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  • Travel Diary: An Italian American in Ischia, Italy
    Find out what it's like for an American bride planning her nuptials in Italy during her first week back on the Neapolitan island
    Page 1
    Our Paesani

    by Francesca Di Meglio

    I've been back in Ischia, home of my ancestors and fiancé and the location of my upcoming fall nuptials, for a little more than a week. I thought I'd share my travel diary with you to give you an insider's look at life on a small island off the coast of Naples, Italy:

    Thursday, June 12
    I arrive in Naples, Italy after a somewhat turbulent flight. My ankles are swollen and my legs bruised because I have poor circulation and could barely move because the girl sitting next to me on the plane slept practically the whole flight. She seemed nice and polite, however. Still, I must make a note to remind myself to ask for an aisle seat on the way home.

    My fiancé is waiting for me right outside the passport check-in center at Capodichino Airport. Thanks to a friend who works at the airport, he could meet me at baggage claim to help me get all my stuff. We barely kiss hello before we're packing up our carriage with my two laptop computers in a rolling bag, my enormous "purse", and two large suitcases - filled to the brim with trinkets for family and friends and stuff we'll need for our wedding - jackets and gloves for his little nieces, cone-shaped holders for Jordan almond bombonieri, silk flowers for wrapping the bombonieri, etc.

    We head for Vulcano Buono, an indoor shopping center in Naples, that is called the Good Volcano because in the distance you can see Vesuvio and the mall was built to look like the famously bad volcano. The parking lots are named after the different islands and sites of Naples - Ischia, Capri, Amalfi, Sorrento, etc. Antonio has some errands to run for his family there. I can barely pay attention. We grab a quick pizza, do the shopping, and I park myself on a bench in the mall while he finishes up. Then, we head for the port to get the next boat home to Ischia. On the way, I see the mountains and mountains of garbage piled in Napoli. Antonio tells me things have improved since the first reports surfaced about the crisis, but the smell tells me otherwise.

    Friday, June 13
    Today is Antonio's name day or onomastico. I give him a white tie with faint silver snowflakes on it as a gift. Antonio and I wake up early in the morning to grab the aliscafo or hydrofoil to return to Naples. I have to go to the American Consulate in the Piazza Repubblica to do more paper work to legally marry in Italy. At some point during my stay, we have to get married in a civil service, a requirement for us to officially marry in church in October. And all this paper work needs to be completed beforehand.

    After picking up cornetti and milk for breakfast, we head for the consulate. The security is rather impressive and much more serious than what the Italian Consulate in Newark, N.J. has. (There, I just walked into the building, picked up a sticker saying I was going to the Italian Consulate, and walked into the waiting room.). In Naples, you have to show your passport and a document you picked up on the Internet stating you made an appointment. Then, a guard passes you and your things through a metal detector and takes your phone and cameras while you wait.

    I filled out my paper work and waited and waited. Still, I felt at home with all the folks speaking English with American accents. I paid my 30 bucks and took my document, which was a sworn statement that I was single and could get married without any problems only to find out that this document needs to be notarized and that office for that is in a different part of the city and is not open today. We check out ties for the American groomsmen, who will participate in our American vow renewal in November. Then, we head home.

    Saturday, June 14
    Antonio works days at a hotel and nights at a nightclub, and Saturdays are his busiest day. While he's working, I catch up with his family and on my work.

    Continued on page 2

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