Che dobbiamo fare…?

It was a frustrating morning of government offices, but in the end we got more accomplished than expected. We’ve been waiting on our registered housing contract so that we could take the next steps in getting stay permits for myself and G. Cinformi had told us to go to the Povo Technical Office with our registered contract in order to apply for a Certificate of Housing Suitability, without which we can’t file our visa applications. So, having *finally* received our housing contract yesterday, we set out at 9:00 for Povo Civic Center, where we hoped to find the office in question. It turns out the Povo Technical Office doesn’t exist, because Povo Civic Center directed us to the central Technical Office of Trento, which is two bus rides away. As we left the Civic Center with a new address in hand, we saw our first bus drive away.

An hour later we arrived at “Via Brennero Top Center,” which is a large mall and office complex in the Trento suburbs. It’s also across the street from Cinformi, so we know the area well. Once at the address, however, we could not find the mysterious Technical Office. After 45 minutes of searching, we discovered that the main mall elevator goes to a rooftop parking lot, and in the midst of this parking lot is a large government building. Yes, the office we were looking for was in a second building ON TOP OF the building at Top Center.

We took a number.

15 minutes later, we went into an office and expressed in limited Italian that we needed the Certificato di idonietà allogiativa. There was some confusion at first because he spoke no English and we speak only baby-food vocabulary Italian. He eventually picked a form and had us fill it out, but it was soon discovered that we didn’t have everything we needed to apply for our certificate. You need an official map of your apartment issued by the land registry office (Ufficio Catasta), which is in another building — luckily across the street and not across town.

And here’s another stroke of luck. The Trento utilities company had earlier in the week given us some forms to take to the same land office. Otherwise, there’s no way we would have recognized the word Catasta, nor would this man’s vague pointing have given us any sense of where to go.

We hurried across the street to the most well-marked office in Trento. That is, there’s a sign on the outside of the building AND in the elevator AND on the office door. Amazing! The line here was just two people long but was another 20 minute wait. During this time, I half-translated a sign next to the desk which said something to the extent of “In order to request an Apartment Map you must have the **something something** from the building owner,” so I was pretty sure we weren’t going to be able to get the map required by the guy in the building on top of the building across the street, because whatever **something something** is, we didn’t have it.

When it was our turn, we started with the easy part — handing the man behind the desk the forms our utility company had given us. The lower part had to be filled out by the land registry and the upper part by us. To fill out the Catasta portion, the employee had to look up our official apartment map on the computer. This took some time because he found our building easily but kept pulling up the wrong apartment units. Once we had *our* apartment map in front of us, he filled out the forms. THEN, J broached the subject of our Certificato di idonientà allogiativa by showing him one of the forms from the Technical Office. The man very helpfully filled in part of the form for us, smiled, and handed it back. I then attempted a new phrase I’d looked up the night before: “Che dobbiamo fare...” or “What must we do to…” and finished off my phrase with “Planimetria dell’Immobile”: apartment map!

This was when I expected him to point to the sign and tell us to get **something something** from our landlord. Nope! He pulled our map right back up on the computer, printed it out, charged us 6€ and that was that! We have no idea why we didn’t need the **something something** that was clearly underlined as obligatory on the sign. J suspects that since we had our housing contract and the utility forms with us, it was obvious that we lived there and so this employee wasn’t too concerned about the requirements. I suspect that the smiles and giggles he was getting from Miss G may have paved the way.

It was now 11:26 and the Technical Office closes at noon. J raced back across the street (G + stroller + self were slower), grabbed another number, and soon we were all back in the office with the same guy, who looked rather stunned that we had returned so quickly with exactly the piece of paper he required. I suspect such efficiency may well be unprecedented, especially for non-Italian speakers wading through the murky system.

At noon we walked out of the office with a receipt. Our Certificate of Housing Suitability should arrive by mail in about 20 days. At least, that’s what we think he said.


About JGR

I'm a writer and college instructor traveling the world with my husband and two young daughters. After eight moves in eleven years, in 2014 we decided to plant new roots in Fort Collins, Colorado. Time to buy bicycles and teach the girls how to ride!
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2 Responses to Che dobbiamo fare…?

  1. Jeremy says:

    This is bringing back strong memories of bureaucracy in Romania. I'm sure the Italians would hate to hear that comparison, but I can definitely tell some stories that hinge around the last possible thirty minutes that I could turn in a form and running between offices to pay several trivial taxes and produce a whole run of paperwork I never knew I needed. The similarities, I mean to say, are real. In any case, this seems like a tiring, but ultimately successful foray into the offices of Trento! I'm sure many have failed before you! (And wow, do I know that look of surprise you received when you did something with efficiency! They don't ever expect someone to *get things done*!


  2. JFixbi says:

    Well, believe me, comparing to Russian – Italian bureaucracy is really cute and humanistic 🙂

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