My Car In Italy

My Car In Italy

Once our residency came through, we knew we had 30 days to get rid of our car and replaced with an Italian one or change the registration and make our car an Italian citizen.
So off we went with all the documents needed to the agency that looks after car stuff equipped with car registration, IDs, code fiscale, residency cert, driver’s licence.
Next to the photocopier sits a small thin woman in her 60s, with her hair pinned up on top of her head and silvery blue eye liner. She has a kind face. Her son, who is about 20, is a good-looking chap, with soft brown eyes and light brown hair and ready to be helpful.
He acts as a translator for us with his pidgin English and my wren-sized Italian.
She answers all our questions… the age of the car is not an issue, of course you can change the 13-year-old car… It will cost about 800-1000 euro to do the change over… And she would get working on it straight away… It will take a month to come through…
The woman creates a cardboard file for us with all our photocopied stuff in it, ID, Code fiscale, Car registration, Car insurance.
“Everything is in order, but…” her son says, translating to Ronan what his mother needs from him.
“Your cock is missing. She needs your cock.”
Ronan looks down at his trousers.
“What is a cock?” I tentatively ask trying to stop my wobbling mouth by not looking at Ronan.
“It is the document that has all the specifics of the make of the car. The certified copy would have been given when the car was sold to you.”
“We bought the car second hand five years ago, and it was already eight years old then, so I think his cock may have disintegrated by now or lost along the way.”
“We can get you a new cock in Italian for €230 or you can order one online for less.”
“Does it need to be in Italian?”
“No.”
“Well then, we’ll do it online. We’ll be back.”
We returned home and Ronan googles car cocks and after some surprising results; he finds what he is looking for.
“We can order one online for 85 euro, just like they said. But I got a brainwave to contact Toyota. They knew exactly what we were looking for and within minutes had taken details of the car and the document is now in the post free of charge.”
The document arrives in the post within days and Ronan goes straight to the agency with it. The lady took two photocopies of Ronan’s cock, which he is very proud of as he got it for nothing, and adds them to our file.
Car insurance was the next thing I wanted to check before making a final decision. Even though I had been driving 30 years without an incident, they said my no claims bonus from Ireland would not be recognised in Italy, so it would be like starting off again as a first time driver. In Ireland, insurance for a first time driver can cost thousands.
“They have to recognise your no claims bonus, it’s EU law,” Ronan surprises me sometimes with his random knowledge of law and regulations.
“Tell that to the Italian government, I dare you.” Orientating our way around legal stuff and bureaucracy is something we both became quite skilled at in Ireland but in a country with an alien language we don’t have a hope in hell of knowing where to start to argue this point.
So I braced myself and sent an email off to the woman who organised our house insurance to give me a rough estimate for car insurance. Once we had this quote, we could weigh up the costs of every option again and make an informed decision.
“Ronan, you are not going to believe the car insurance estimate they just sent. Go on, guess?” Ronan is PC (pre coffee) and not in the mood for guessing games.
“I dunno, 50 thousand, two thousand?”
“No, €450! She would need the full details of the car, a road worthiness cert and it to be Italian registered before going ahead. I couldn’t believe it. All this time I thought it was going to be ridiculously expensive, but it is costing the same, actually a bit less than our insurance in Ireland.”
“Wow,” even PC Ronan was impressed. “So decision made, it’s full steam ahead with making our car an Italian citizen.”
The following day Ronan is closing the plastic boot of the car and a whole section cracks off in his hand. He superglues it back together and hopes for the best. It’s then I notice the small print on the insurance quote. It is for six months, not per year. So it is, in fact, double the cost of my Irish insurance.
It all goes downhill from there.
(Edited extract from A Rosie Life In Italy 3)
The Twelfth Night

The Twelfth Night

According to folklore we are currently in the most magical time of the year – the twelve days between Christmas and the Epiphany. It was believed witches were most present at this time especially on the twelfth night (remember your Shakespeare?) – The eve of the Epiphany – it, the 5th January, was considered the most magical night of the year, when wishes could be made and the future could be predicted through ‘signs’ and games.

In some parts of Italy an olive tree leaf, thrown into the fire could tell you if your wish would come through or not. If it took long to burn your wish would be fulfilled. However if instead it burned too quickly, it was hard luck try again next year and a sign to adjust your wishes.

It was the night girls would place three broad beans in various stages of being peeled, under their pillow and believed they would see their future husbands in their dreams.

In the morning they would reach under their pillow and pull out a bean. If it was the the fully peeled one then it meant the groom would be rich, if it was the unpeeled one he would be poor and the half-peeled one indicated he’d be something in the middle.

Christmas spirit starts later in Italy than other parts of the western world but lasts longer and it is much less commercialised.

They tend to wait until the 6th December to turn on the Christmas lights and the celebrations go on until the 6th January with the night of the 5th January, being the favourite for kids as it is the night the Befana comes.

I was first told about La Befana a few years ago by a baker.

“What the hell is that?” I said pointing at the pile of dark grey lumps piled in the basket on the counter of the bakery.

“It is Carbone, made from sugar,” the baker smiles as he packs up my cream cakes. “If you are bad, La Befana leaves them for you.”

“La Befana?”

“I think you call her a witch?”

He points to the smiling puppet witch sitting on her broomstick  hanging from the shelf.

It turns out that La Befana is a happy smiling old lady,  who rides around on her broomstick comes down the chimney and leaves candy and presents for good children and a lump of coal if they are bad. A glass of wine and some food is left out for the Befana. It all sounds familiar doesn’t it? As with so many pagan traditions and idols, when Christian gaslighting became all the rage, La Befana’s action were absorbed into Santa and the lady herself absorbed into a biblical story.

The legend now stands that the three wise men stopped at her home over night on their way to finding the infant Jesus. She was known to be the best housekeeper in the village so the choice of house was natural. They all got on so well that the lads invited her along on their adventure but naturally after having three men stay in her house she felt had too much housework to do.

But later in the day she said “feck it, life is too short to miss out on such an invitation”, so she jumped on her broomstick and tried to catch up with them and see the baby they were so excited about. To this day, La Befana is searching for the lads and the baby. While searching she leaves all the good children toys and sweets, while the bad children get coal (‘carbone’), onions or garlic.

Anyone who sees La Befana will receive a thump from her broomstick – a rumour created to keep children in their beds. This scare tactic was not absorbed by Santa Claus, which is unfortunate as it’s one of my favourites.

The ancient Italians seemed keen to scare their kids into sleeping, as this ‘lullaby’ translated to english would indicate:

Ninnaò, ninnaò,
Who will I give this child to?
If I give it to the Befana
she will keep him one whole week.
If I give it to the Bogey Man
he will keep him one whole year.
But if the child goes to slee
then his mother will him keep.”

Of course the Italian christians tried to get rid of the idea of a loved ‘witch’. On the morning of 6th January, sacristans would go from house to house leaving the ‘Bboffe water’, which was to be sprinkled around the house to keep witches away. Which was a bit late on their part since La Befana would have been and gone the night before. 

So get your beans, coal and olive leaves ready for the last Christmas celebration Italian style, but forget the Bboffe water, the world could do with the help of a few good witches now.

Win 2 nights at Agriturismo La Dogana for you and a friend

Win 2 nights at Agriturismo La Dogana for you and a friend

To celebrate the launch of ‘A Rosie Life In Italy 2’ I have two nights in Agriturismo La Dogana (thanks to Lucia!) for you and a friend plus a lakeside lunch with me!

Every Prosecco point gets you an entry. You can enter with 1 point or you can gain up to 10 entries with up to 10 points.

The more points the more chances you have to win!

1 Prosecco point = 1 entry

10 Prosecco points = 10 entries

Here’s what to do to get Prosecco Points:

Like and share the launch event on Facebook. It’s on my page @A Rosie Life In Italy  (1 Prosecco point)

Attend the launch (live on Sunday at 5pm CET), invite a friend by tagging them in. (1 Prosecco point)

Write a review of ‘A Rosie Life In Italy 2’ on Amazon or Goodreads by Friday morning 8am CET. (2 Prosecco points)

Sign up for my newsletter (if you are already on my newsletter you will gain these points. (2 Prosecco points)

Answer the questions I send out in my newsletter on Tuesday (2 Prosecco points)

Post a photo of you with a copy of A Rosie Life In Italy 2 on Facebook or Instragram and use the hashtag #arosielifeinitaly or tag @arosielifeinitaly (2 Prosecco points).

The winner will be announced on Friday 19th November in my newsletter and on Facebook. (Staying at Dogana is subject to availability and the prize is non transferable. The vacation can be taken in during 2022).

Main Bedroom Progress

Main Bedroom Progress

Have you got to chapter 35 in ‘A Rosie Life In Italy 2’ yet? The part where I’m finding it hard to breath because of  the four varieties of fungus growing on the bedroom wall and ceiling? We have been working on that room and we are well on the way to having it finished. The ceiling has been replastered, the metal beams exposed and painted copper, we’ve exposed some of the stone wall in the corner, cleaned the ancient terracotta tiles, cleaned off the mould and painted the walls (cream). The light shade is brass and we are buying a secondhand brass bed today. The freestanding bath will be pushed more into the corner–Imagine it with a tall leafy plant behind it and some candles dotted around the stone work.

My  question to you is… we have inside shutters but should I put curtains? And it so what colour and what colour should the bed cover should I get? I will need to buy both online so if you find a link to something beautiful please do share!