I am writing this post in memory of Vicki Lange, our hostess extraordinaire in Baldissero. The following are some Do's and Don't's for living in Italy, based on her experiences.
- Register to live there. This means getting a document from the town offices where you
reside. Bring electric, gas, or water bills you have paid or an affadavit from your landlord (notarized and
stamped with a wax seal) that you are in good standing with your rent. The landlord can be bribed, if
necessary, with a cash gift.
- Find out first which town offices are "chiusi" (closed) on which days for which surnames.
- Get in the right line early on the right day. If your name is Burgess and you wait for an hour on the correct
day for A-L's but in the wrong line, when you finally reach the clerk's counter, she will
explain, "You are in the wrong line. Move to your right for residency documents." You look at the
twenty people in that line and realize that you will never make it to THAT clerk before the mandatory
four-hour lunch break from 1-5 p.m.
Repeat: go early.
- Register for an EZ pass for your car only if you are the owner of that car or the primary driver of that
car. Appear at appropriate office on the designated day for your surname (see above). Get in the
right line for EZ passes as opposed to residency documents or school registration (see above). Provide
proof of car ownership or an affadavit (notarized and stamped with a wax seal) that you are the primary
driver of the rental/lease. An employer can swear to this if you provide him with a cash gift.
- Register your children for school on the correct day for A-L or M-Z. Show up with proof that the
children are truly yours. Footnote: an American mother who has taken her husband's last name must also
provide a marriage license, since Italian women keep their maiden names and the school will assume you
are no blood relation (different last name) and have stolen the children from a hospital nursery or
- Understand that a first-grader in Italy need not report till 10:30 a.m. on the first day of school so
he can "adjust" to the idea of first grade. He will parade past former teachers from the 3-5-year-old
rooms (who are clasping their hands together and wiping tears as their proteges file to their new
- Get your 3-to-5-year-old up at 7:00 a.m. so he can be at school by 8:30 a.m. on the first day of class.
- Rush out to purchase the list of color-coded supplies (a different color for each subject)
by the NEXT DAY. Question: Do the lines on the pages have to match the outside notebook color?
- MOST importantly, TAKE ITALIAN LESSONS. You will learn that in Italian "later" means three hours
later, "domani" means
next week, and "next week" means next month.
- Neglect to put out your recycling bins on the appropriate day. Your neighbor will report you and you
will be fined.
- Assume workers will show up from Monday to Friday any given week. Offices close at random and
workers strike at random. If you need to catch a plane and there's an imminent rail (or taxi) strike, sleep
at the airport the night before.
- Conclude the Pope is visiting your town because there is a crowd of thousands gathered on the first
day of school. They are merely relatives of first graders who are there to weep and wish the first
- Think you will have a brief parent-teacher conference. Conferences start at 4:30 p.m. and last till
7:00. Students must accompany their parents. Is there really that much to talk about in first grade?
Little Emma's teacher told Vicki (Emma's mother) that she was sorry Emma had an allergy to paint and
eraser dust. "What allergy?" Vicki wanted to know.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.