Touring around Umbria, I’ve been struck by the sheer number of depopulated towns. Around 200,000 Italians leave the country each year for better work opportunities and higher wages abroad. As an Australian with Italian parents who migrated after the war, I am part of the first generation to return to our roots in Italy. Yet, despite my purebred Italian heritage, a pesky bylaw prevents me from getting an Italian passport.

I mean, really? I’m 100% Italian, just like Ferrari’s new SUV, the Purosangue.

But when I meet people with Italian passports, thanks to their great-great-grandparents from Argentina, I can’t help but feel a bit miffed. Here I am, living in Italy, supporting the local olive trees and artisans, and I can’t even claim my birthright


coliseum Rome On and off bus

A Return to Roots

Returning to Italy felt like stepping into a dream. The landscapes, the food, the culture—it’s everything I’ve ever wanted. My love for Italy runs deep. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the sparkling waters of the Amalfi Coast, this country is a feast for the senses. But the joy of returning to my heritage has been dampened by the frustrating bureaucracy.

I adore the opulent lifestyle here. Long lunches with fine wine, stylish fashion straight off the Milan runways, and historic villas that ooze charm—Italy has it all. Yet, navigating the Italian citizenship process feels like being stuck in a Kafka novel. It’s ironic that in a country facing depopulation, the system makes it so hard for someone like me to get a passport.

The Bylaw Conundrum

The bylaw in question was created before I was even born. It’s a relic from a bygone era that doesn’t reflect the modern world or the current needs of Italy. The rule states that if your Italian ancestor naturalized in another country before your parent’s birth, you are not eligible for citizenship. My parents, who moved to Australia in search of a better life, didn’t think they were giving up our claim to Italian citizenship.

Meeting people who have secured Italian passports through distant relatives adds salt to the wound. They don’t live here, don’t contribute to the economy, and yet they hold the coveted passport. Meanwhile, I am here, immersed in the culture, supporting local businesses, and I can’t even call myself an Italian citizen.

Living the Dream, Chasing the Passport

Living in Italy is a daily celebration of beauty and history. I wake up to the sound of church bells, sip my morning espresso on a terrace overlooking olive groves, and stroll through markets brimming with fresh produce and artisanal goods. The lifestyle here is unmatched—opulent, indulgent, and utterly enchanting.

But the frustration of not having an Italian passport looms large. It’s not just about the convenience of travel; it’s about belonging. I want to be recognized as part of this beautiful country.

I contribute to its economy, cherish its traditions, and even my wardrobe screams “Made in Italy.”

Uganda East Africa In Florence italy

The Bureaucratic Battle

Navigating Italian bureaucracy is like a full-time job. The paperwork, the appointments, the endless waiting—it’s enough to drive anyone mad. But I refuse to give up. I’m determined to get my Italian passport, not just for myself but for my family and future generations. We belong here, and I will fight for that recognition.

Humor helps me stay sane through this process. I often joke that dealing with Italian bureaucracy is like making a perfect risotto—slow, tedious, and requiring endless patience. But just like the risotto, the end result will be worth it. I envision the day when I finally hold my Italian passport, a symbol of my heritage and my perseverance.

Sharing the Struggle

I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Many others are caught in this bureaucratic web, trying to reclaim their Italian citizenship. It’s a shared frustration, a collective groan every time we hit another roadblock. But it’s also a shared dream. We all long to connect with our roots, to be recognized as part of the Italian family.

Let’s support each other through this journey. Share your stories, your tips, and your victories. Together, we can navigate the complexities of Italian citizenship and, hopefully, make the process easier for those who come after us.


Embracing the Journey

Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Living in Italy, even without a passport, is a dream come true. The charm of the countryside, the vibrancy of the cities, and the warmth of the people make every day an adventure. Italy has captured my heart, and I am here to stay.

I embrace every moment—the good, the frustrating, and the beautiful. This is my home, my heritage, and my future. I will continue to fight for my Italian passport, knowing that one day, I will hold it in my hands and proudly say, “Sono italiana.”

A Call to Action

If you’re in the same boat, don’t give up. Keep pushing, keep fighting, and stay connected with others going through the same process. Share your experiences, support each other, and keep the dream alive. Italy needs people like us, who love and cherish its culture, to help reverse the depopulation trend.

Let’s show Italy that we are not just tourists but dedicated, passionate individuals who want to contribute to its future. We are here, we belong, and we will not be deterred by outdated bylaws.

Final Thoughts

Italy is more than a destination; it’s a lifestyle, a passion, and a heritage worth fighting for. I am determined to get my Italian passport, not just for the convenience but for the recognition and pride that comes with it. Living in Italy is my dream, and I will continue to embrace every moment of it, passport or not.

So, here’s to the fight, the laughter, and the love for this incredible country. I am here to stay, and I hope to soon say, with all the pride in the world, that I am an Italian citizen.