Tuesday was a day filled with meetings, paperwork and more paperwork. We had to meet our attorney at 9:00 AM at the courthouse in the Center of Milan for our “stay paperwork”. Getting into the courthouse an experience in itself. The entrance is guarded by the police and you better have a good reason for trying to enter. Luckily, we had an attorney to walk us through this entire day of fun-filled activities. Once into the courthouse we took a tiny (3 person) elevator to the 5th floor where we waited to meet with a woman and her computer. If you are ever thinking of moving to Italy, the only advise I can give you is to have all your paperwork in order before you even think of meeting with anyone from here! We almost didn’t get the “okay” to move on to the next step since we didn’t have on original form from the apartment company, luckily our attorney knew the woman and she let this one slide (we had an hour to produce the document) which we did!
Next we are off to the “Post Office” I put this in quotations because it is quite the opposite of what we are used to in the US. Here people apply for residence, pay their bills, actually mail things just to name a few. Like I said before, its similar to the DMV as far as waiting in endless lines and people watching. We waited there for about 3+ hours until our number was finally called. Once at the window Paul realized that he did not have our actual passports OOPS…… next was the fastest cab ride to and from our place in the history of cab rides. Needless to say, they never asked for our passports and we got our paperwork completed. Another fun fact about moving here is that they make you attend a class (about 80 hours) about the Italian culture, language, customs and history. You must have a certain amount of “credits” to stay here. They strongly encourage language lessons as well but those are not free.
Next step….get a bank account. If you ever wonder why you never hear of any bank robberies in Italy, here is why (take a lesson USA). In order to even walk into the entrance area of a bank here, you must swipe your bank card to open the first set of doors. Then once those doors close behind you, the other set opens where you walk through an x-ray machine to be certain you are not carrying anything that could be considered a weapon. Then you take a number (as if in the deli line at Publix) and wait for someone to call you. You must prove that you have residence here, have a job etc before they will even consider it. Also, the debit and credit cards in Italy have a smart chip in them, not just a strip like ours – therefore they are more secure and a lot of places won’t take cards without the chip. Needless to say, it takes some time to get established. unfortunately I do not have pictures from anything that took place during this entire process because you can’t take pictures in any of these places and i wasn’t going to take any chances!
Now on to the foodies……. we checked out 2 new restaurants since my last blog – the first place was Viarenna Pizzeria for dinner. Not good at all, it was not homemade pasta (as the menu stated) and it was simply re-heated frozen food. The bread they provided before the meal was better than the meal itself. I Don’t recommend this place for anything more than pizza (as that seemed to be their best dish). Below are pictures of our food, keep in mind it looks much better than it tasted.
The next place we stopped to have a little yummy treat was the California Bakery. This place is realllllllly good if you are looking for homemade baked goodies. They have everything from NY Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, Triple Chocolate cake, scones, muffins, cherry pie I could go on and on they have it all. They too have bagels and cheddar cheese, plus they sell peanut butter (but it costs a small fortune). For lunch I had a grilled chicken and cheese Panini and Paul had a salami and cheese Panini, both were very good. They also have french fries served in a glass. The only downside to this location is that there is a “sitting fee” which costs you 4 euro (you could just consider it as their tip, since you don’t tip anywhere here).
lastly, all of you are emailing and texting me about what the pizza looks like. I am happy to say that I finally remembered to take a picture for you (well almost remembered, I took a bite). There is a wonderful little place close to our apartment where they make it from scratch in about 10 minutes and its pretty amazing! It is thin crust with a kind of sweeter red sauce and fresh cheese. The bonus is that it will only run you between 4-6 euros depending on what you want on it.
until next time…. everyone enjoy your day!