2. ITALY - BEYOND THE ILLUSION
Italy has never ceased to captivate people from northern countries,
especially speakers of English. They begin to see their former
homes as sunless and dull, their former lives as restricted and
puritanical. They see themselves changing in expected ways,
becoming perhaps more alive, even hedonistic or, in other
instances, more scholarly or more deeply religious. For a few the
changes are intimidating, but often the newcomer begins to see
Italy as a new kind of home and looks for ways to stay longer or
Bureaucratic restrictions aside, Italy is easier for expats than
countries. Although Italians have much to be proud of, they are
not snobs. They are gracious and forgiving of foreigners's errors
and eccentricities. One of their outstanding virtues is that they
understand what it means to be human. The language is not
difficult, and besides, Italians speak with gestures and facial
expressions more than with words. While other peoples learn to
hide emotions, Italians express them openly. Orson Wells once
noted that Italy is full of actors and they are almost all good.
Writing in The Italians, Luigi Barzini observes that Italians are
always putting on a show, that they regard life itself as a work of
art. Flattery is commonplace: the tailor admires your figure; the
dentist, your teeth. Polite lies are just as common. The cobbler
you that your shoes will be ready on Thursday because he wants
you to go away content.
Barzini explains that no Italian wants to be thought of as average;
everyone wants to be exceptional or at least to show that he has
connections. He suggests that half the people at a theatrical
production did not pay for tickets and the other half paid a reduced
price. Those admitted free are called Portoghesi, not because
people of Portugal are given to such tactics but because hundred of
years ago a performance in Rome in honor of a Portuguese mission
was attended by Romans who got in by saying they were
Wealth and power eluded Italians for centuries, both as individuals
and as a nation, so they created the next best thing: illusion. "To
put up a show," Barzini concludes is to "face life's injustices with
one of the few weapons available to a desperate and brave people,
Foreigners who go to Italy to negotiate deals, might do well to
remember that a widely read book on how to play the popular card
game, scopa, begins: "Rule Number One: Always try to see your
Good times have never lasted long in Italy, with the result that
people are wary and skeptical, unwilling to trust anyone who is
entirely unknown. Often, too, they crave sistemazione, a hard-to-
translate word that can mean a steady job and a stable family, a
without threat or fear. Hence, the bureaucracy and the many jobs it
3. THE DREAM BECOMES A REALITY by Carol Lieberman
Editor's note: In the fall of 1998, the Liebermans met immobiliare
(real estate brokers) in Umbria, near Todi, who represented the
church in leasing property (affito sconto) that can never be sold.
They obtained a long-term lease on a top-floor apartment under
the bell tower of a 14th-century abbey.
Last year during our stay at our apartment in the abbey in Viepri,
we participated in local festivals, fell in love with the neighbors
and purchased two carloads of furniture for our apartment. I have
now spent a total of almost six months here, logging in two
summers, our holiday of Il Giorno di Ringraziamento
(Thanksgiving), and a second Easter. If I had been more
entrepreneurial, I might have written a book Under the Umbrian
Sun or Bella Umbria.
What about the reality of living here versus una grande vacanza?
In the U.S., I live in "The Hamptons," a resort area, and after
years, I am very tired of showing visitors around. There are only so
many good weekends, and although a visit from friends is great,
we have necessities to take care of, and most do not involve
So it is in Italy. When you are no longer a tourist, you suggest to
visitors that they rent a car and stay at a nearby B & B. Even for
good friends, a small apartment is not the place for endless guests.
And how many times can you climb the hills of Assisi, after all?
But there is a downside to being just a part-time resident among
Italians who have lived here forever and expatriots from other parts
of the world who are here full time. They are the ones who have
seen it all and are busy. The situation is reversed. When a local
friend invites us into his life û no matter how small the event û we
treasure the opportunity to go along unobserved, and to pretend it
is our life that is unfolding. Whenever our friend Carolina goes to
visit someone, or Jo and Luisa to sell real estate, if I have time,
I tag along.
I laugh at the number of activities I have joined. At home I skip
most benefits, festivals and flea markets. But in Italy, I go to
them all! I look for the local events such as the Bevagna Medieval Fair,
the weekend flea market in Perugia, an American silent film with
Italian subtitles, loud Italian music and a room filled with smoke;
the Sagras (feast) of Buon Cibo (good food), polenta, olive oil and
We, Too, Contend with Details
I learned that one needs the permesso from the Questura to buy a
car. Friends found us a suitable used car, a 1995 Ford Fiesta
hatchback, and we went with them to make the deal. Even with my
increasing knowledge of Italian, the only contribution I made to the
discussion was whether or not it had seat belts and air
conditioning. Once you have a car, you need to decide where to
keep it, but a a dusty, inconspicuous car with Italian plates is
really not a target for thieves.
It took one year from the time I opened the bank account to get a
debit card, since the bank needed to be sure I was not a criminal
from outside of Italy. When I did get it, although it is an
effective debit card, it works only when telephone lines to the verification
center are not linea bloccado. The bank is supposed to pay my
utility bills for me. They do, but seem to lose the actual bills so
I cannot verify their accuracy. After I had the permesso, I changed to
a conto corrente, an account for residents, and was told that my
problems would now disappear. They haven't, but I plan on
finding the truth of the matter.
I confess I tire of Italian television. My son lives in London, and
subscribes to British satellite for me. It took some doing for the
church to let me put a satellite dish behind the abbey roof, but
finally they agreed. (For those without a relative in Britain,
there is a thriving satellite black market.)
When in Italy, You Eat
People here rarely eat out. I cook a lot, but they are scandalized
my need for meat and chicken, and by the fact that I actually
bought a micronde or microwave. I have grown extremely fond of
the supermarket, visiting it often, finding a really good bottle of
wine for less than $5, and purchasing basil and parsley plants for
herbs on demand.
Who would ever think that a girl who goes to the supermarket in
Long Island as seldom as possible, would look forward to the
Coop? The best part is trying to communicate to the machellerio
(butcher) and impegato (worker) what you want. An etto is 1/4
pound, more or less, and has become my standard for measuring
cheese or meat. As for bread, I am here to tell you that bread from
any other part of Italy is better than Umbrian bread. You see, there
was once a salt tax and Umbria didn't want to pay it, so today the
bread has no salt. I usually make my own.
Exercising and Exorcising
My favorite pastime is going to the Palestra Olympia, my Italian
gym. In the past, I had mastered every excuse not to exercise. But
in Italy, where the athletes and trainer speak only Italian, and the
bodies of both sexes are spectacular, I find myself going -- with
great joy -- and often. It costs me $4 per visit with the trainer.
I may be crazy, but I think we have ghosts in the apartment. The
last Don (head priest), who died in the 1950s, has visited twice on
the night before local funerals of his former friends. I think I
met a Monaco (monk) this summer, hovering around my bedroom. Luisa,
downstairs, says she has had similar visitations, but everyone else
I tell looks at me a bit peculiarly. I don't think that Italians are
more superstitious than we are û probably less so.
Before Christmas last year, I went to a church ceremony in Massa
Martana, where the Millenium logo, developed locally and used
worldwide, was blessed by the clergy. The local places where
miracles are said to have happened all geared up for the millions of
visitors and pilgrims expected to come to celebrate the millenium.
New roads were built, ample parking was provided. To the best of
my knowledge, however, the many pilgrims did not materialize
and in fact there were no more than the usual number of visitors.
That was too bad for them, but an opportunity for you. Come. See.
In addition to contributing to this issue, Carol Lieberman first
wrote about her home in Umbria for our June 1999 issue of the
newsletter. Copies are still available from the Network.
4. I DREAMED OF SELLING INSURANCE IN EUROPE....
by Diane Taylor
The author and her husband live in Budoia, a village about 45
minutes by train from Venice, at the base of the Prealps
In the 1980s they lived in the South of Italy, in a beach house on
the bay of Naples.
It is an era that is slowly fading and should be documented --- an
international lifestyle made possible by the needs of our troops
stationed overseas. Not unlike camp followers in Roman times, we
have been supplying life's necessities to American military and
government personnel stationed in Europe for the past 50 years.
Apart from the lifestyle, we have also enjoyed the satisfaction of
providing thousands of families with personal service, financial
security and opportunities for their future they would not have had
access to, or taken the time to investigate, without us. It is a
glamorous niche in an otherwise much-maligned, misunderstood
profession. Most people cringe or go glassy-eyed when you tell
them you sell insurance and mutual funds --- until you mention
you live in Italy.
At its height, the population of American insurance and securities
representatives in Europe numbered about 500. They were all
young and attractive then, making big tax-free dollars at a time
when a liter of beer in Germany cost a nickel, and the exchange
rate was four marks to the dollar. A $30,000 yearly income bought
a lifestyle in Europe most people could only fantasize about. These
reps never wore polyester.
Over time emerged a syndrome we called "The Five Year Plan."
As in, "I'm only going to stay five years, then I'm going back to
States." Those who made it the first five years generally turned
into lifers and joined a clique of people who have lived slightly
axis ever since. Gypsy souls who are never quite content no matter
where they are --- addicted to the excitement of travel and Old
World culture, but pulled home by responsibilities, family and
I am excluding here government personnel who got their insurance
and mutual funds licenses after retirement. With their automatic
access to most military bases and American goods, they have a
Some of our group got a taste for Europe during a three-year hitch
and figured out how to get back on their own, or maybe sold
insurance in college and saw the fairytale recruiting ads they use
publish back in the '70's. These ads always featured a well-tailored
general agent standing in front of an Alpine chalet, beside a big
new Mercedes, beckoning others to "come to Europe and live the
good life." With two conventions a year, always in Europe's most
sophisticated locales, five-star hotels, and no restraints on
behavior, especially if you were a big producer, abundant
opportunities for adventures presented themselves to these agents
who answered the siren's song. "Grandpa's stories" they are
now, and considering the times, probably highly edited.
The general agents who came to Europe during the Marshall Plan
years the war and established agencies were pioneers. It was a new
frontier, and the U.S. dollar was the muscle. Woody Woodward, a
supposed sharecropper's son from Tennessee, is a legend over here,
but even his light is burning out and his kind will not likely ever
seen again in this business.
A true showman, Woody always had flamboyant attention-getters.
Living in Brussels during his heyday, he was fond of Rolls-Royces
and always had two, so he would have a spare while one was in the
shop. They were chauffeured by uniformed, young Belgian women
who were not only gorgeous, but educated, cultured, charming, and
smart. Sometimes they doubled as hostess or office manager.
To the constant delight of people around him, he also had a Santa
Claus complex. Convention party favors for the wives and
girlfriends of his agents might include a large uncut diamond. In
the trunk of his Rolls, he carried around a briefcase with $25,000
in cash for use in his presentations (for recruiting agents or to
demonstrate to a group of military officers what he was talking
The briefcase also contained an assortment of custom-made
jewelry (gifts) as props to illustrate his business. The briefcase
eventually stolen. He carried a $10,000-bill in his shirt pocket
many of those in circulation), but forgot about it one time, and it
got sent to the laundry. The Winged Victorias on the Rolls hood
had ruby nipples. A device he installed let out a scream and sucked
the whole ornament down into the hood if anyone touched them.
One evening, after an elegant group dinner at one of Brussels' best
restaurants in the Grand Place, he returned to find a note on the
windshield that said, in French, "It is a well-known fact
that you use your car to seduce young girls." He had it framed and
hung it in his office. No one ever met Woody's wife, who lived a
separate life in a chateau estate and never mixed with his business
The last time we saw Woody some years ago, we got the drift he
might have a "problem." He was down to one dented old Rolls and
he looked burnt-out, but he still had a sexy Belgian chauffeur.
American troops in Europe now only number about a half million
and with the Internet explosion, the ranks of career reps in Europe
have dwindled to an estimated 125-150 (mostly part-time, retired
military now). As reflective of our times, quality service is
ratcheting down. It's not a niche with an expanding future, and
we've all steered our children away from going into the business
over here. Most of us in Europe now have renewed our Five-Year
Plans several times and are hoping there's at least one more
renewable option left. Within a couple of years, my husband and I
(both active agents) plan to change our direction and find a villa
with personal-size vineyard in Slovenia (delightful country, half
the size of Switzerland, bordered by Italy, Austria, Hungary,
Croatia) and live there off our investments for a while. Or maybe
buy a small hotel for sale we know about on the Istrian Peninsula
that overlooks the pristine bay of an ancient fishing port. But by
then, Slovenia will likely have joined the EU and a new NATO
base established, so we're just as likely to keep on doing what we
do for as long as we can. Another five years and we'll go home to
New Mexico....we promise.
2000, Diane Taylor
5. THE LANGUAGE OF THE BELLS
by Diane Taylor
During a recent gathering of friends, between courses of secret
recipes and worthy wines, I took an opportunity to step-out onto
the balcony of our host's mountain home, perched halfway to
Piancavallo (a ski resort in the Prealpini, 45 minutes from Venice).
As I enjoyed the late night take-your-breath-away view of the
lights clustered below, I was joined by a gentleman named Gigi.
He off-handedly mentioned he could interpret news from the
surrounding towns and villages by the sound of their church bells.
It had never occurred to me the bells had a language of their own,
more than random ringing, to mark occasions and church services.
I was immediately intrigued by the obvious similarity to smoke
signals and jungle drums.
I asked Gigi if he could describe to me the nuances of the ringing
sequences and tones. He laughed.
"You just have to know," he said. "I learned from my mother, and
I've lived here all my life. Each town's bells have their own
sound determined by the way the bells were cast and the mixture of
metals used. When you can distinguish these differences you can
tell from where the news is coming --- Dardago, Aviano, Masure,
Gias, Castello, Villotta---all of them are different."
"In the old days, the bells were rung to begin the work day in the
fields for the farmers and peasants, for their break time, and for
end of the day. The bells ring for us as individuals three times in
our lives: when we are born, when we marry, when we die. From
the sound, I can even tell if the baby born or person who died was
male or female. Also in the old days, the bells were used to
summon help for a house on fire, weather warnings, and other
crisis. Of course, they are still used every day for various other
occasions and rung thirty minutes before Mass, the start of Mass,
baptisms, and communions."
I have concluded that without our discussion I might have forever
continued to enjoy the bells as musical punctuations in my day, but
now I can't help wondering what's really going on around me and
in my village that I don't know about.
2000, Diane Taylor
Taylor is a registered representative, who sells mutual funds and
insurance to U.S. government and military personnel stationed in
Europe. A native of California who has worked in Europe for half
of her adult life, she and her husband also keep a home in New
After eight years in Italy, they are now exploring Slovenia for
retirement and investment properties, as she writes, "for
sophisticated baby boomers who remember what a joy Europe was
before the masses invaded, but still want proximity to the culture
in Venice and Ljubljana."
PART TWO - LONG BEWARE - HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE -MAKE IT STRONG
1. AN ATTEMPT AT WORKING IN ITALY By Carol Lieberman
I am a marketing communications professional with a Master's
Degree. In Italy that degree affords me the title of Dottore.
Consulting with companies on their foreign sales promotion would
be great, but I will have to be there full-time to get started.
Before coming here, I took a certificate program in TEFL, teaching
English as a foreign language, and TBE, teaching business English.
I actually had a part-time job teaching business English this
summer, using my business skills to help Italian executives
improve their ability to communicate abroad. I was supposed to
earn $10 per hour, but I have yet to be paid. The possibility of
teaching beginning English to Italians sounded interesting until I
found out that I would have to explain English grammar in Italian,
and have an understanding of grammar concepts, mainly verbs and
their usage. The certificate program provides teaching methods, but
not a review of grammar.
Back in the U.S., my business is medical publishing, and I felt sure
that we would survive the summer as business is usually slow then.
Planning to do some work, I brought at least 50 pounds of
computer equipment. Once you have mastered the vagaries of an
Internet connection and developed a relationship with TIM/TIN û
Telephone Italia, you can move ahead.
You must remember to disconnect everything when you go out or
when a storm approaches because of the likelihood of power
surges. If you think communicating in Italian about food or health
is difficult, imagine trying to explain a computer problem to either
the Internet provider or a repair company! I can tell you, though,
that my business survived and is starting to grow again. I actually
had to force myself to come home, but I believe the clients felt
safer and happier that I was in the U.S.
2. LIVING IN ITALY LIVING COSTS
A budget of about $1,500 to $2,200 per month would be realistic.
This would cover basic health insurance coverage, renting not
buying an apartment or house and using public transportation
rather than a car. The exchange rate, (currently $1 = 2230 lire)
varies, of course.
Carol Lieberman reports that their lease on the abbey apartment in
rent-free for ten years in exchange for their renovation of the
property, and can be assigned to their children. At the end of the
ten-year period, the cost will be 700,000 lire or about $350 per
month. She writes: "The real estate market is booming in Umbria.
Madonna just bought a home nearby, and unlike earlier years, there
is a great opportunity to buy at reasonable prices. You can find
houses with gardens, forests, grapes, olives, ponds and even a few
gated condominiums." See http://www.casambiente.com
In Rome, a studio or two-room apartment costs at least $90,000.
You would need to spend $175,000 to $200,000 if you want a
large balcony, a popular neighborhood or a view.
The countryside in many parts of Italy is beautiful, and better
prices are available in small towns and villages. Small houses in
the country can cost as little as $75,000 or even less. Properties
Sicily can be as little as $50,000.
Rentals in Rome are not that different from many U.S. cities,
ranging from $650 for a studio apartment to $2,000 a month for
one with two or three bedrooms.
In Florence you could live in an elegant apartment in Palazzo
Antellessi amid antique furnishings for $3,960 and up, (10%
discounts apply for longer than a single month). Cheaper digs are
available at Florence House Real Estate where studio apartments
are $500. A more affordable Tuscan town is Lucca, where you can
a mini appartamento for about $425 or a four-room apartment for
Web Sites for Rentals
Electricity, gas and telephone cost more than in the U.S. If
possible, find a house or apartment that already has a phone. The
phone company requires a deposit, and installation takes time and
could cost as much as $200. The basic phone bill is around $15,
with charges for calls added on.
COST OF COMMON ITEMS
Lettuce, 1 head............$.30
Spinach 1 head $.75
zucchini, 1 lb.................$.69
Fresh fruit is available at similarly low prices.
Veal, 1 lb..........................$3.00
Chicken, l lb.........................$2.50
Fresh fish, l lb.................$3.50
Mussels, clams in season, 1 lb... $1.75
3. RESOURCES FOR ITALY BOOKS
The Italians, A Full-Length Portrait Featuring Their Manners
and Morals by Luigi Barzini. Simon & Schuster, 1996, 352 pages,
$14. Most books on Italy merely scratch the surface, a richly
textured surface though it is. Barzini sees behind the laughter and
the sophisticated poses to a complex, fatalistic people. He exhibits
everything he accuses Italians of. He exaggerates, flatters, poses
questions then evades them, indulges in elaborate flourishes and
above all, exudes charm. The book is a re-issue and doesn't take
recent changes into account, but it's well worth reading.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Broadway Books,
1997, 280 pages, $15. A book about change and discovery as well
as about this lush, rich setting. Bella Tuscany 1999, 286 pages,
$15, continues her adventures.
Desiring Italy ed, by Susan Cahill. Fawcett/Columbine, 1997, 365
pages, $12. A collection of excerpts by women writing in English.
Culture Shock, Italy, by Raymond Flower and Alessandro Falassi.
Graphic Arts, 1995, 222 pages, $12. The authors caution that Italy
has some of the world's best business people and the world's worst
red tape. Especially useful are the illustrations and explanations
Living, Studying, and Working in Italy by Travis Neighbor and
Monica Larner. Henry Holt, 1998, 340 pages, $14.95. These
American writers offer the practical info and resources that a
prospective expat needs. Listings include expat organizations,
government agencies and job banks with sound advice on working
As the Romans Do: The Delights, Dramas, and Daily Diversions
of Life in the Eternal City By Allen Epstein. William
Morrow/HarperCollins, 2000, $20.00. Epstein shares the culture,
history and challenges of his new home in a personal style.
The AWAR Forum is a newsletter published by American
Women's Association of Rome (see next page) with nine issues
per year. The group also publishes Destination Rome, 10,000 lire
($7) free to new members.
English Yellow Pages is published for expat communities in
Rome, Florence, Bologna and Milan. At English language
bookstores or from Via Belisario, 4/B, 00187 Roma, 06 4740861;
fax 06 4744516; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
American Club of Rome, c/o Marymount, Via di Villa Lauchli,
180, 00292 Roma 06 3295843.
Federation of American Women's Clubs has clubs in many
Italian cities in addition to those listed below, see www.fawco.org
The International Women's Club of Bari, Via Petrarca 2, I-70010
Adelfia, Bari. Tel: (39) 08 04 59 26 72.
American International League of Florence, Casella Postale No.
33, Via Fratelli Orsi, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli, Florence.
The Benvenuto Club of Milan, also AIM (Americans In Milan)
c/o Circolo A. Volta, Via G. Giusti, 16, I-20154 Milan
Tel: (39) 0347 63 66 997.
American Women's Club of Naples
Tel: (39) 081 575 00 40.
Americans Abroad Palermo c/o Via Vaccarini 1, 90146 Palermo
Tel: (39) 348-510 4196 (club cell phone).
American Women's Association of Rome, c/o Savoy Hotel, Via
Ludovisi 15, I-00187 Rome, www.awar.org
Tel: (39-6) 482 52 68; fax: (39-6) 482 52 68.
For addresses of newcomers clubs in various Italian cities, see
The American Embassy in Rome has lectures, concerts and social
activities such as Fourth of July and Halloween celebrations. The
Culture Desk has lists of expatriate groups, of which there are
Web Sites for Italy
3. RESOURCES FOR ITALY
Foreigners in Italy are either "tourists" or "residents." Anyone
staying three months or less is considered a "tourist." This
students in short-term courses and persons on brief business trips.
A tourist may not work in Italy. Whether you stay in a hotel,
private home or institution, you must appear personally with
passport, within three days of arrival, at the Questura,
Commissariato di P.S. or Carabinieri to apply for a permesso di
soggiorno or permit to stay. (This registration requirement is
usually waived for those staying a week or two in a hotel).
ENTRY VISA AND CERTIFICATE OF RESIDENCY
Foreigners who visit Italy for longer than three months are
considered "residents." Before coming to Italy, you must apply for
an entry visa at the nearest Italian Consular and wait until the
is granted. Since the visa procedure takes several weeks, the
application should be made early. A foreigner who comes to Italy
without the visa will be asked to return to the place where he or
she applied for it.
Upon arrival, you have three days to appear with your passport at
the local police station to apply for a residency permit. Once it
been issued, you have 20 days to register with the Anagrafe or
Vital Statistics Bureau of the city where you will live.
HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AUTOS
When you have resident status, you may bring in household effects
duty free. You must do this within six months after registering as a
resident. Shipping agents can be helpful in clearing items through
You may also import a motor vehicle duty free if you have owned
it at least a year. (For a vehicle owned less than a year, you pay
duty of 11% plus value added tax (called IVA in Italy) ranging
from 19% to 35% of the value. (The amount depends on the engine
Some expats qualify for the state supported health care system or
USL. Students, residents and self-employed persons are eligible,
although freelancers must first pay into the system, which can
amount to several thousand dollars per year. Those without an
income can buy into the system for about $500 per year. Private
health insurance is also available for about $1,300 per year.
You can access your U.S. account with an ATM card. Traveler's
checks are useful, too.
Personal checks drawn on an American bank are virtually useless;
a certified check will only be cashed by a bank where you have an
account, and even then, you may have difficulty. A resident,
however, may open an account in lire at a local bank.
Any currency brought into Italy must be declared upon arrival.
Failure to do so could result in the confiscation of the currency, a
fine and, in very serious cases, imprisonment if one tries to take
funds out of the country, whether in lire or other currency,
including dollars. Amounts of 20 million lire (or the equivalent in
foreign currency) or less can be taken out in cash. This includes
5. WORKING IN ITALY - OFFICIAL REQUIREMENTS
It is difficult for U.S. citizens to find work here. Generally, you
must obtain the necessary papers and an entry visa through your
prospective employer before coming to Italy. Application for the
permit must be filed by the prospective employer with the
provincial labor offices; if initial clearance is granted, the
application is then processed by the central authorities in Rome.
When finally approved, the permit is forwarded to the worker who
then applies for a work visa. Self-employed persons must submit
the application submitted directly to the Italian consulate.
According to Italian law, everyone living in Italy is subject to
which is based upon income derived from any source whatsoever.
An agreement between the U.S. and Italy prohibits double taxation,
DOGS AND CATS
Pets must have current rabies inoculation and health certificate
from an official veterinary authority dated no earlier then one week
before departure from the U. S.. These documents should state that
the pet is coming from an area which was free from rabies during
the preceding six months.
A U.S. driver's license is accepted if accompanied by a translation
or statement indicating its validity. An International Driving
Permit is preferable. After having registered with the Bureau of
Vital Statistics, you must have an Italian license, which is issued
after passing a driving test, a written test and an eye examination.
6. OBTAINING THE PERMESSO
By Carol Lieberman
I had obtained the visa at the Italian Consulate in New York City
and it immediately appeared. Lest you think the process was
sooooo simple, this was only the first step. Then, there was the
matter of the permesso di soggiorno. I opted to obtain a visa as a
retired person, which seemed easier.
Once in residence, one must register in the commune where one
lives. Taking statements from your U.S. bank and financial
institutions as proof that you can support yourself, some passport
photos and the correct amount of francobolli (tax stamps from your
local tobacco shop), you go to the Questura. The days and times
that it is open, however, change without notice. When I finally
found it open, 50 to 100 were people in line, much like our
unemployment department. Many of the horde are getting work
permits, so I thought mine would be easier. After three months and
four visits, I had the proper papers, which are good for two years.
may recover from the ordeal by the expiration date.
FOR EXPATS AND OTHERS
7. NEWS AND NOTICES
A Japanese journalist would like to interview a male American, 55
or older, who lives overseas or plans to. If you'd like to be
interviewed, contact the network ASAP.
ECONOMIC GROWTH ISN'T ENOUGH
The statistics are staggering. South Asia has 522 million people
who live on less than $1 a day; Sub-Saharan Africa has 290
million; East Asia, 278.3 million and Latin America and the
Caribbean, 78.2 billion total. Economic growth is often seen as the
first step in making life better for the people who live in dire
poverty, but the evidence suggests that other factors are also
8. OVERSEAS JOBS
Looking for a professional position overseas? Consider a foreign
service posting. Some of the specialties are Diplomatic Courier,
Security Engineering Officer, Information Management
Specialist, Construction Engineer, Office Management Specialist,
Health Practitioner, Medical Officer, Psychiatrist and Medical
Technologist. Or consider taking the exam for Generalist.
Descriptions of the positions can be found at: