Piazza di Spagna is a widely visited tourist attraction that is featured in all guidebooks or internet sites on Rome. For many years it was simply a mass of bodies, tourists and locals, lounging on the steps, making it hard to appreciate the real dynamic of the piazza. A local decree from a couple of years ago, in an effort to clean up the piazza, put a stop to anyone, be they picnic-ers, travelers or residents, from sitting on the stairs. This helped in making the square look less like a football stadium and more like a site of Roman heritage. Now with fewer tourists due to the pandemic, the piazza, with its majestic staircase leading up to the church of Trinita’ dei Monti, can actually be appreciated in its full beauty and glory.
This was our view as we sat at the tables of Babington’s Tea Rooms last week. After many months of online Zoom activities, association members were finally able to meet in person, how joyful that was! Babington’s is certainly worth a visit, operating since 1893, they make cakes and scones to a supreme quality and their numerous blends will have something to please all tastes. Members enjoyed their brew with freshly made and toasted scones, topped with jam and whipped cream. It was wonderful being able to do something normal, catching up with friends whilst sipping tea under the magical afternoon Rome sun.
Harry Shindler, one the association’s founder, who has been endlessly campaigning to extend the 15 year voting rule, has been featured in the British tabloid, the Guardian. Read the full article here.
After 20 year of relentless letter writing, Mr. Shindler, who turns 100 this year, has finally put the expat voting question, onto the government’s agenda. At present, British expats who have lived for 15 years or more outside the UK loose their right to vote in UK elections, but this may soon change!
The Questura will reply and attach a letter giving the date and time of your appointment, the documents required and instructions to pay the required fee.
The Questura is located in Via Teofilo Patini n.23 in the Tor Sapienza area of Rome and is serviced by a regional train to the station Tor Sapienza. Driving is also an option and parking is available close by. Upon arrival on the day of your appointment, show your letter at the gate to gain entrance to the Questura. The Brexit office is located on the third floor. The process includes presenting copies of a valid ID, showing proof of payment, countersigning your photo and having your fingerprints taken.
Your receipt will include a code where you can track the status of your application online. It will take approximately 2 months to have your card issued. Once your application status shows “in consegna”, you can pick it up at your local police station, agreed on previously with the Questura. The “Residence Document in Electronic Format” will be valid for 10 years.
The above notice is for informational purposes only and does not carry any regulatory status.
NB: A PEC email (Posta Elettronica Certificata) is a secure and certified method of sending emails. It uses special encryption to guarantee the legitimacy of the message and is used widely in Italy to communicate with official offices. The PEC has the same legal status as a “Raccomandata con ricevuta di ritorno” (recorded delivery). There are numerous providers that will issue a PEC, such as Aruba. Fees vary but on average, are under €10 a year.
Though many of our regular activities were compromised due to the Covid lockdowns and regulations, the association was still able to bring members together, online and in person, throughout the year. Below is a small selection of photos to mark 2020!
Once lockdown was eased, members met for an aperitivo on the terrace of the Hotel Locarno: June 2020
Notwithstanding the terrible rain, members had a tour of the Abbey of the Three Fountains: October 2020
Remembrance Day was a solitary event this year with only one committee member attending the ceremony: November 2020
The Abbey of the Three Fountains, located off the busy Via Laurentina in south east Rome, is where association members met on a rainy Saturday morning. Greeted by their guide Silvia and a larger than life statue of Saint Benedict, hushing visitors as they enter the abbey to ora et labora.
The monastery is the site of three churches, the church of St. Paul, the church of Santa Maria Scala Coeli and the church of Saints Vincent and Anastasius. The site is best known for the martyrdom of St. Paul the Apostle who was imprisoned and eventually beheaded on these grounds. Tradition says that his severed head fell and bounced three times and on each bounce, a fountain of water sprang.
We visited the Church of SS Vincent and Anastasius, an unadorned church echoing the simplicity of the site, built by Pope Honorius I in 626 and given to the Benedictines who occupied the site at that time.
At the end of a pathway used for meditation, lies the Church of St. Paul, built on the spot where the apostle was beheaded. St. Paul’s is a small unconventional chapel with the alter situated on the left. A tribute to the three fountains occupies the back wall whilst the centre nave displays a beautiful Roman mosaic donated by Pope Piux IX, said to have been brought here from the port of Ostia.
Today the abbey is occupied by the monks of the Cistercian order, more commonly known as the Trappists. Famous for their lambswool which is used to make the vestments of new archbishops. They also make and sell homemade beer, chocolate and other produce from the eucalyptus trees surrounding the site. Our tour terminated with a visit to the shop where members were able to purchase some of the local delicacies. Thank you Silvia, for a lovely morning!