Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to Successfully Obtain Fingerprinting in Italy as US Citizen Preparing for an Italian Citizenship Request

After over a decade of living and working in Italy, I decided to ask for Italian citizenship.  The beaucracy is not fast or easy to navigate, especially as a US citizen not visiting my country during this process.

Since I didn't find the exact information online I needed to help me with the step of getting fingerprints in Italy to send to the FBI for a criminal background check, I would like to share the solution I pioneered here in Padua to help others in the future.

There has been a problem with the fingerprinting being that the FBI requires US citizens to send their prints to an address in West Virginia on an individual basis.  The information and forms for this service, what the FBI calls the Identity History Summary Checks, can be found on the following page:
However the Italian questura (police station), at least in my city of Padua, was refusing to leave me, the US citizen, with her fingerprint card after they had been taken.  They insisted that they would only be able to send those fingerprints to the US consulate or embassy.  Meanwhile, I verified that the US consulate and embassy do not want to receive the fingerprints or be directly involved in this process since it relates to Italian citizenship and not US requirements.  They basically don't want the extra hassle of sending the fingerprints to the FBI, plus there is the problem of how to pay the FBI for the summary check separately from providing the fingerprints, in that case. I would have had to travel to Milan and visit the US consulate to get back what had been taken in person in Padua, for no good reason.  That would have been ridiculous.

After repeated failed attempts and weeks of phoning and visiting the questura (with a small baby in toe!!) the following solution was found:  I gave the questura a standard document that the US consulate usually provides which explains that the consulate cannot perform fingerprinting due to the lack of proper facilities, PLUS, an email which was sent directly between the US consulate and the questura in which the consulate gives a nulla osta for the questura to be able to give me the fingerprint card after performing the fingerprinting.  The Italians want to have the US government allow me, an individual US citizen, to handle this process on my own.  The explanation on the FBI website was not official enough for their purposes.

In the end the wording for the nulla osta sent by the consulate was the following in my case:

A richiesta dell'interessata, si comunica che in base alle normative del Dipartimento di Stato, il Consolato Generale degli Stati Uniti d'America di Milano non รจ autorizzato a ricevere o inoltrare corrispondenza per conto di cittadini americani.
Pertanto, nulla osta da parte di questo Consolato alla consegna a mano delle impronte in oggetto alla Signora (nome) da parte di codesta On. Questura.

Distinti saluti
American Citizens Services Unit
US Consulate General Milan, Italy

Standard document provided by US consulate wording:

To whom it may concern (A chi di competenza)

This is to declare that this Consulate General is not authorized to take fingerprints and does not have the necessary equipment.  

U.S. citizens in need of fingerprinting services should therefore contact Italian authorities for assistance.

[Si dichiara che questo Consolato Generale non e’ autorizzato a rilevare impronte digitali e non dispone dell'attrezzatura necessaria.

Pertanto, i cittadini americani che necessitano di tale servizio dovranno rivolgersi alle autorita' italiane.]

Once all this was gathered and brought to the questura, I was able to get my fingerprints and take them home the same day.  Of course, there was a problem at the questura about how to clean my inked hands since there was no soap available for the general public in the bathrooms - but we eventually solved that problem too!

The FBI processed the prints in the time written on their site.

Hopefully with this information, other Americans can more quickly and successfully get their fingerprints taken while in Italy to start this process of obtaining Italian citizenship.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New Baby - New Business

A year after having given birth to my lovely son, Adriano, I am launching a new line of art services. He inspired me.

I am offering my services in painting custom watercolor portraits of children and animals from photographs.  I currently have a shop listing for easy ordering and payment on ETSY.  Please take a look.

Soon I will be back with new posts.  It's been an intense year!

 portrait of a child with background

portrait of a dog

Monday, October 7, 2013

Finishing my "Interesting State"

Sono in uno stato interessante.

Literally translated: I am in an interesting state.
Meaning: I am pregnant.

Yes, my baby was due to be born yesterday. I am waiting to end this interesting state called pregnancy and meet my first child.  It is interesting because it's so unique in the life of a woman, where her belly is inhabited.

This can also explain my total absence from the blog over the last several months.

I have found this Italian expression quite curious, when especially Italian men refer to my growing belly this way as in, "Sei in uno stato interessante?"

It has been a wonderful 9 months, until just recently.  I was really lucky to have had very little morning sickness or problems associated with pregnancy. Only now at the very end am I suffering some bad consequences.  My liver has started to have problems working for the both of us: mother and son.  My recent blood tests and severe itching all over my body have signaled the malaise over the past three weeks.  I am very much looking forward to giving birth - not only to end the physical problems but also to meet this new human being who will be my son.

This waiting is trying. I am ready. Work is finished. The nursery is set-up and decorated. Everyone is on alert. We just need Mr. Bimbo to make his big move.

Dai, forza bimbo! Vieni fuori!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cittadella Inaugurates the Full Wall Walkabout

In Italian, Cittadella's medieval wall walkabout is called Camminamento di Ronda delle Mura.

After twenty years of slow-and-steady restoration, the full circle is ready to open to the public the first week of June. Festivities will begin on the first of the month for nine days.

For a list of events (in Italian), click here.

This wall dates back to about 1220 and wraps around 1460 meters (0.90 mile) to circle the city. The walking area on the wall is 13 meters (42 ft.) high and offers a fantastic glimpse of this small and well-kept city from above. You can peek down and see gardens, the amphitheater and marvel at the girth of the city's cathedral rising from the center of Cittadella. There are 5 doors to the city and the moat still exists. There is an archeological museum to visit as part of your ticket to walk around the walls and the display of medieval weaponry at the entrance to the museum is fun for the whole family to look at.

Cittadella is located 36 km (22 mi.) north of Padua and can be reached using the SITA buses, if you don't have a car. Free car parking is located just outside of the walls at Porta Padova.  For SITA hours, click here.

 Last week, I was able to walk the current 3/4 of the camminamento that is open now on a glorious spring day.

near Porta Bassano


 view from Porta Padova

Dante Alighieri made reference to the terrible dungeon built in Porta Padova by Ezzelino da Romano in 1251 in his trilogy of the Divina Commedia.

the most obvious section of the restoration which recovered the missing area of wall west of Porta Bassano

Tickets cost Euro 7 per person

Hours vary summer and winter:
1 November - 31 March
Mon-Fri 9 a.m. - 1 p.m./ 2 - 4 p.m. (last entrance 45 minutes before closing)
Tuesdays closed
Sat-Sun 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
1 April - 31 October

Mon-Fri 9 a.m. - 1 p.m./ 2 - 6 p.m. (last entrance 45 minutes before closing)
Tuesdays closed
Sat-Sun 9 a.m. - 1p.m./ 3 - 7 p.m.

Ufficio IAT Cittadella
Porte Bassanesi, 2
35015 Cittadella
Tel. 049-9404485
Fax. 049-5972754

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Artist's Book, IN COMUNE, Dedicated to Padua's City Hall

You may have already read about and looked at my artist's book to be experienced on a gondola in Venice, Gondola Ride Kit, but there's another edition I've dedicated to Padua: IN COMUNE.


The site-specific artist's book focuses on some points in Palazzo Moroni (Padua's City Hall) and invites visitors to perceive each place differently. The artist's three card stock pages encourage visitors to avoid a hurried or careless passing, and instead experience some of the Palazzo's places, focusing on them to discover their purpose, identiy a new meaning or simply learn something about a typical routine there. The passing-by can therefore be a moment of reflection or a pause - a time which is given a new quality. The benches or windows in the Palazzo can offer both visitors - and resident workers - a different point of view to observe the space they are experiencing.

 Front cover

The book instructs the reader to go to specific locations, illustrated by the pencil drawings, and read the corresponding written material on the back side of each card. The themes range from humorous, to romantic and historical.

 First page, drawing and text on back

 Second page, drawing and text on back

Third page, drawing and text on back

The work was commissioned for the exhibition, Gemine Muse, in 2007. Curated by Guido Bartorelli and Teresa Iannotta. Bilingual edition of 1000 copies.

Back cover

IN COMUNE is on sale on ETSY. Click here to get your copy.  Not many copies are left!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mosaics to the Limit!

The entrance to this curious residence

There is a town exactly halfway between Padua and Venice called Dolo. It's mostly famous for its prime location along the Brenta river, which boasts some of the most beautiful Veneto villas such as Malcontenta and Villa Pisani. Yet tucked away and on the other side of the Brenta, I have come across a different kind of fantastic home. It's superlative in another way: for its mosaic work.

At Via Brenta Bassa 43, a man has toiled his whole life to cover the inside and outside of his house with tiles, mosaics, and odd and even kitsch sculptures. Here is a glimpse of the fruits of his labor.

Street view

Detail of mosaics and sculptures

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Flurry of Work

Everyone knocks Italy as the place where little business gets done, but just wait for the holidays to end and you've got more than your share of job requests and urgent emails. It's January 7th, the day after the Epiphany which officially ends the Italian holiday season that begins with Christmas, and I have two new jobs confirmed. They want me to start this week, as in request on Monday morning and start work on Friday afternoon.

Maybe it's a bit of the "Northern" attitude. Italians are always comparing the North to the South.

What I love about the holiday season in the bel paese is that it's long. Two weeks. In the US, that's a luxury to say the least - anytime of year - except for teachers in the public school system. In that time, I was able to spend time with relatives, eat my fair share of all kinds of holiday food, drink plenty of wine and prosecco and devour cakes, cookies and chocolate. In between decadent sessions with food, I went snowshoeing, ice climbing, did some photography and read deep into my current book: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace. The last activity is more of a challenge than a pleasure considering its girth and sometimes its subject matter, but I am thrilled with my progress and the book's contents. I am actually a slow reader, which makes it all the more laborsome sometimes.

A big cheer for new job opportunities after a leisurely and extended series of feste.

Buon lavoro!