Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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Harriet Walker portrait photo

Harriet Walker, Marketing Manager
Durban, South Africa


Moving to another country is a delicious thrill, yet the very things that make a new place so exciting also make it daunting when you start to truly make a place your home. You come to Italy enthralled by how ancient everything is - until you bump up against one of the oldest bureaucracies in the world. There may be times when the sheer volume of documents, forms, stamped pieces of paper and special passes you'll need in order to live in Bologna will have you wondering what ever possessed you to come here in the first place. If it's any comfort, you're not alone. Everyone who comes to Italy feels this way at some point. Fortunately, the positive aspects of living here far outweigh the difficulties you may encounter in the beginning. With time, the frustrating and charming aspects of life in Bologna will start to melt together. Had you not been turned away at the immigration office because you lacked the right stamp, you may not have discovered that quaint coffee bar around the corner. Had the bus drivers not been on strike, you may not have stumbled upon that narrow alleyway with the mouthwatering gelato.

The bureaucracy's wheels do grind slowly here, but with a little pazienza, you will soon be approaching these challenges con calma and you'll find that waiting will seem less of an inconvenience and more of an opportunity - a chance to prendere un caffè, or fare un giro. In the meantime, this chapter will give you some of the specific information you need to begin taking care of paperwork and getting about the basic business of living and orienting yourself in Bologna. In bocca al lupo!

pazienza = patience
con calma = calmly
prendere un caffè = have a coffee
fare un giro = take a spin around
in bocca al lupo = in the mouth of the wolf = good luck
crepi il lupo = may the wolf perish!(appropriate response to in bocca al lupo)