Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting Leonardo’s birth certificate

I purposely avoided to complain too much about the Italian inefficiencies and about the Italian bureaucracy (except in a few cases*), partially because it is an overworked topic, and partially because it is a bit like ‘shooting to the Red Cross’ (Italian expression which I don’t know whether it can be translated). But I want to share this episode…

In order to enroll Leonardo to the Italian National Health System, I needed a birth certificate. And in Italy to get a birth certificate, you need to be resident.

Now, Italy is the only country I know where in order to be registered as resident, it is not sufficient to bring a lease agreement or a utility bill in your name and with your home address as a proof of residence. In fact it is necessary that a ‘vigile’ (an urban policeman) comes to your home to certify you declared the truth.

Now, you may remember we had some troubles back in August to register Leonardo’s birth at the Rome General Registry Office**. But as the General Registry Office is also the office in charge of registering your residence, we shot two birds with one stone, and at the time we registered Leo’s birth, we also registered him as resident in Rome.

So I can’t deny I got quite annoyed today when, at the General Registry Office, I was told that unfortunately it was not possible to get a copy of Leonardo’s birth certificate because his residence had not yet been verified by the vigili.

And when I politely pointed out to the lady at the counter that it has been more than three months that we have been waiting for the vigili, she replied: “Well, they must have been very busy”…

I lived and worked in Africa, in India, and now in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and, well, I don’t want to say that the bureaucracies there are better, but well…

(*) and



  1. Se ci vai tra un po' a sollecitarli, ti diranno che, a causa della crisi e dei tagli di personale, sono sotto organico.
    Se ci vai ancora dopo, ti diranno che non capiscono come sia potuto succedere, ma che verificheranno che la tua pratica non sia andata persa.
    Poi ti diranno che non hanno ancora ricevuto i documenti di Mathilde dalla Francia e che i tuoi giacciono tra Segrate e Roma.
    Poi ti diranno che il vigile è uscito, ma che non ha trovato nessuno a casa e quindi non ha potuto accertare l'effettiva residenza della famiglia e di Leo.
    Poi ti diranno che c'è un conflitto tra il certificato di nascita francese e quello italiano.
    Poi nel frattempo magari avrai conosciuto la cognata dell'amica dell'impiegata dell'anagrafe, a cui avrai esposto il tuo problema e dopo due giorni finalmente il vigile arriverà...

  2. per allora credo (spero) ci saremo gia' traferiti in vietnam...

  3. state bboni che mo arivo!

  4. er pizzardone, chiunque tu sia, vieni presto a salvarci, che in questi giorni alle prese con la burocrazia italiana sto mettendo a dura prova la mia flemma zen...

  5. If that can make you feel better, in Belgium as well a "urban policeman" comes to check you are really living where you said you are. Sometimes it is enough for them to see your name on the letterbox, but sometimes they come inside, check the number of toothbrushes in your bathroom, open your closet, your fridge (do not ask me why!...), etc...
    Weird european countries... Congo was much easier indeed in a way ;-)

  6. ok, in belgium there is the same rule.

    but how long does it take in belgium for an urban policeman to check your residence? certainly less than 3 months.

    and by the way, we don't know when the urban policemen will come to our place. it can be tomorrow, but it can also be in three months or in six more months...

  7. statte calmo e non me mette fretta: se ho detto che arivo, arivo. Quando? E chenne so?

  8. ao', pizzardone, datte 'na mossa che tra poco leo e' maggiorenne. da milanese ti dico che se fossimo a milano el ghisa sarebbe gia' venuto e avrebbe gia' fatto...