Posts tagged #citizenship

Our second summer, fall, and holiday season in Florence

In mid-November, walking back to our apartment from Mercato Centrale, the Duomo peaking over our shoulders. Photo by Nick Minnott

In mid-November, walking back to our apartment from Mercato Centrale, the Duomo peaking over our shoulders. Photo by Nick Minnott

Well, I had intended to write long before now!  I had a post all queued up about shopping for and preparing our first Thanksgiving dinner in Italy - but then that post became a combined “Holiday” post (Thanksgiving and Christmas) - which didn’t get written.  So, I thought I’d write a combined Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s screed - and somehow it didn’t materialize, either, alas. And here we are, in the middle of January, in a new year.  Where DOES the time go??

But, let me back up.  We’ve been living in Florence for 18 months now.  How did THAT arrive so quickly?!  It’s been an amazing, frustrating, nail-biting, nerve-wracking, wonderful, exhilarating experience.  Above all, very edifying.  And a great opportunity to practice what I preach:  Acceptance & Allowing.

Not our car - but it’s pretty darn cute!

Not our car - but it’s pretty darn cute!

Our first year was hectic and sort of crazy.  After moving from our large Seattle home  - with Samantha the Samoyed - into a furnished Florentine apartment in “tourist central” Piazza Santa Croce, in March of 2018 we moved into our current home, where we intend to spend many years. We had lots of crazy experiences that first year you can read about here.  And the adventure has continued…

So, from June through Christmas, a wrap up:

guigno, 2018

Our friends, Kathy and Steve Gleaves, had a very brief visit in Florence. We were thrilled that we were able to have dinner with them at    Osteria delle Brache   .

Our friends, Kathy and Steve Gleaves, had a very brief visit in Florence. We were thrilled that we were able to have dinner with them at Osteria delle Brache.

One day in late June, we spent a few hours in Milan and had lunch in the    Vittorio Emanuele mall   . It was touristy and pricey, yes, but so beautiful!

One day in late June, we spent a few hours in Milan and had lunch in the Vittorio Emanuele mall. It was touristy and pricey, yes, but so beautiful!

luglio, 2018

We watched the re-paving of the street in front of our piazza beginning in April. By July, it was awfully hot in the street. This fellow makes his own coffee break!

We watched the re-paving of the street in front of our piazza beginning in April. By July, it was awfully hot in the street. This fellow makes his own coffee break!

We remembered, from the previous summer, how important it is to get out of the house early and then scurry back into the A/C before completely wilting from the heat.  It starts getting really hot about mid July and stays that way for something like 6-8 weeks. 

Temporarily blonde

Temporarily blonde

The day before our 32nd Anniversary, I went to my local hair stylist and, because of a language misunderstanding, (I guess) I emerged blonde!  haha!  Oh, well.  At least it was summer.

agosto, 2018

August in Florence is almost unbearably hot and humid.  We (including Samantha) had a short stay at Borgo i Vicelli, a gem of a tiny resort in Bagno a Ripoli and only a 20 minute taxi ride away. Important, since we don’t have a car! 

The pool and restaurant at Borgo i Vicelli.

The pool and restaurant at Borgo i Vicelli.

Lovely grounds at Borgo i Vicelli.

Lovely grounds at Borgo i Vicelli.

The serene pool at sunset - Borgo i Vicelli.

The serene pool at sunset - Borgo i Vicelli.

Borgo i Vicelli is family-run, the setting is absolutely divine, the food is amazing, the wine is sourced from nearby, the olive oil is made on-site, and it has a lovely pool and spa.  Also, dogs are accepted (see photo above). Highly recommended.

settembre, 2018

My cherished friend/client/chiropractor, Dr. Vivian Ledesma, had 4 days open between her trip to Romania and before she joined a biking group in The Lakes district - I was overjoyed that she chose to spend it in Florence!  She stayed a half block from us in Hotel Liana, so we were neighbors for a few days.

Fabulous photo of Viv that Bob took.

Fabulous photo of Viv that Bob took.

Scenes from homewares store    Riccardo Barthel.

Scenes from homewares store Riccardo Barthel.

One of the incredible floors featured at    Riccardo Barthel    - bellisimo pavimento! (beautiful floor in Italian)

One of the incredible floors featured at Riccardo Barthel - bellisimo pavimento! (beautiful floor in Italian)

I showed Viv all around MY Florence: my favorite clothing store, homewares store, Oltrarno enoteca, cafe, and both mercati (Sant’Ambrogio and Mercato Centrale).

Great photo Viv took in Mercato Sant’Ambrogio.

Great photo Viv took in Mercato Sant’Ambrogio.

….and we cooked zucchini flowers! 

Fiori dei zucchini before….

Fiori dei zucchini before….

….and after cooking. They were delicious, even though this photo doesn’t do them justice - ha!

….and after cooking. They were delicious, even though this photo doesn’t do them justice - ha!

In September I had yet another Permesso di Soggiorno complication, but it was resolved and I enrolled in more Italian classes.

ottobre, 2018

We had visitors and good news!

In the beginning of October, Lisa and Paul, our niece and her husband, stopped by for a brief visit.

In the beginning of October, Lisa and Paul, our niece and her husband, stopped by for a brief visit.

My stepbrother, Jay, and his wife, Joan included Florence in their 5 week stay in Italy.

My stepbrother, Jay, and his wife, Joan included Florence in their 5 week stay in Italy.

I rejoined the Italian class I had been unable to finish the prior April (due to a severely sprained ankle) and, this time, was a stellar student!    Our son, Nick, arrived to pursue his Italian dual citizenship through Bob…

Bob waiting for me to return from Palazzo Vecchio with good news.

Bob waiting for me to return from Palazzo Vecchio with good news.

One week later - he’s an Italian citizen!

One week later - he’s an Italian citizen!

…AND Bob received his Italian citizenship recognition!  It was a big, big month!!

novembre, 2018

The weather became colder, though not bitterly cold, yet. I decided to make Ringraziamento (Thanksgiving) dinner and we were delighted to have guests from Seattle, Susan and her daughter Jen, and our new friends from Scotland, Ellen and her daughter Frances, join us.

At Mercato Sant’Ambrogio ordering our tacchino for Ringraziamento. (Yes, dogs are allowed inside…) The tacchino (turkey), which I thought would be the most daunting part to track down, was actually the easiest.

At Mercato Sant’Ambrogio ordering our tacchino for Ringraziamento. (Yes, dogs are allowed inside…) The tacchino (turkey), which I thought would be the most daunting part to track down, was actually the easiest.

Finding cranberries was another story.  Eventually, I rehydrated dried mirtilli rossi (cranberries) to make my favorite Silver Palette cranberry sauce recipe.

The tacchino JUST fit in the oven!

The tacchino JUST fit in the oven!

Dessert: Pecan chocolate pie, which I made, and a divine Pavlova prepared by our guest, Ellen.

Dessert: Pecan chocolate pie, which I made, and a divine Pavlova prepared by our guest, Ellen.

A good time was had by all! Susan, Jen, Ellen, me, Frances, Nick. Bob was here, too, but behind the camera.

A good time was had by all! Susan, Jen, Ellen, me, Frances, Nick. Bob was here, too, but behind the camera.

It was quite an undertaking, sourcing the ingredients for a semi-traditional American feast, while not being in America.  The menu:

  • Olive, nocce, crema di tartufo e croccantini (olives, nuts, truffle spread & toasts) 

  • Tacchino (Turkey)

  • Confettura di mirtilli rossi (Cranberry sauce) 

  • Risotto con zucca e pistacchio (Pumpkin risotto with toasted pistacchios)

  • Cavoletti di Bruxelles con cipolla rossa e avocado (Brussels sprouts w/ red onion & avocado - from Heather Christo

  • Verdure grigliate (roasted veggies from Ellen)

  • Insalata (Salad)

  • Pane (Bread)

  • Torta di cioccolata e nocce di pecan (Chocolate pecan pie - David Liebovitz’ recipe)

  • An absolutely stunning Pavlova - brought by our Scottish friends, Ellen and Frances

  • Prosecco, vino rosato e vino rosso (Sparking, rosé, and red wines) 

dicembre, 2018

Ok, by now the weather was quite bitterly cold in the mornings.  Sometimes it remains that way throughout the day but every so often it’s quite pleasant. 

Christmas decorations are everywhere, the    Mercato di Natale    (Christmas market) at Piazza Santa Croce is in full swing, and Vin Brûlée (mulled wine) is offered almost everywhere - even in our kitchen!

Christmas decorations are everywhere, the Mercato di Natale (Christmas market) at Piazza Santa Croce is in full swing, and Vin Brûlée (mulled wine) is offered almost everywhere - even in our kitchen!

Via Tornabuoni, home to fabulous luxury fashion houses, such as Gucci, Ferragamo, Prada, and many more. Photo taken by Nick.

Via Tornabuoni, home to fabulous luxury fashion houses, such as Gucci, Ferragamo, Prada, and many more. Photo taken by Nick.

As I unpacked the Christmas decorations I had shipped over in our container the prior spring, I was surprised how I misremembered the small amount I had packed and had to be inventive.  We didn’t have a traditional tree….or a mantle over which to hang the stockings. 

The stockings were hung by the stairwell with care….

The stockings were hung by the stairwell with care….

Our Christmas palm tree.

Our Christmas palm tree.

But we did enjoy the beautiful seasonal clutter! 

Thank goodness I sent over lots of small Christmas decorations!

Thank goodness I sent over lots of small Christmas decorations!

Bob discovered the fun of buying wine in bulk and it gave him great joy to make personalized labels and drop them off as Christmas gifts.

Bob discovered the fun of buying wine in bulk and it gave him great joy to make personalized labels and drop them off as Christmas gifts.

Just before Christmas, our new but already dear friends, Ellen and Frances, moved to France.  We tried to help them as much as possible, even though it was sad for us - we miss them!

Buon Anno!

Buon Anno!

And here we are in 2019. My New Year’s Resolution this year is to post more from Italy in the coming months.  More about the culture, shopping, art & architecture, and gardens, of course. Ci vediamo presto! (See you soon!)



11th hour craziness in pursuit of Italian citizenship

It's exhausting being petted so much on Piazza Santa Croce!

It's exhausting being petted so much on Piazza Santa Croce!

Cittadinanza

After we moved into our Piazza Santa Croce apartment on June 27th, we went to our local Mailboxes, etc right around the corner and requested that the Italian Consulate in Los Angeles send our citizenship file originals to us in Florence, where we would pursue Italian citizenship for my husband.  We received the file July 4th, then we spent several weeks trying to connect with an attorney we had met on our last trip to Florence.  (We took a wonderful cooking class from his sister, who owns Cooking in Florence, and she introduced us to him)  We finally made contact with him mid-July, and he told us things were crazy busy getting work done in preparation for the August holidays.  (Pretty much all of Italy, except for tourist-dependent businesses, shuts down most, if not all, of August!!) 

We scrambled to get our documents submitted, then spent a few weeks waiting for the police visit to verify our residence.  Then, suddenly, the cittadinanza application was halted - the woman reviewing it had found several discrepancies (Bob's grandfather's name was spelled differently in a few places).  Our attorney wrote a lengthy "act" in which he explained everything, and the application started again, which meant waiting for the police to visit, again - not leaving all day!  On a whim, Monday morning I checked our mailbox and found a document that stated the police had been to our residence on the prior Friday and not found us here, even though we'd been dutifully sitting and waiting for them ALL DAY!!!!  We faxed the document back to the police, giving our hours of availability, and they showed up the next day!  One down.....

Permesso di Soggiorno

With the cittadinanza restarted, and the residency verified, it was now time to submit the Permesso di Soggiorno kit.  We went to the Ufficio Postale on via Porta Rossa (a beautiful building, by the way) and they would NOT accept Bob's application (!) because he didn't have a visa, which you don't need if you are here and applying for citizenship.  So, Bob and our attorney met the next day at a different post office and the application was accepted! On August 29th, Bob's last day to legally remain in Italy without the citizenship/residency/permesso di soggiorno applications being accepted!  2 down in the 11th hour craziness.....

Our Florence attorney, Ugo Franceschetti

Our Florence attorney, Ugo Franceschetti

A visa application of some kind....

Meanwhile, because of the 90 day Schengen tourist restriction, I had to leave Italy and return to the US to get a visa from the Italian Consulate in order to return to Italy! 

At the tiny Florence airport about to embark for San Francisco

At the tiny Florence airport about to embark for San Francisco

I flew to San Francisco August 30th, intent upon imploring the consulate to give me a visa.  But, they would not!  They said, since my husband's citizenship application was in process, granting me a visa would "confuse things".  What??!!  (They are telling me this as I beg them, standing on tiptoe, talking to Giorgia, the visa employee, via microphone, behind thick glass) 

The Italian Consulate in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood

The Italian Consulate in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood

In the meantime, our attorney had come up with a plan:  I would enroll in an Italian language course and apply for a Student Visa.  I mentioned it to Giorgia, she was adamant that, no, it wasn't possible. I teared up, she softened, and then - surprise! - she suggested I enroll in classes and apply for a Student Visa.  (I wish we'd thought of that!) So, Bob enrolled me in the Lorenzo de Medici Institute, with classes beginning September 4th. I flew to Seattle September 1st and set about getting all my ducks in a row.

My new school in Florence!

My new school in Florence!

I met with the Honorary Consulate in Seattle on September 12th.  My file was ironclad, complete, each section was clipped together, with a cover sheet that summarized the pages, and the entire file was in the exact order of the checklist on the Consulate website.  After Mr Tesorieri reviewed the file and handed it to me, I was told to send it to San Francisco for processing.  And write them a nice note about my impending departure, September 20th.

I overnighted the package to San Francisco, it arrived Thursday, September 14th, delayed a day because of the hurricanes and other disruptions (none on the west coast, but oh well).  I called and emailed the SF consulate about my application and ticketed flight back to Florence September 20th but was answered with a terse note admonishing me "not to pressure them about my airline ticket".  Well!

The day of my flight arrived and my passport and visa hadn't.  So, I proceeded to change my flight (had paid extra for a changeable ticket) - but to what day??  I intuitively chose Sunday, September 24th as my new departure date.  And hoped my passport/visa would arrive the 21st, 22nd or 23rd.  

On Friday, September 22, I sent another email to the San Francisco Consulate requesting "Visa Status - Flight in 3 days" per directions on their website.  I got an answer at 1:12 pm:  "Hello. Your passport has been mailed." I opened up the USPS website I had been obsessively checking daily and..... nothing. I refreshed the page over and over and - suddenly! - there was info!!  My passport was picked up in SF at 11:20 am and in transit!  But would it arrive to me by Saturday, so I could make my Sunday flight??  

YES!  ...... at the 11th hour....... IT DID!!!!

I haven't been so excited to get the mail in a long time....!

I haven't been so excited to get the mail in a long time....!

It was a ton of consternation, hard work, planning, organizing, frustration, and incredible stress - but it was fabulous to see friends and family in Seattle  - and I even made a new friend in San Francisco - while I waited for my visa....

With my brother and step brother

With my brother and step brother

Leslie and I love these basil-infused drinks at Bar Cantinetta

Leslie and I love these basil-infused drinks at Bar Cantinetta

Fab 4 celebrating Tana's birthday

Fab 4 celebrating Tana's birthday

Nick on his way to the airport

Nick on his way to the airport

And pretty nice to get back to my Florence neighborhood....

Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce

Our apartment building on Piazza Santa Croce

Our apartment building on Piazza Santa Croce

The nightly constitutional with Sammie

The nightly constitutional with Sammie

Posted on October 25, 2017 and filed under Firenze.