Posts Tagged ‘Expats in Italy’

Marrying a Foreigner, Part II: Logistics and Practicality

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Earlier this week I noted some tips and hints for adjusting to life when you are married to a foreigner, and many of my expat friends weighed in with their own experiences. While adjusting to your new life and learning to merge your cultures is always a good thing, getting to that point might not be easy.

No, I’m not talking about falling in love and the inevitable, if only temporary, long-distance relationship, I’m talking about the practical side of marrying someone from another country.

While the rules and regulations vary widely depending on each person’s nationality, where you get married and where you decide to live, the following sites should get you started. Note: I am an American woman married to an Italian man, therefore, most of the following examples are based on my experiences with these countries.

Marrying a Foreigner

1. Websites

Official (and well-researched unofficial) websites are a prime source of information for people wishing to marry an Italian. Here are few sites you might find helpful.

UK in Italy

US Department of State Naples: Marriage of a US Citizen

Travel.State.Gov: Marriage in Italy Italian Dual Citizenship Marrying and Sponsoring an Italian

2. Forums

While official websites are a great source of logistical information, forums are usually visited by people who’ve been there and offer a great combination of practical know-how and useful tips. Some helpful forums and topics include:

Expat Forum: Marrying an Italian

Expat Forum: Marrying an American

Immigration Marrying an Italian

Expats in Italy: Getting Married Forum

Expats in Italy: Atto Notorio

3. Blogs

While many bloggers visit forums and talk about their experiences marrying a foreigner there, they also write blog posts and articles on their sites. Some particularly helpful expats I’ve come across include:

Ms. Adventures in Italy (My personal go-to expat when I was marrying my own Italian in 2007.)

From Australia to Italy (My Calabria-based counterpart who is chronicling  her marriage to an Italian.)

ReallyRome (A Really great resource on, among other things, marrying an Italian.)

Moving2Italy2 (Extensive resource on moving to Italy, with a section on marrying an Italian.)

It is important to note that each case is unique and there is no one size fits all when it comes to marrying someone from another country. Additionally, laws can change from year to year and Italian consulates, at least in the US, seem to have varying procedures, as well. It is always important to contact your local embassy or consulate before proceeding and get a detailed list of what you need to do before the Big Day. As in most cases when dealing with bureaucratic situations, it is a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time and an even better opportunity for you to practice your patience.

In bocca al lupo!

Do you know any other useful sites, forums or blogs for people wanting to marry a foreigner? If so, please leave them in the comments!

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photo: Life 123

Learning to Love Less

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I was visiting good friends last summer in Texas-we were sitting at one of our favorite Mexican cantinas, sipping on frozen lime margaritas, talking about the good ‘ole days and catching up on the last few years.

“I just love Italy,” one of my peppy ex-Sorority sisters gushed. “I could soooo see myself living there.”

I smiled as she gazed dreamily out the window, no doubt imagining herself strolling to the weekly market each Monday, sipping on stout Italian wine in the evenings, spending her days-riding on a Gondola or dining outside the Colosseum. She exhaled, “It’s just such a beautiful country.”

Not wanting to burst her idealized bubble of the life I’m leading, I politely agreed-because it is true, Italy is a beautiful country-and kept quiet. But secretly I wondered … could she really live here?

As my southern Italian counterpart pointed out last week, you can’t uproot your life back home and replant that baby here in Italy. It is a whole new country world and while we love it here, we’ve definitely learned to live without some of the luxuries of our American lifestyles.

Here are three things I’ve learned to love less here in Calabria.expat life-starbucks

1. Variety

You often hear people say, “Italians love food,” when in fact, what they mean is, “Italians love Italian food.” Especially here in Calabria, diversity, restaurant variety-heck, even a foreign food shelf-are had to come by. I’ve learned to live with this by importing my must-haves, like Velveeta cheese and Starbuck’s vanilla syrup, kicking up my personal non-Italian food recipe list and creating variety in the Italian food we eat and love.

2. Instant Access

One of the hardest things for me to get used to-if one could say I’ve gotten used to it-is learning to live without the instant access we are accustomed to in the US. There are no 24-hour pharmacies-actually, even finding an open pharmacy on Saturday or Sunday is a challenge, customer service calls regularly go un-answered-even during “working” hours and paperwork can take years to get approved.

Still, I believe I can learn something from these would-be frustrating experiences-and that, my friends, is patience. Italy has taught me patience in a way I never could have learned in the United States … and for that, I’m thankful.

expat life-gadgets

3. The Latest Greatest

No doubt if I lived in the US, I’d be on the i(insert latest gadget here) bandwagon. Being in southern Italy, far from the peer pressure that comes with having an office job and well-paid friends, I’m sheltered, in a way, from needing to have the latest, greatest gadget. Many expats in Italy have other priorities and luckily, keeping up with Rossis, isn’t one of them.

Tina and I have weighed in-now it is your turn. What have you learned to live without in your expat adventures?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photos: CarbonNYC and Ivyfield via Flickr

There’s More than Munchies in the Mezzogiorno

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Last week I wrote a post at my site, My Bella Vita, that was a spin-off of a post written here at ACC by my fellow expat-in-southern-Italy and travel blogging friend, Tina of Tina Tangos. My post, A Few Things to Love About Southern Italy caused quite a stir when it was posted on Facebook because, gosh darn it-three things to love just ain’t enough.

… or so they said.

Still, it is important to note that there are more than munchies in Italy’s Mezzogiorno. With that in mind, here are three southern Italy traditions I’ve grown to love!

1. Eating on Schedule

Yes, I said there are more than munchies, but that doesn’t mean food isn’t an integral part of our lives. Here in Calabria, we live (and die?) by our mealtime schedule. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner more or less at the same time every day-a routine I mourn for when stateside meals have me dashing through a Chic-Fil-A or filling up on frappuccinos.

Why is this important? I eat less and feel more satisfied here in Italy than I do when I’m in the states.

2. Walking is Expected

My husband was shocked the first time he visited me in Texas and noticed that I drove around a parking lot three times looking for a suitable spot.

“You just passed a row of empty places,” he told me.

“Yea,” I told him, oblivious to his intention. “But they are so far.”

“Cherrye,” he told me. “We are young … it’s not raining … we can walk.”

It seems obvious now, but willingness to walk is a cultural thing-one I’m glad I picked up on and have adapted into my life … even back home.

Just last Christmas, my mom, husband and I were rushing to finish our lists. We told Mom to drop us off on the street-because we could each walk where we needed to go quicker than we could battle pre-Christmas Eve traffic. She did. And yes, people looked at us strangely, but I’d gone to two stores and my husband had shopped in one in the same amount of time it took my mom to get through traffic and find a parking spot.

Why is this important? In addition to the obvious health benefits of walking , I feel stronger and have more energy when I walk often.

3. Finish up with Fruit

Ok, so maybe it *is* all about the food, but I love that we finish off every lunch and dinner with a serving of fresh fruit. Often this fruit is from our garden-oranges and mandarins in winter months, plums and figs in the summer, but sometimes we supplement with watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, strawberries and cherries. Delizioso!

Why is this important? I’ve found eating fruit after each meal helps me stay full longer and since I’m on a schedule, it ensures I get enough fresh fruit each day.

Wbat are some of your favorite traditions, food-related or not, in your new country?

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about living and traveling in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro, Italy.

Photo: flickr, by PhotoLab XL

Three Things Kids Love About Southern Italy

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I’ve written a bit, both here at ACC and at my website, My Bella Vita about my summer adventures with my nine year old nephew and my friend’s 14 year old son. While I expected them to fall in love with the “hot Italian chics”-their words, not mine, a few of their favorite things about southern Italy took me by surprise.

Here are the top three things (these) kids loved about southern Italy.

1. Calzonesexpat in italy-calzones

Maybe it should have been obvious, but I was seriously shocked by how much my nephew loved fried calzones.

Just last night, he asked for a repeat dinner-of the previous night’s calzones-gobbled the goods before we drove the one kilometer home, and asked us to go back for seconds.

Luckily for us here in Catanzaro, there is a great little pizzeria that sells these babies, fresh from the grease, for just €1.00 each, so he can have an “all you can eat” without breaking the bank.

2. Castlesexpat in italy-castles

It is important to know that southern Italy’s castles are not like the fairy tale castles of England, Germany or France.

Oh no, these castles have suffered invasions, attacks, earthquakes and years of abandonment, so oftentimes you are left with a shell of the castle’s former glory.

So, I was surprised by how much the boys enjoyed them. The castle they most enjoyed (seen above) is Murat Castle, located just off of the main piazza in Pizzo, Calabria. I’m not sure if it is the castle’s imposing presence on the Tyrrhenian, the mock soldiers inside or the idea of tough men fighting tougher wars, but they loved it.

3. Beachesexpat in italy-beaches

Ok, so I really kinda figured the boys would love the beaches, but I was still surprised at just. how. much.

Seriously, they couldn’t get enough of the creamy tan sand, frothy waves and blue-green waters of Calabria’s coastline.

In fact, they couldn’t settle on just one beach and instead urged me to take them on day trips so they could check out the beaches in other cities around the area. Their favorite-if not for the warm Tyrrhenian waters, then for the topless sunbather-was the beach (pictured above) just beneath the Murat Castle in Pizzo.

Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. You can read more about her adventures in Calabria at her site, My Bella Vita or visit her in person at her B&B in Catanzaro.

Photos:, Cherrye at My Bella Vita

Three Things I’d Take with Me if I Left Italy

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I’ve written a lot over the last few weeks about the things expats miss about home. As an expat in Italy, I always stock up on my American supplies … Velveeta, Ziploc bags, Big Red gum. But I’d know I’d miss Italy if I wasn’t here.

In fact, just last week I wrote about the things my husband and I would miss most about the bel paese if we left. But we’d also stock up.

Here are the top things we’d pack in our bags and take back with us if we lived in the US instead of Italy.

Divella Pasta

Yes, yes, yes … they sell pasta in America, but once you’ve tasted the real deal, and by that I don’t mean homemade pasta, but the dry pasta they sell in Italy, you wouldn’t settle for less, either.

Lately, we have been addicted to Divella pasta, a Pugliese brand pasta that keeps its al dente texture and tastes great with a variety of sauces.

We’d most definitely pack a bag full of assorted shapes and sizes to use in the US and to share with our American friends.

Aiello Coffee

We test-drove every Italian coffee imaginable when we opened our B&B, from Lavazza to Illy to Catanzaro’s own Guglielmo, but the winner was Cosenza-made (Calabrese) Aiello.

There is just something about that bright red bag and strong, robust flavor that keeps us coming back for more … and more … and more … .

And we’d definitely pack it up and take it with us if we ever left.

Kinder Surprise Eggs

While I could certainly live without the Kinder Sorpresa eggs that leave crying kids all over Italian supermarkets, my nine year old nephew couldn’t, so we’d have to pack a few boxes to hold him over until our next trip to Italy.

In fact, it is the one thing he requests each time we visit.

Hey, expats, what would you take back with you to the US if you no longer lived in your adopted country?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Continental Food UK, Wikipedia Commons and Sweets 2 UK

Top Three Things I’d Miss if I Left Italy

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

Last week I wrote about the things I always carry with me from the US when I return to Italy. But truth be told, there are some pretty great things I’d miss from Italy, if we lived in the US. In fact, my husband and I talk about this pretty often, especially at times like this when I’m stocking up on American deodorant and taco sauce.

Here are the top things we’d miss about Italy if we moved to the US.

Things an Expat in Italy Most LovesPizza
I love American pizza, really, I do, but no matter what marketing ploy Pizza Hut might employ, Italian-style pizza they’ll never be.

Meat, Cheese, Fruit and Veggies
Yes, this is a big category, but we would really miss the meat, cheese, fresh fruit and veggies we have here in southern Italy. (In all honesty, the “meat” part was added by my husband, because he can’t imagine a life without soppressata, homemade sausage or any of the delicious cold cuts he grew up with.)

Lest you think we are overly healthy, we’d also miss the homemade gelato we have here in Calabria. Ice cream is one thing, gelato is another and while I do love me some Blue Bell, I’d really miss Marrons Glaces here in Catanzaro.

There is no Italian habit I love more than the evening passeggiata and even though I know we could do this if we lived outside Italy, I’m not sure we would. And really, part of the fun of the passeggiata is bumping into your neighbors and friends and if they’re not outside for their evening stroll, would it really be the same?

Come back next week to see the top things we’d pack and carry with us, customs-permitting, if we lived outside of Italy.

Are you an expat in Italy? What would you miss if you had to leave?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Cherrye Moore, My Bella Vita

Top Things I Won’t Leave Home Without

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

We are in the second week of June and this expat is happily at home with her Texas-based friends and family. There is nothing like going home, seeing familiar faces, frequenting familiar haunts and yes, I’ll admit it, sometimes equally as important … eating familiar food.

I have to say, though, I come home twice a year-each summer and again at Christmas-and each time I stock up on my American goodies.

When I first moved to Italy four years ago, I’d buy my Gold Toe socks, fill up during the Bath and Body Works semi-annual sales and even buy my makeup and remover.

But luckily, things have changed.

I am no longer am addicted to Gold Toe socks and Sephora’s recent addition to our shopping center has helped with the makeup, lotions and shower gel dilemnas.

Still, there are a few things I still import.

Things an Expat in Italy Brings from HomeMedicine
I recently realized you can indeed buy Ibuprofen in Italy, but yowsers is that stuff expensive. Instead of forking over €12 for 12 pills, I run by Walmart and stock up. In addition to Advil, I always carry Tylenol, Tylenol PM, DayQuil and NyQuil and vitamins, for both my husband and myself. We also bring American-strength deodorant.

Even though I have had good experiences with Amazon UK and am addicted to reading through the Kindle App on my iPod Touch, I still like to buy a few books from the US. Usually I buy work-related books to help with my freelance writing career, but I’ve also been known to stalk the sales counter at our local B&N. Old habits die hard.

Food, Food, Food
You can take the girl away from the Mexican border, but you can’t keep the Mexican cravings away. I always buy Velveeta cheese, taco Seasoning, Jambalaya mix, canned soup for cooking, Big Red gum and a few boxes of Ziploc bags … you know, to store all of my leftovers.

Are you an expat? If so, what do you buy from home?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Cherrye Moore, My Bella Vita

Summer Dress Code in Calabria

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

I’ve written a bit on how travelers should dress in southern Italy so they don’t stick out like the sore, sun-burned American/British/Australian/Canadian tourist they are. In fact, I’ve written tips for both men and women. But those were pretty general.

If you are visiting Calabria in the summer, you might have some doubts as to how to dress for the beaches. Here is a rundown on how Calabrians dress for the beach.

It is important to note that Italian men, women and children always strive to look their best and beach time is no exception.

You’ll see women dressed in cover-ups that accent their swimsuits and young girls in miniskirts with yes, belts. You might also see sparkly accessories-necklaces, bracelets, earrings, to name a few, or even ankle bracelets and rings.

Everyone will wear sunglasses and some people might wear hats.

Oftentimes men wear tennis shoes so they can more easily walk in the Calabrian sand. Old-timers might still wear their itsy bitsy teeny weenie speedos, but the younger generation wears good ole’ American-style swim trunks.

Of course, the men might be wearing chains, too.

Italians never-ever!-go barefoot, even at the beach so if they want to stroll along the shore, they’ll put on their sandals or tennis shoes.

Speaking of strolling, many Italian women I know put a long shirt or cover-up over their swimsuit for their strolls. And stroll they do. When I go to the beach with my Italian friends, we get settled in little chairs that are neatly placed near a table and umbrella and go for a walk, usually with our feet just inside the water.

Children dress more or less like they do at beaches in the US, but sometimes young girls-under three or four years of age-don’t wear a top … just the bottom.

People of all ages love Calabrian beaches and you will often see generations of families gathered near an umbrella, nicely tanned from weeks spent in the mezzogiorno sun. Click here for more on what to pack in your beach bag if you are heading to Calabria this summer.

Have you been to an Italian beach? Did you notice how the locals dressed? How did it compare to how you dress for the beach back home?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Driek on Flickr

I’ve Got the Power

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

By: Cherrye MooreExpat in Italy, Cherrye Moore

… and yes, I’m totally singing that song in my head as I type this post.

Because, my friends, “I’ve got the power.”

Earlier this month, after years of working, waiting and wishing, I received the ever-elusive and oh-so-powerful, Carta di Soggiorno.

thankyou … thankyouverymuch

So what does this mean?

It means, I can legally STAY in bella italia. I can travel to and fro without worry, I can leave the country without packing my two-page request along as proof that I should be legal and it means I am one step closer to finishing my paperwork.

But moreover, it means things are working.

You see, when a foreigner enters Italy, she has eight days to declare herself at the Questura. Upon arriving , Visa from the Houston Consulate in-hand, I headed to the Questura with my new husband.

“But what are you doing here?” They wanted to know. “You are married, no?”

“Siii,” we told them, basking in our newly married status.

“Mah!” They gruffed. “It is no need. You are being too precise. Just send the papers for her Permesso.”

So we did. Although, technically, at that time if you were married to an Italian, you were eligible to directly request the Carta, the difference being that you don’t have to reapply for the Carta after one year.

We applied for the Carta. 11 months later, my Permesso arrived. One month after that, it expired.

So we started all over, this time, according to the powers that be in Catanzaro, with proper eligibility for the Carta.

And now, 18 months later … here we are!

It was a grand day for us, we celebrated with a little Calabrian wine, good, al dente pasta and homemade gelato.

And I showed the world my new Carta.

Just because I could.

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

The Eight Kinds of Expats You Meet in Italy, Part II

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

By: Cherrye Moore

On Tuesday, we talked about four of the eight types of expats you’ll meet in Italy.

But we weren’t quite finished.

Here is the other half of that story. In addition to the Short-Term Expat, Old-Timers, Lover and Run-Away, here are four more kinds of expats you will meet in Italy.

Corporate Guy
Expats who move to Italy while working for an international organization are some of the luckiest expats around. The Corporate Guy is likely making a real salary, as opposed to the pennies they pay Italian workers and likely had his company take care of the small details … such as his residency, his permesso and any other of the gazillion Italian documents required of immigrants.

Depending on where the Corporate Guy lives in Italy, he may or may not have a real sense of life in the country and he likely won’t stay here forever.

Military Man (and Fam)
Even more protected than the Corporate Guy is the Military Man. Sadly, many of these expats rarely venture far from base and they miss out on a lot of Italian culture. However, he and his family might not have even wanted to move to Italy, so they don’t feel deprived and anxiously await their orders to return home.

Retirees may have spent their whole lives anticipating the day they could move to Italy and gosh darn it, they’re gonna like it. They’ve likely traveled to Italy dozens of times over the years, may have learned a little of the language and are genuinely excited to be here.

The will likely go through the initial culture curve and realize they didn’t know as much about Italy as they thought they did, but they’ll gain a better appreciation of the old country, in the process.

The Italophile
The Italophile is just a younger Retiree who made the proper life choices that allowed her to move to Italy before retirement. These expats are pazza about Italy and bask in all of the country’s goodness. Yes, they see her flaws, but they love living in Italy and are quick to remind the rest of us how lucky we are.

We are lucky to have them around for their positivity and contagious energy, but surprisingly enough, they may or may not live in Italy their entire lives.

And there you have it. The eight kinds of expats you will meet in Italy. Where do you fit in? Do you think I forgot anyone?

Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and travel consultant living in Calabria, Italy. She can organize a group Calabria tour or help you plan a custom itinerary for your family from her website, My Bella Vita.

Photo: Wilson Websites Consulting

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