The Italian Job

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It’s been a remarkably busy week. It’s the case for many people across Europe as they come back from holidays and go back to their office jobs. I always quite like this time of year because it’s full of good energy and many new projects are undertaken.

It’s a stressful week if you’re a winemaker because you’re carefully watching the weather and judging when to start the grape harvest. 2016 has been a disastrous year in France and I think most vignerons are just happy to have made it to the finish line. In Italy, however, it’s been a very hot and dry summer and it’s shaping up to be one of the best vintages of the decade.

For me personally, it was the week that I finally packed up the car and rode off into the sunset…

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Well… except, in my case, riding off into the sunset means crossing the border between France and Italy.

I arrived here in Soave yesterday, just in time for lunch – my stomach always dictates my brain. It’s not hard to guess where exactly I’ve ended up, especially if you have been following this blog for a while.

This morning, I went down to the local Employment Office (“Agenzia delle Entrate” in case anyone is planning on making a similar move to Italy) in order to officially register myself and get a codice fiscale.

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The functionary was surprisingly accommodating and pleasant; he complimented the winemaker (who had accompanied me for moral support) on his choice of new colleague. “Molto interessante” was the official pronouncement.

It’s actually very simple for a Brit (or other European national) to get a codice fiscale in Italy. The equivalent in the UK would be a National Insurance number, but in Italy, they’ve already asked me for this particular piece of information more often than I’ve ever been asked for my NI number in the UK. You show your passport, answer a couple of questions….

Then there was a gasp, Brexit.

“But are you still European?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied, half-indignantly.

“Oh, hmm. I’m not sure. I must go just check with my colleague.”

In the end – and this is probably the first of a large debt of gratitude I owe Theresa May! – I came away with that all-important piece of paper.

This afternoon and evening was spent learning the ropes. It feels very much like the first day at school. It should also be said that I’m still learning Italian. Weirdly enough, I’m fine with complicated technical terms, but I’m awful at small talk!

Anyway, the most important thing is that I’m now legally allowed to work in Italy. Harvest starts next week!


Follow my adventures on the winery in Italy by using the new category: The Italian Job.

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