Monday, December 04, 2006

Guest Blogger: Ale, Notaio Hopeful

Today I get a day off while my future hubby (T minus less than four months) takes over the heavy lifting of the blogging duties for me. I showed him your comments on the Offida post and your curiosity got him motivated to explain the process of becoming a notaio, or notary, to you. The other night after dinner he sat down with his laptop and hammered out the following, which remains unaltered except for a few very minor spelling corrections ... bravo Ale! And to think, this was the same guy who, when we first met, said to me, "I want you to know that I hate English." (Traces back to some traumatic experience with a mean high school teacher.) Who would've ever thought that a mere six years later, he'd be negotiating with Don Johnson's, ahem, I mean, DJ's, LA agent, when a client of his decided to make a movie? Ah, life, does it not reserve its surprises for us? Perhaps one of them will be Ale becoming a notaio.

(You must all now make the "rock on" sign, with both hands, fingers directed towards the ground, to prevent my previous sentence from jinxing his chances. This in Italian is called "making the horns" or fare le corna, and is the less-vulgar version of another choice that, if you have any contact with Italian culture, you are probably aware of. All's I'm gonna say is that the second option involves scratching a region below the belt. No, I am not kidding.)

But enough of my blabbering! Here's the Italian for you:

Actually the notaries in Italy are the inheritance of the middle age, when the people didn’t know how to read and how to write and they needed a trustworthy guy doing it for them and checking that everything was honest and legal. Nowadays the problem is that even if everyone is able to read and write, we (in Italy) still need a guy who checks the contract is honest and respectful of the law, otherwise everyone would try to rip the other off.
And this guy is the notary.
But how can you be sure this guy is trustworthy?
We have to pay him a ton of money so that he doesn’t need to be bribed to become rich. A "poor" notary makes about €10,000 a month. An average notary makes about €1 million a year. A rich notary makes around €20 million a year.
And this is the notary.
For this reason here when we need to sell or buy a house we have to go to a notary.
When we want to create a company we need to go to a notary.
When we want to take a mortgage we need to a go to a notary.
Because he’s the only one who can certify all the papers are ok and transfer the rights.
He can do that because the government gives him the “power” to do that with the public seal.
So he writes the contract and he stamps it with this seal and you buy or sell your property, take the mortgage and create your company!!!
The issue is that to check the integrity of these guys, the law says they have to be a small, closed number.
Now I think we have just 6,000 notaries in all Italy (over 70 million people!!!!!) You can understand why they became so rich!!!!!! And you can understand the reason why I’m so bored to be a lawyer and I want to become a notary!!!!!
But here there is another problem.
The procedure to become notary is the most complicated and difficult procedure in all Italy procedures (and everything in this country is more difficult than usual).
You have to take a law degree.
You have to attend a notary office for 2 years.
And you have to take the “CONCORSO”
More or less every 2 years there is the Concorso.
It consists of 3 parts.
The first one is called “preselezione.”
It means you have to memorize 10,000 multiple choice questions about the civil law.
The computer chooses 45 questions and you have to answer in the right way all 45 in 45 minutes.
If you do just 1 mistake you are OUT.
Once you pass this test (I passed it 3 times) you have the most difficult work. “LA PROVA SCRITTA”
It consists of 3 days’ work closed in an underground government room in which they give you 3 different essays to do pretending you are a notary and a university professor of law. Everyday just to dictate the question (yeah, because the Commission doesn’t give you a paper but it dictates it!!!) it takes 1 hour and a half because just the subject is 4 pages long.
You can have with you only your pen, blank paper and the civil code. And you have to explain all the legal issues the question gives you and write all the acts a notary is supposed to write, in 7 hours per day.
Usually you have to write down all the stuff straight, because the subjects they give you are really long and complicated. And each written work comes out to 20-25 pages.
So at the end of the 3 days you wrote 60-70 pages, you finished 3 pens, and you have (like me the last time) your hand bleeding!!!!!
After this you have to wait 2 years; this is the time the Commission needs to correct the work.
If you pass the “scritto” you can go to take the “orale” (oral exam) which is much easier.
But there are so few people that pass the “scritto”…….
Average to do all this stuff, without “un calcio in culo” that in Italy means when someone “helps” you, it takes 10 years.
This happened to my friend Paolo, who now is a notary in Offida.

More or less after 10 years he passed the contest.
And the funny thing was that he was so bored of all this stuff that he decided not to do the contest anymore, and so it was his last contest and it was the good one.
When you pass the contest the government gives you a list of cities you can choose.
And he chose this beautiful town of Offida where he’s the only notary.

The main piazza of Offida, where Paolo has his office.

And now he’s enjoying all the 10 years work he did.

Paolo's office, with frescoes on the ceiling.

One day I hope to do the same.

View from Paolo's office window.

Otherwise I will have to be a bored lawyer for all my life.



Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Very nice post! I have a friend in Rome whose father was the Secretary for Unione Internazionale Del Notariato Latino - and they used to greet her personally in a restaurant near the sounds like a great job to have. I hope you keep pushing forward! :)

East of Oregon said...

extremely interesting post!

Ebony and Ivory said...

Wow, what a process! Congratulations to you for keeping your sanity. I hope you continue forward. Notary's here in the States only get $10 per signature, but of course, they don't have to go through so much to become a notary. We will be cheering for you hear in the States! Bravo!

Ebony and Ivory said...

LOL, oops I meant here not's early in the morning here and my brain is still not 100% at this hour!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Wow, good luck with your journey. This was very interesting. I wondered what the difference was between a Notary in the U.S. and one in Italy.

Maryann said...

Good luck! I can't beleve all the work that has to be put into becoming a notary in Italy. I also wonder what the differemnce could be between a notary in the U.S and one in Italy

Expat Traveler said...

wow what an experience! I do hope things come to an end just as like it is for me and immigration!

And I definitely have so much interest in meeting you!

Lovely guest blogger shelley!

Kelli said...

Zoiks Scooby. Of course, I type that with one hand while they other is being culturally competent in making a "rock on!!" sign beneath my desk.
(A bit nicer than the aforementioned scratching.)

FinnyKnits said...

Guest Blogger Extraordinaire!

Ale, your constant pursuit of Notaio is incredible and frightening. I can't believe all you have to go through for this position -- even though I've heard some of your stories during our visits.

Bleeding hands? Verbal dictation? Working in a basement? This sounds like some third world torture camp. Are they trying to extract trade secrets? Sheesh.

I can't wait to see your name scrawled in fancy script on a gold plaque someday.

Anonymous said...

Great post! A Notary in Canada is much easier to get into and is considered a lesser position than becoming a lawyer.
I can see why you'd want to become a Notario with that kind of money!
Good luck.

gracie said...

You forget to mention that usually here this kind of job is passed on from father to son, so the closed number is even more closed!
Good luck!

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Thanks for all the nice wishes!

Actually that it gets passed from father to son is a myth. I've heard Ale correct people on this several times.

Technically it can't be passed down, because everyone has to pass the concorso first (and then if by a miracle they pass, they don't necessarily get their first choice of city). Unless of course the father or mother notaio "intervenes" for the son or daughter through illegal means like paying people off/bribes, favors, etc., which everyone knows exists. But the son or daughter still has to go through the motions of the concorso, regardless...even the "raccomandati" (that is, those who may have some kind of special "in" due to powerful people they know and are guaranteed to pass before they take the exam.) It's quite an amazing and mysterious process.

Anonymous said...

rock on Ale!!!

Yael said...

Can you lend me 5€ when you pass? ;)