I’m sure it would be the same settling into every country, and to be completely honest I do not think I have done the best job getting through it (for residency especially needing a lot of help from native speakers) so here’s just some basics that I’ve learned a bit late.
Codice Fiscale: you’ll probably hear this a lot, and it’s an important thing to get as soon as you can. Luckily, it is reasonably easy. Google search for you local ‘Anagrafe’ and at the counter mention ‘codice fiscale’ or whatever your better Italian can allow for. You will get a form and a number. I used Google Translate (with downloaded Italian so I did not need WiFi) to get through this form. There will be a screen which shows which number is next, and when your number flashes a table number will flash next to it. In the Anagrafe in Naples (near the Toledo metro stop) these tables are actually in another room, to the left of the entrance (easy to spot when the person at the counter says ‘right, right’ to you). Here you will sit at the desk while a person inputs your information, as far as I remember I needed my passport, a photocopy of it and proof of my internship and a photocopy of that (the latter requiring a quick dash across the street to the local Tobacconist/photocopy place). You will get your codice fiscale there and then, however the plastic card will arrive later in the post (so I am told, my fingers are currently crossed). You will need the plastic card for many things, including opening a bank account, which is why it is important to do this as soon as you can. *Update, if you are like me and still waiting for this plastic card, I would recommend the Banco di Napoli who seem a bit more flexible (though, if you can, bring an Italian speaker with you).
In terms of residency it is best to seek help from a local native speaker if you are not proficient in Italian yourself, ideally your employer though with me it turned out to be the incredibly kind family I am staying with. There will be requirements of alerting the local police of your presence and the actual residency will require many a heartache, including a work contract, usually a rental contract, your passport, your codice fiscale and many more a form in Italian to fill in. I wish I could offer more help, but honestly most of this was lost to me in a rapid exchange of quick-fire Italian. From what I could gather I have my colleague, the people I live with and the man at the town hall to thank for, I hope, things being sorted for me to stay for a few months.
I think the most important thing is not to get too weighed down by it all and find help where you can from a trustworthy as possible source. It is not down to you that this is difficult, it is extremely difficult for a native speaker to wade through all that is required let alone someone who is still learning to hold a conversation in Italian. I would recommend, as I wish I had done this, making sure of more firm help before you go. Most likely the main things you will need:
- Codice Fiscale
- Possible rental or work contract (depending on why you are there)
- Bank account
- (Probably more)
The difficulty I found was at various points each of the above seemed dependent on the other as different people were giving different advice. However, from what I could gather, your codice fiscale and then a rental contract (if possible, or some proof of address) should be your priority on arrival, as they will be required for the other things that you need.
If like me you are moving for a new job, I would advice arranging an appointment before you travel (with someone from your new work/new residence) to discuss how to approach all the above, and arrange someone joining you for the more difficult parts (such as residency), as soon as you arrive. I landed in Naples with promises from new lovely colleagues, which, apart from one trip to the town hall (where they were incredibly helpful), they were not able to keep. Even this trip had to be hurriedly taken during their lunch break. They were making phone calls on my behalf over this time, but not meeting with people at the office to find out what was happening was very isolating. This resulted in a panicked first week for me. As a new employee, you are worth time being taken for you during working hours including meetings in person.
This all made me feel fairly useless, as I felt I should not be bothering them and should be getting on with it all by myself. It is only after going through all the form-filling, and seeing all the difficulties, that I see how impossible that would have been. I think part of it was the assumption (on both sides) that being a fellow EU citizen would make organising an internship easy, however this is not the case and I would warn you to advice any new employer of this if they are under the same assumption. In the end the obligation to help me was rather unfairly passed partly onto the family I am staying with, though I am very grateful that they could help.
Another tip would be surfing the web for official sites and travel blogs. Official sites (sometimes translated from Italian) give you the official line, while travel blogs give you personal experiences which are a great help. Just remember to check the date of both, as the requirements for things like this are always changing. Also, for me at least, make sure you have a few good books. While I was waiting for this to be sorted, nothing was more relaxing than switching off and returning to the ever comfortable world of the Bertram’s and Bennet’s.