La Bella Chaos.

You know I am normally upbeat and can usually see the funny side of attempting to live a normal life in La Bella Chaos. Today it very nearly beat me, I have spent a couple of hours gnashing my teeth, ripping my sack-cloths and growling at fellow human beings.

I weathered the storm and laughed when it took Snr Cretino eight months to organise my Italian driving licence, but today my insurance agent tried to baffle me with stupidity. Maybe today was just another normal day in Bella Italia and I was tired or maybe I just assumed renewing my car insurance would be easy.

Two years ago we decided to economise and put one of our cars into storage, Mrs Sensible and I tossed a coin and she lost the bet (double headed coins are very useful). Her very sensible and economic Peugeot was abandoned stored and my uneconomical but fun Mini was used by both of us.


Mrs Sensible’s sensible diesel Peugeot.


Last night Mrs Sensible made a very valid case for blowing the dust off her car and bringing it out of storage. First she swapped to her schoolmarm voice and then suggested we should insure and tax her economic car and put my fun and gas guzzling mini in the shed or she would go off in search of her wet wooden spoon. I could not think of a suitable argument and she wasn’t going to fall for the double headed coin a second time.

I phoned my insurance company and told them to reinstate the Peugeot’s insurance and I set off in the Peugeot to find someone who would test the car for me. Now in the UK if a car does not have a MOT certificate it is possible to drive it on the road as long as  1) You have an appointment booked for a vehicle test 2) You are driving to the test center. I have no idea what the rules are in Italy, but I doubt they are so straight forward.

Typical stop and search

Typical Carabinieri  stop and search. IMPORTANT: It is not true that the red stripes on their trousers are so they don’t put them on inside out, nor is it true that they wear wellies because they don’t know how to tie their shoe laces.

In Italy the local Carabinieri are not regarded as the brightest of people,  I hasten to add I think they are really, really nice people and I don’t believe a word of the stories nor do I laugh at the Carabinieri jokes. I know I was a little less than impressed when they investigated the burglary at my house…. and I do think it is impressive that they always choose the same places to set up their ‘stop and search’. After all consistency is a good thing. It also means if you are in a rush and don’t have time to say hello to them it is possible to cut across the countryside.

A little scenic drive

This morning I was in a little rush.

Mrs Sensible’s car passed it’s test first time. I was incredibly relieved and managed to uncross my fingers. When I arrived at the insurance office to pick up the new insurance documents, the man tried to give me the insurance paper for my lovely soon to be stored Mini.

Ciao Snr Pecora Nera.

Ciao! I go here take paper insurance for wife car.

These are the new documents for your Mini.

No! Wrong not Mini, wife car.. Peugeot! 

Ahhh! You want to insure Mrs Sensible’s car. Let me work out a price for you.

Italy runs on paperwork. Households save till receipts and  proof of payments forever. In every house there will be a box with a mass of yellowing receipts going all the way back to the receipt for the wedding dress. My father in law told me, he once had to prove he had paid his car tax, a bill he had paid four years previously!

2016-04-06 16.44.29

Every Italian house needs a Tin of Denial

Snr Pecora Nera, your wife’s car will cost € 460.00 to insure.

What? My 1.6 petrol Mini  € 420.00. Peugeot  1.4 diesel. Look again! 

Pointing at his computer screen he said, But your wife’s car has not been insured for four years. She is now a high insurance risk.

It took me a minute before I understand what he was trying to tell me. I delved into my cardboard box and produced the insurance document for 2013 – 2014. I gave him the paper and explained it could be risky to suggest Mrs Sensible was a high insurance risk. Although paying over the top to insure Mrs Sensible’s Peugeot and explaining to  Mrs S that Italy considers me a better driver might have been fun.  

My insurance agent suggested I should go to the bar for a cappuccino while he sorted out the mistake on his computer. Halfway into a nice brioche and cappuccino. He phoned me.

Snr Pecora Nera, I have sorted it all out.

Grazie, On the way I am.

The agent then explained that the car is owned not only by Mrs Sensible, but her father’s name is also on the car’s documents. This meant because her father lives in Sicily, the car will be at a bigger risk of having an accident and the insurance cost will be €530.

I tried my best to explain that her father wouldn’t be driving the car and can’t we just remove his name from the document….. I have some Tipp-ex here and after all this is Italy


Tipp-Ex perfect for correcting blog posts

The insurance agent said I would need to either transfer the ownership of the Peugeot to either me or Mrs Sensible’s. This will cost around €400 – €500 euros.

So for the moment Mrs Sensible’s car is still in storage and my little Mini is drinking it’s way through a fortune in petrol.








23 thoughts on “La Bella Chaos.

  1. I’m afraid that I can’t help you regarding you having a sicilian father-in-law, but if you want to save petrol and at the same time avoid being stopped by the wonderful Carabinieri, try to make sure that you’re never the first or last in the line of cars passing them … don’t ask me why, but they never seem to stop those in the middle… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mike, ahh, I should have waited and just joined a convoy of cars 😀

      Providing you have your documents in order they will let you get away with most things. I was rushing to get to the airport, I was really late and the strip of black rubber I left as I screeched and slid to a halt at one of their checkpoints was pretty impressive.

      I must admit it took them a while to decide if my UK licence was British or Ukranian but they never mentioned me deaccelarating from 120 to 0 in a matter of meters

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know what you mean PN. I was also stopped once and they thought that my UK Driving Licence was Ukranian….. Poor English people who get stopped by the Carabinieri, Police etc etc
        However, when your UK Licence expires you must have it changed to an Italian one.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. pour me a limoncello—I can totally commiserate.
    My elderly father who no longer holds a valid drivers license or is capable of driving still owns his car. The car that I want to stay in the carport so people on the street will see that there is a car in turn alerting all would be thieves and mean people that the house is indeed occupied—as my dad and stepmother do live in the house– Without a parked car in the carport it would appear to the would-be robbers that the house is empty and easy pickings…
    One would think it could just sit, no worries as the tires proceed to rot off… all the while the safety security factor still intact…
    but sadly no, that is not the logical or obvious rationale to those who work in government agencies.
    Both the city and state want to still tax the car and want valid insurance paid in full—I have explained to every motor vehicle important person and insurance agent that we just are “storing” the car in the carport and no one is ever going to drive it again and that it is simply being used for safety that the house is occupied. But no, I must mail in proof of their no longer driving—how do I mail in proof of 88 year old dementia—I sent in the required penalty fee in for not paying it’s taxes, its updated insurance and tag fee—the check came back yesterday after a month of being gone with a yellow highlighted sentence that I must send in proof that I am my dad’s power of attorney and I must send it to the tag office when the tag office told me to mail it in to the state’s revenue office—tomorrow I may just tell the crooks to come take the car and maybe even dad as well!!
    Yet if it is stolen and involved in a wreck, we are responsible for the car but dad would just be a loss….a vicious cycle of universal idiocy in bureaucracy …
    I need another drink!!!!
    Keep pouring PN

    Liked by 2 people

      • They already have a cat, Sheba—who is indeed vicious but in the mean city of Atlanta—we need more of a deterrent—not that a car is it, but it helps a little bit—Sheba, not so much—
        but it dealing with bureaucracy be it in the states, the UK or even Italia—is getting more and more impossible—so Italy no longer can lay claim to being the craziest nor most difficult—I think that’s why I find myself drawn back to bourbon


    • Italy is just a little strange, yesterday I received a call from a parcel delivery driver. He said he couldn’t find my house, however he would wait in the village square and I could come and collect the parcel 😂😂

      The square is a good 20 minute up hill walk, I declined.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. And I will live in Venice where I will have no need of a car but will still have a nice box of receipts for everything from my first cappuccino upon arrival in Italy to my funeral flowers when I die there (hopefully a very large box). And people here wonder why I always bring home a little bag of receipts when I return from a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 8 years ago – being completely pissed off by the politics, the bureaucracy (and the property crash) I had to leave England – as I was about to start burning buses outside the local council offices in protest – so I decided to leave for Italy – which I had loved from afar for over 30 years and wanted to live there for as long … 8 years later we are back in England and looking forward to visiting the bel paese as tourists – pecora nera will know why!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was having a glass of wine in a bar and got chatting to two Italians, one of them said ” Italy is no place to run a business or to live, however it is a nice place to visit for a holiday”
      He said they owned a business, but it was based in Switzerland, not Italy


  5. Oh, I so relate. Last summer we discovered that the permesso for the car we had bought the summer before had never been put into my husband’s name. It took an entire summer, multiple trips to the carabinieri and two rather longish drives to Sambuca di Sicilia plus €400 more than the €350 we had paid the summer before to get the permesso FINALLY into his name. There was swearing. Molto molto swearing.


    • When I was in the office organising my driving licence with Mr Cretino, a young man came in he explained that the police had caught him speeding and confiscated his licence for 2 months. When he went back to re claim his licence the police said “oops we have lost it” AND! he asked
      With a shrug the police said it is not our licence so it is not our problem, go and apply for another

      While I tried to refrain from laughing, Mr Cretino told the poor lad, you will need to start again, eye test, doctors visit, paper work…….


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