing that goes in the tail pipe:

So all in all, it turned out to be not terribly interesting in terms of being ‘different’ – but it’s always fun to visit any Italian office and jaw with the people there.  Here is Speedy discussing this and that with the very cheerful and helpful Francesca:

And wait – there are a few differences.  In Arizona we simply drive up to one of the Testing Stations (after first looking online to see how long the wait might be – always short where we live).  Here we had to call about a week ahead to make an appointment.  To our great satisfaction we didn’t have to wait at all; they were expecting us.

The testing stations in Arizona are rather large; they have to be to accommodate some of the giant trucks that come through.  It’s a tight squeeze for a car to get into the entrance of the Rapallo site (top photo), two 90-degree turns are required.  No 4 X 4’s here, please (although presumably there are other testing stations for all the trucks we see on the roads).

Here’s another difference: cost.  In Arizona we pay $27.75.  Emissions testing there is tied to auto registration: both have to be done every two years.  Everything but the actual emissions test itself can be done online.  It cost us €65.50 (about $85 given the present exchange rate) for the revisione of my scooter, which is also good for two years.

But all in all, it’s one of the simplest of bureaucratic tasks that we undertake here, and the people at the testing center (Francesca and Paolo) are kind and efficient. Here’s a strange fact of automotive life in Italy: you have to be a legal resident here to own a vehicle of any sort.  As a resident of another country you can own a house, but you can’t own a vehicle.  Isn’t that odd?