Sean\’s Sicily

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Posts Tagged ‘Notaio

Getting Married in Italy!

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So anyone who hasn’t realised, Sonia and I are getting married.  🙂

That’s the good news.  The bad news is now I have to deal with Italian bureaucracy.  After two years of successfully (largely) avoiding the organs of State, this is anything but a pleasant experience.  For the most part.  Yes, there are exceptions, generally speaking the actual clerks and officials are quite nice, but it’s the process that’s long, painful, tedious, and stressful.  Especially for Sonia, as she’s having to take care of most of it.  Oh the pleasures of being a non-citizen!

Firstly there’s the issue with the Nulla Osta.  Italy requires this for non-citizens.  Just to make sure I’m not already married in 18 different places.  I’m not sure why they care, but they do. 

Getting the Nulla Osta isn’t particularly hard, one just downloads the form, sends it off with €20, and the lovely people at the Department of Foreign Affairs take care of everything.  Thanks Peggy!

I’ve already written about how extremely lucky we were to find a notaio who actually knew what the law was and what he was doing, and didn’t even charge us for it.  It’s Sicilians like him who rescue the reputation of the island, when I’ve had a day full of people blocking paths and behaving badly.  So again, thanks to Notaio Vigneri.

So off went the Nulla Osta application, and off went Sonia to talk to her parish priest, Padre Longitano, who promptly informed her that we were already late and he needed the Nulla Osta immediately.  Bit of a communication lapse there, because the Irish embassy in Rome issue Nulla Osta one month in advance of the wedding, but usually the Italian guys need it 3 months in advance.  I guess most Irish people get married in the Irish collegiate in Rome and thus have an expedited process or something.

Anyway a call to the Embassy soon sorted it out – I sent off the required email, asking them to hurry the process along and send it directly to me (instead of the priest).  We even got a call-back confirming all the details before they printed it out and sent it.  Great stuff – Sonia remains very impressed with the speed and professionalism of Irish bureaucrats!  I said “I told you so!” and left it at that.

Anyway next stop, Padre Longitano again, who took all the forms (my long-form birth certificate, the Nulla Osta, the certificate from the Pre-Marriage course, an inspection of my passport and €10)  and gave us two notices to hand out, one for the local priest where I live, and the other for the Commune.

The local priest was a doddle (the church is in fact a donated villa and very plush too, thank you…) and the Commune wasn’t much harder, despite this bitch who asked Sonia questions and them promptly jumped the queue.  Anyway once I’d satisfied the clerks that I understood Italian, and that Co. Roscommon and Co. Galway were proper places of residence (here they use the city or commune) they where happy to proceed.  And they promptly found that Galway was already registered on their system as a place of residence, as apparently there’s another Irish bloke here in Catania that married a Sicilian girl.  Wow, I’m not all that unique so??

So now we have to go back to both the local church and the Commune on March 10th, get receipts to say that they’ve published the notices for the required two Sundays, and we can go to Padre Longitano and he’ll give us something to take to the Curia.  And then on April 26th we can attend the Commune with witnesses to do the civil ceremony, and that’s that.

Except for the big white wedding of course. 

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Written by seancasaidhe

February 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

How much will an English-speaking Notaio charge for a signature?

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One of the perils of living in Italy is the endless beaurocracy.  The lines.  Taking a number and waiting your turn.  The paperwork.  The forms.  The lines.  The correct way of doing things, and the quick way (if you know the right people).

Getting married, of course, is no different.  One of the many forms I have to produce is the Nulla Osta, saying that I’m free to get married (not already being married to some other unlucky lass).  Which is easy enough, I just download the form from the Department of Foreign Affairs at home.  I even have the name of the extremely helpful lady in the department who looks after these things (here’s a shoutout to Peggy Dingley!).  There is a catch though.  Of course there is!

The form comes with a statutory declaration, which needs to be authenticated.  In Italy that means a Notaio.  But does it?  Sonia had her doubts.  So I called up the Embassy and got a call back from another helpful lady (what is it about Irish civil servants and helpfulness?  Are they insane?  They clearly went to a different orientation class than their Italian counterparts!) who explained that an Italian notary is perfectly acceptable.  Except…

“Most of them won’t do it because the form is in English”

And in fact we called up a local notary who refused point-blank to authenticate anything in English.  The secretary did however point us to a notary in Catania city centre who might help.

So Sonia and I went along one rainy evening to Via Carcaci and ended up in front of the very same crumbling palace where recently we’d been to a food exhibition.  Deja Vu!  In fact I’d noticed a sign for a notary public there and thought “jeez, that guy must be around for decades!” and had visions of an ancient guy behind a huge desk, with towers of dusty paperwork files all over the place, like a film noir.

Anyway the office of Notaio Vigneri were nothing like what I’d imagined.  After waiting an age for the secretary to finish on the phone, she informed us that the notaio would authenticate a foreign-language document, that we should complete it and return when we were done.  So Sonia (clever Sonia) asked “So if we complete it now, could Notaio Vigneri look at it today?”  Of course he could!  After another short wait we were introduced to Notaio Vigneri, a very distinguished looking gent about 60, who readily agreed and thus we were escorted to a beautiful library filled with at least 20 years of bound records. 

Meanwhile I started thinking “Hang on, how much is this gonna cost?” I was thinking €50, or maybe €60.  Sonia laughed.  She was thinking in the hundreds.  Hundreds of euro for a signature?? I coulda got a plane to Dublin!  I should have gotten a plane to Dublin!  Damn.

Notaio Vigneri took us into his office, a big room full of dark antique furniture and a massive desk.  Not a dusty pile of paper in sight.  He read the document and fill out his part and give it to another secretary to type up.  As he went out of the room, this second secretary asked me to look at what she had typed to make sure it was ok.  I gave it the once over and scratched out a line (“or has been identified to me by ___ who is personally known to me”), but Sonia admonished me “No, he left that in, so leave it alone!”  Oh, ok.

When Notaio Vigneri returned, he scrutinised the secretary’s handiwork – and scratched out the same line!  Then he corrected a few spelling mistakes – in English mind you – and grammer errors.  The secretary looked at me with daggers in her eyes!  Sonia died trying not to laugh – the poor secretary was probably hoping that I would save her from public embarrassment, and I’d failed completely.  Oh well.

So the corrected document arrived, got stamped, got signed, all done, thank you.  Notaio Vigneri talked to us briefly about why I was in Sicily, work or what?  I pointed at Sonia and said “For her” and Sonia melted.  🙂  I mentioned that the Embassy had said it might be difficult to get a notaio to authorise the document, and he explained an old law meant that Notai could only authorise documents in Italian, but that had been repealed several years ago and now a notaio is allowed to authorise documents in any language, but most notai are still reluctant to do so for various reasons.

After all that, we were again at the reception desk and asked the secretary for the bill.  The Notaio popped out of his office in a flash.

“Oh no, I said you could go.”  Sonia didn’t quite understand so he went on; “Nothing.  Congratulations for your wedding!”

Sonia insisted on paying but he refused.  I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I shook his hand, said “Grazie, Notaio”, and scarpered.

Afterwards we spoke to Sergio who confirmed that for something like this, a Notaio could ask for up to €500.

So here’s a big thanks to Notaio Vignere, Via Caraci, Catania.  If you need a helpful notaio in Catania who speaks excellent English, we’re recommending him.  Because sometimes, when I’m tired of being the stupid foreigner that everyone rips off at every turn, someone like Notaio Vigneri reminds me that the average Sicilian has a huge heart, just like my Sonia.

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