Anyone who has ever been infuriated by bureaucracy in the UK should try living in Italy. Here it has attained the level of an art form with the added benefit of providing substantial employment. Things that I previously considered easy to arrange take forever to organise. Take for example buying shares in my local cooperative bank which were recommended for their yield.
We started negotiations 3 months ago and having signed our names about 20 times each we discovered that our application was submitted too late in September and the process had to be repeated in October: we are still waiting to see if the purchase went through at the end of November! Processing our new € credit cards probably destroyed a small forest but after several false starts and a couple of months they arrived but despite having a chip still require a signature to use. My application for a new driving licence to replace my UK one was submitted in June after a medical and a plethora of signatures and is apparently only now ready to be signed for again. During the intervening 5 months I had to apply for a new one in the UK and received it in around 10 days although I will probably now have to surrender it. Changing the registration of the car from UK to Italian plates has been ongoing for over 3 months because it needed a translation of the registration document and a technical schedule from Honda (a foreign producer and not spelt F I A T). Even then it will still need a “revisione”, equivalent to an MOT, despite the UK one done last week. (Incidentally the car failed initially as the headlights pointed the wrong way and the fog bulb was on the wrong side. No sh*t Sherlock)! Of course I couldn’t buy Europe-to-UK deflectors in Eastbourne so I eventually bought UK-to-Europe ones and got them fitted the wrong way round for the test and removed them at Folkestone.
We have also tried to get ourselves put on a local doctor’s books. The local health office (open just 2 days a week), on hearing I was retired, sent us to the HO in Alba who told us we needed a form from the UK. It turns out the form can only be issued when you are in receipt of the State Pension so back we went to the local office. Unfortunately we don’t fit into any category on the form so a shrug accompanied the information that we can always go to any local doctor and just pay. Unemployed and disabled would be far easier. Our English friend Judith who was married to an Italian said it took her 20 attempts until she tried another office in Nizza and found a very nice obliging Italian lady. We will probably resort to asking the mayor or a friend of a friend in the local commune. It is definitely a “who you know” society. Despite everything we find this quite endearing and have learnt to shrug our shoulders, smile, wave our hands and persevere.
On the bright side the locals are exceedingly friendly, the snow is quickly dealt with, we have plenty of logs, the local trattoria still makes the best pizza in the world, and the wine…………………….
p.s. just returned from Alba where I surrendered my UK licence for a photocopy. The new one’s in Cuneo and should now arrive any day!