Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage

UPDATED: *16 Oct 2017

I’ve recently applied for my Italian citizenship. (Thank you, Marituccio!) And while my application was accepted and I had my appointment at the Italian consulate in London, I now have to sit and wait for maximum of two years to get my letter that says I’m officially Italian.

For those of you who have to go through the same thing, I’m going to tell you how to do it.

  1. Collect the documents (see below)
  2. Prepare yourself to spend some cash on translations, certifications, fingerprints, and apostilles.
  3. Submit your application and upload your documents online at the Ministero dell’Interno website (also known as ALI).
  4. The consulate will view your application and either accept it, deny it, or accept it with reservations (which happened to me because I uploaded the documents in the wrong way. Make sure when you upload, keep the documents — such as criminal records – state, FBI, and translations, all in one pdf)
  5. Once the consulate accepts your application you will be called in for an interview to hand in your documents, sign the application and pay for the certifications of the photocopies of you and your spouse’s passports and translation of the UK police certificate.
  6. The consulate will send your documents to the Ministero dell’Interno where they will then process it and then inform the consulate. You will then get a letter that you are officially an Italian citizen.

Time frame – I applied online in Dec 2016 and didn’t get my appointment at the consulate until Oct 2017. In the meantime, I wrote to the consulate numerous times and only when I told them that I was moving back to Italy that I got a response — first they looked at my application online and then they called me for an interview. The consulate has been swamped since Brexit as everyone and their mother in the UK that’s eligible for citizenship is applying and there are only two (TWO) people processing citizenship applications. I feel for them and understand that people in the consulates across the world are overworked. So, be prepared to wait.

If you apply for citizenship within Italy, the process can be a lot faster. Once we move to Italy, I may hear from the Italian government sooner as the answer will no longer have to go through the consulate, but I’m preparing myself for the worst and maybe I’ll be presently surprised.

(While Italian bureacracy is a soul-crushing bitch, after seeing what other friends and family members have gone through, this isn’t as complicated as getting British citizenship or a US greencard.)

Continue reading “Getting Italian Citizenship Through Marriage”

Italian Citizenship through Marriage — documents you need

If you are married to an Italian citizen, you are eligible for citizenship after being 2 years of marriage if you reside in Italy and 3 years if you live abroad. (You can apply after 18 months no matter where you are if you have a child together). If you reside abroad, your spouse must be registered with l’AIRE (l’Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all’Estero) at the nearest Italian Consulate where you live. When we decided to get married, I was like to D, “Dood, you gotta do it.” Otherwise anything that he wanted to do he would have to go to Italy (get a new ID card, renew passport, register marriage, etc).

Since I’m an American from New York that resides in the UK, I’m going to tell you what I need to specifically get. Substitute your country and state where applicable.

Documents You Need

  • Unsigned application.
  • Estratto per riassunto dell’atto di matrimonio. This is a document issued by the Italian municipality where the Italian spouse is registered and has had the marriage registered. Since me and D registered our marriage at the Consulate in London, we don’t need this form since they already have us on record. *So they say on the website. But they also say to call just to make sure.
  • Full birth certificate. I was born in New York, so I needed to get this through the New York State Department of Health. (Not through the town hall where you were born as I first thought) This needs to be translated and certified in New York State. I also need to get an apostille through the New York State government. More info about the apostille can be found here.
  • Certificate of no criminal records from your country. For those who are from the US, you will need one from the FBI and one from every state that you have lived in since you were 14 years old. So that means for me one from the FBI and one from NY State. (If I had gone to university or lived in another state, I would have to get forms from those states, too.) Each of these documents needs to be translated, certified, and with an apostille. Here are links to the FBI and NY State Criminal sites. You need to get the apostille from the US government for the FBI certificate and they apostille from New York State for the NY police records. These documents are valid for only 6 months, so make sure you don’t get them too far in advance.
  • Certificate of no criminal records from the UK. More info on the certificate is here. This also needs to be translated,  certified, and be legalised. The London Consulate says that they can certify this on the spot when I come in for the citizenship appointment. More info on the British apostille can be found here. Again, this document is valid for only 6 months. The consulate advises you to get this done after you make the appointment.
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport and photocopy of the title page.
  • Copy of the applicant’s UK resident permit (if applicable). The original and photocopy of the title page.
  • Italian spouse’s passport and photocopy of the main pages.
  • 200 Euros.

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Gaspara Stampa, Female Renaissance Poet

Gaspara Stampa, Female Renaissance Poet

I found this ceramic plate a few years ago at a charity shop in Tufness Park. The back of it is stamped and says that it comes from the Guerrieri workshop on the Murano island in Venice.

The phrase “Vivere ardendo e non sentire il male” can be roughly  translated as “To live in flames and never feel the pain.”

Ceramic plate from a charity shop in Tufnell Park

It’s like what I talked about yesterday. I’ve been looking at this phrase for years now, using the plate to put my rings on it while I wash the dishes in the kitchen, and it never occurred to me that it could come from something.

So finally I looked it up and yes it comes from a poem, written during the Renaissance by Gaspara Stampa, “Amor mi ha fatto tal ch’io vivo in foco“. (Love has made me such that live in fire).

 

I hadn’t heard of her before, but Gaspara Stampa is considered to be one of the greatest female poets of the Renaissance. She lived in Venice in the 1500s and she was educated in literature, art and music. Her family hosted salons in their homes and had regular visitors of artists, writers and musicians. She shunned society’s constraints and lived quite freely as an educated woman with lots of lovers.

 

I’ve been having this poem staring me in the face all this time! And what’s more it’s written by a Venetian courtesan poet, considered to be one of the greatest poets during the Renaissance. Can you believe it?

Here’s the poem in Italian:

Amor m’ha fatto tal ch’io vivo in foco,

   qual nova salamandra al mondo, e quale

   l’altro di lei non men strano animale,

   che vive e spira nel medesimo loco.

Le mie delizie son tutte e il mio gioco

   vivere ardendo e non sentire il male,

   e non curar ch’ei che m’induce a tale

   abbia di me pietà molto né poco.

I’m still trying to understand the old-fashioned Italian myself. But I like the part where the phrase comes from:

Love has made me such that I live in fire,
Like a second salamander in this world
Or like the phoenix that lives and dies in the same place.
All my delights and my game
Are to live in flames and never feel the pain
And never care if he who leads me to this,
Pities me little or much.

I feel like I’m full of all these ideas right now, of poems and writing, of Venice, of Italy, and of all these possibilities that life offers if you can ignore the self-doubt and what society says you can and can’t do. Of course, if you’re wealthy and educated, life is a lot easier, but this woman is still great inspiration. From this poem, she’s a woman who doesn’t back down because she’s been jilted in love and continues to fan the flames of her passion and personality.

Gaspara Stampa from: papale-papale.it
Gaspara Stampa
from: papale-papale.it
My Love For Italian Ceramics and Its History

My Love For Italian Ceramics and Its History

You know that feeling when you finally notice something that you’ve been looking at or seeing for years and years and you realize that it is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? It’s kind of a cliché, but why is it? Why did it take you all that time to notice it?

That’s how I feel about Italian ceramics. I grew up with pieces at home and seeing them at them at all of my relatives homes in Italy and the US. I passed by countless shops in and around Napoli and it was just something familiar and passé, souvenirs hocked to the tourists.

Ceramics shop in Ischia
Ceramic shop in Ischia

This past year, it suddenly hit me how beautiful they are. Travelling to Venice to visit my in-laws, I noticed ceramics in their homes too, all these plates and jugs and bowls full of colours and patterns that seem to have absorbed all of that Mediterranean sun and gleam it back out inside the home.

What was wrong with me all these years? These are the most beautiful things in the world and I want to cradle them like babies. Lots of places sell cheaper pieces like souvenirs, which are still incredibly beautiful in my opinion, and I’ve found lots of them in the charity shop for a pound or two.

Continue reading “My Love For Italian Ceramics and Its History”

little ceramic plate from Murano, Venice
Ceramic plate from Murano, Venice that I found in a charity shop in North London. The phrase comes from a poem by the Venetian poet Gaspara Stampa, a great female poet during the Renaissance.
Water jug from Musa, Sicily
Water jug from Musa, Sicily that my mother-in-law gave me

But it made me wonder, being blind to these beautiful things surrounding me all these years, why were ceramics so popular in Italy? Why did they start making them?

The Italian pottery that we see all over Italy is called maoilica, a tin-glazed earthenware that makes the pottery gleam with colours that never fade. This type of pottery making originated in Mespotamia during the 9th century and the process travelled along the major trade routes. It made its way to Italy via Spain (specifically via Majorca hence the word maoilica) during the 12th century.

During the Renaissance improvements were made to the kilns and glazing process. New colours, in addition to the original purple and green, like orange, blue and yellow were used and the hand-painted pottery was elevated to an art form. The noble, wealthy families commissioned these pieces. Jugs, dinner plates, platters, vases, and tiles were all put into use and on display. The decorative patterns and colours taken from the Islamic and Spanish pottery soon turned into an Italian style of using mythical and biblical narratives and figures with ornate and colourful decorative patters against a gleaming white background.

harmacy Jar, dated 1515, Siena
harmacy Jar, dated 1515, Siena
Ceremonial Water Jug Sicily, c1450
Ceremonial Water Jug, c1450, Sicily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the noble families even changed their eating habits because of the maoilica craze. Where before they engaged in family style eating, all eating off of the same platter, meals began to be served on beautiful individual plates.

Lustre majolica plate. 1520, Deruta, Italy
Lustre majolica plate. 1520, Deruta, Italy
Dish with an allegory of Chastity and the arms of Matthias Corvinus and Beatrice of Aragon, 1476, Italy
Dish with an allegory of Chastity and the arms of Matthias Corvinus and Beatrice of Aragon, 1476, Italy
Bowl with a putto holding a pinwheel, ca. 1530, Gubbio, Italy
Bowl with a putto holding a pinwheel, ca. 1530, Gubbio, Italy

I’ve only touched on the top layer of the history of pottery in Italy and I haven’t even mentioned the towns throughout Italy that were famous for making these these works — Deruta in Umbria, Montelupo in Tuscany, Vietri in Campania, Grottaglia in Puglia, and Monreale in Sicily. There is so much more to read and learn about and I’m only getting started. I know that following the history of these works also entails following the development of Italy as a country. From looking at one beautiful object, I can uncover a whole story and as well as the history of the development of Italy as a country. It’s incredible.

BUY ONLINE:

If you can’t make a trip to Italy right away, there are lots of places to buy maoilica online.

  1. That’s Arte
  2. Italian Pottery
  3. Authentic Deruta
  4. Bonechi Imports
  5. Ebay
The History of Ferragosto in Italy

The History of Ferragosto in Italy

Happy Ferragosto everyone! It’s cloudy here in London and I’m sitting here reminiscing about all those Ferragostos in the past spent in Italy. All those hot, sunny days sitting with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all shouting at the table in a glorious cacophony of words, songs and plates and plates of food. But what does Ferragosto mean? When did it start?

Ferragosto is a public holiday in Italy as well as a major holiday in the Catholic Church marking the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. (Why do they call it the Assumption? Is it because they never found Mary’s body after she died and they assumed she went up into heaven?)

Continue reading “The History of Ferragosto in Italy”

In Monte di Procida, where my family lives, today is one of the finest days of the year. The main church in the piazza is called SS. Maria Assunta, dedicated to the Assumption, so they have to do up this festival in big style. There are three days of feasting in the piazza with lights, music and food. On the 15th, everyone goes to mass where the church is decorated in white and gold. After mass, there’s a giant procession with the statue of the Virgin Mary at the helm and a brass band follows playing the overture to Verdi’s Aida and all the people follow Mary down to the sea. In the evening, after everyone has busted their guts with a giant lunch, the beach fills up with people to watch the midnight firework display.

From Montediprocida.com
From Montediprocida.com
From minicrociere.com
From minicrociere.com

 

Growing up, I thought this was the way it was done all over Italy, but in lots of other places, most people just leave their homes to go to the beach. Curious about this, I started doing a little bit of research and interestingly, there’s a story behind this.

Ancient Rome

Ferragosto has its origins in Ancient Rome. The holiday was established by Emperor Augustus and took place after the first major harvest around 1 August. It’s possible that this also coincided with the pagan holiday of mid-summer on 2 August that marks the mid-point between the Summer Solstice (21 June) and the Autumnal Equinox (21 September). The ancient Ferragosto aimed to unify the August holidays and create a longer period of rest which stretched out to a few weeks. When Catholicism arrived, as they did with many other pagan holidays, they adopted Ferragosto and moved it to coincide with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and claimed the 15th of August as the official day of Ferragosto.

Fascist Era

The popular tradition of going away for Ferragosto began in the 1920s during the Fascist regime. The government, in conjunction with the various worker’s associations that organised trips, workshops, and events for the working class, offered a special promotion on train tickets during the three-day period surrounding Ferragosto. For the first time, working class families could afford to visit other cities in Italy as well as travel to the beach and the mountains. All these families, in order to keep costs down, would also pack food with them and this also started the tradition of picnicing on Ferragosto.

Today

All of this could explain why many Italians today take a month-long holiday in August, stretching back to the ancient Roman tradition of a harvest holiday. The 15th marks the mid-point of the summer holiday, a pseudo-religous pseudo-pagan mid-summer feast.

The film Pranzo di ferragosto (2008) (English title: Mid-August Lunch) is a spectacular film of a man named Gianni who inadvertently ends up hosting a Ferragosto lunch of elderly women in Rome at his mother’s house while his friends, who have left their mothers with Gianni, flee the city for the beach for two days of freedom. The film captures the emptiness of the city during the national holiday, the laziness inspired by the August heat, and the unexpected joy at finding yourself making the most of a less than appealing situation. Watch the trailer:

How will you celebrate Ferragost? There is a slight break in the clouds now and I think I’ll take a walk to the library and then through the farmer’s market and celebrate a little mid-summer repose.

Enjoy the day!

 

“Don’t Eat the Stale Bread Dry”

“Don’t Eat the Stale Bread Dry”

When I was 19, a few weeks after my Nonna Concetta died, I had a dream about her. Me and my cousins were in a car, cruising around Ischia, one of the islands in the bay of Naples where my grandmother was from. We came across a house on top of a hill. My grandmother was standing in the doorway in her housedress and apron while her sister Zia Carmelina, who had passed away within weeks of my grandmother, was walking up the hill. I leaned out the window, shouting and waving and smiling. “A-Nonnn! A-Nonnnnn!” (which is Neapolitan dialect for La Nonna.)

The car slowed down and she looked at me with a serious face and said to me cryptically in dialect, “Don’t eat the stale bread dry. Make sure it has some juice on it.”

Continue reading ““Don’t Eat the Stale Bread Dry””

I keep going back to this thing that she said. Especially lately since we’re making the slow plans to move back to Italy.

Growing up, in our house it was a sin to throw away bread. Partly for religious reasons since bread was considered Jesus’ body, but also because you don’t throw food away. (When we had a surplus of stale bread that was too much to consume, Mom would get around it by throwing the bread out in the backyard to ‘feed the animals.’)

I think in the dream she was trying to tell me something that she had found out once she made it to the other side of life. “Make sure it has some juice on it.” Don’t just swallow what you think you have to swallow, make sure it tastes good. Don’t turn your back on something that is old and stale, look it in the eye, take some control and make it taste good again. Make it your own.

Do you think she was talking about Italy? Perhaps to her and my mom and her brother and sisters, Italy was old and stale, full of sad memories of the war and poverty. But for me, if I put some juice on it, I can make it my own, make it taste good and make it home again.

 

Nonna Concetta and Zi'Adelina, Napoli, 1983
Nonna Concetta and Zi’Adelina, Napoli, 1983