So about six years after our original vision to move to Italy – the vision turns to reality.
Early 2020 we were due to go to South Africa for a few months and were then planning our move to Italy for later in 2020. A little pandemic called Covid-19 put paid to our plans. We spent 2 years in Brisbane which had the benefit that we could spend time with Glenda’s mother. It also gave us an opportunity to travel extensively around Queensland given that we could not even leave the State, much less the country.
Towards the end of 2021 it was time to turn our vision into reality. Australia was still locked down but we were expecting borders to open soon. Knowing the process required to apply for Visas was complicated, we got down to getting our application completed. The single biggest hurdle was the requirement to have a registered lease for a property before applying for the Visa. Without going into the challenges of organising a lease from abroad for a Stranieri (foreigner), I’m glad to report Glenda was able to find us a nice apartment in Florence.
With a lease, medical insurance and flights booked we were able to book an appointment with the Italian Consulate to apply for our long stay Visa’s. This process normally takes up to 4 weeks. In our case (I think due to Glenda’s sweet talking), we got our Visa’s on the same day we applied.
We sold our car, packed our 6 suitcases (plus hand luggage) and drove down to Sydney in a hire car for our flight to Rome. The drive down was very wet, Australia is in the midst of floods. So different to the last time we drove to Sydney which was just after extensive bush fires. With our flight leaving at 6am, we stayed at the airport hotel. Up at 3am we were soon checked in and had long but uneventful flights to Rome.
We arrived in Rome at 9pm and so stayed over at the Airport Hotel. The next morning after breakfast, we hired a car to drive to Florence. Another wet drive – what is it with all this rain. Getting into our apartment was fun – without a phone we could not contact the agency that we were letting from. Anyway, we managed to find a local that we could ask to contact the agency and soon were checked in.
Our first impression of the apartment is that it is bigger than expected. We knew it was small (50m2). Somehow it feels bigger and we have been able to fit in all our stuff. We will be happy here. Not enjoying the cold wet weather. This is supposed to be spring and we have temperatures of 1 and 2 degrees going up to around 15. Together with a lot of rain, not the welcome we hoped for. At least our home is warm and light.
The visa is the first step. The next important step is applying for a residence permit. Easier said than done. We have visited 6 Post Offices trying to get the application forms. None of them have any. Given we only have 8 days to submit our application, things are now getting tight. No doubt we will get there in the end. Watch this space for the next instalment.