Getting Our Permesso's, The Swimming Pool & A Train-Trip To Faenza

Over the last couple of weeks, a few things have happened that we wanted to record.

Getting Our Permesso di Soggiorno's
After 5 months, we have finally received our official authorisation to live in Italy for a year!
They even come in little slide covers to protect them. Very neat!
One problem though - the covers are just too big to fit into a credit-card slot in your wallet.
We have found that this is a pretty typical Italian problem - nice idea, but a bit light on execution!

About 2 weeks ago, I got an SMS on my phone with a weird message that we could not understand (shortened Italian words with two reference numbers and two appointment times).
Lyn got one of the teachers at Il Bisonte to try and decipher the message, but all Vincenzo could tell us was that he suspected that it was to do with the permesso applications.
I went to the questura (central police/immigration station) and asked about it and (sort of) understood that it was for both Lyn & I (the two reference numbers) and that we had to come at the time stipulated (1:36pm & 2:00pm on 29th May - very precise!).

I met Lyn near Il Bisonte (she had to finish early for the appointment) and we caught a local bus up to the questura.
The ticket reading machine on the bus did not work, so we were not too worried - but we should have been.
We each got busted for not having a validated ticket!
A bunch of inspectors got on and started booking everyone and we got caught up in it.
We explained that the machine was not working, but they told us that there are always two machines (we did not know this) and that there is no excuse for a non-validated ticket.
When I argued that we did not know about the 2nd machine (we thought it was only for imprinting paper tickets and we always use swipe-cards), he said that we should know and that "he was only doing his job"! For the record, Lyn had found out on the net that these guys get a cut from all tickets they write out, so they do not care about excuses - valid or not.
We got a written fine each - EU50 on-the-spot (to them, in cash), or EU55 if we wished to pay it at the bus administration office within 5 days. If we did not pay it within 5 days, the fine went up to EU95!
Even the locals were getting stuck into the inspectors about the unfairness of the situation, but it didn't do any good. EU100 gone - thank you very much!

We got to the questura with bit of time to spare for our first appointment at 1:36pm, but we needn't have rushed - we were given the obligatory paper ticket and told to wait. So we did - for over 2 hours!
Anyway, we are now finally have a legal status here in Italy - too bad we are leaving in 6 months!

Going To The Swimming Pool (Piscina Comunale Costoli)
Last Saturday, the temperature hit 34 degrees, so Lyn suggested that we go to the swimming pool for the day.
I found out that the biggest pool was over near the Campo di Marte train station and that we could use the city bus system to get there, so we jumped on the local C3 bus (my favourite), changed to another bus and it took us almost directly to the pool.
The complex has three pools (kids pool, olympic size pool and a diving pool) with plenty of shade trees and grass. It also has a couple of small food outlets and there is even a bar.
When we got there, there weren't too many people, but by the mid-afternoon, the place was getting pretty full.
The good thing about this place is that even when the place was filling up, there was still plenty of room to find a shady spot under the trees without everyone being crammed together.
We had to show our (new) permesso ID cards to get in and we had to buy a swimming cap each (no exposed hair allowed in the pool, even my No. 2 haircut) and then we set ourselves up in the shade with a couple of plastic chairs.
It was a good way of staying cool on a hot day and we both enjoyed it.

I love these swimming caps!
Look - another one!
Guy's Train Trip To Faenza
When we went to the MotoGP at Mugello, we both commented on the mountains behind the racetrack and that it might be nice to go for a train-trip further north.
Last Tuesday was another hot day, so I decided to take a regional train-trip into the mountains and over to Faenza which is north-east of Florence and on the other side of the Apennine mountains that form the spine of Italy.
It is 100kms by road from Florence to Faenza on a road that would be great on a motorcycle (a reasonably good road that winds through the mountains).
The train went up to Borgo San Lorenzo (where the shuttle-bus wasn't for the MotoGP!) and then continued on through lots of small towns until we got to Faenza about 2hrs later.
This a smallish city with virtually zero tourists, except for those who come to see the International Ceramics Museum.
Faenza is famous for ceramics and there are some fine examples on display in many of the shops.
I spent a couple of hours walking around the city before having to go back to the train-station to return to Florence (the trains are not that frequent, so I couldn't afford to miss it!).

It was good trip and gave me another insight into a different part of Italy.
The whole region around this town is very fertile and looks like it can grow anything. It was very green and looked like quite a prosperous region.
100kms to Florence!
The tree-lined streets are nice
Market day - and very few people around!
The main piazza
You can see the clock-tower from everywhere!

Examples of the hand-painted ceramics
How do they do this?
Even the road-signs are ceramic!
Walking along the river
Vineyards and distant mountains on the way back to Florence
(this scenery reminded me of northern NSW!)
A town tucked into the mountains
A farm-house in the mountains
A memorial to the local soldiers
Looking down the valley towards Borgo San Lorenzo
One town that looks very interesting is Brisighella, tucked in the mountains up from Faenza.
From the train, there are two towers perched on rock outcrops. One is a fortress and the other is a bell-tower with a clock.

Apparently, there is a very famous & historic covered street as well as other interesting buildings.
Maybe later in the year, we will get back here for a good look.


  1. Oo oh sounds like it's getting pretty hot there!

  2. I feel for you both and feel very lucky that we weren't fined in Milan when we were on the train with our unvalidated ticket. Our guy was pretty upset and annoyed that we had bought it in the morning (I plan ahead!) and were travelling in the afternoon! We didn't speak Italian so maybe that's how we got off - tourists! Then there was the time in Paris with Helen.....I learned my lesson and in Hungary when my mother said not to worry about not having a ticket, I said no, I needed a ticket and I needed to validate it, bought the ticket, validated it and bang! Inspectors on next stop - yeh, I was happy! Especially when the inspector started getting stuck into someone who didn't validate their ticket! Unfortunately, I am still not immune to police: usually get a ticket for something in Hungary so I'm extra careful when I drive there and in Australia. Not to worry, you're locals now: ID's, speak the language, treated like any other Italian - Congratulations!