“With Covid, the world has paused a little bit,” said Bianca Ottone, the founder of My Italian Family, which has been providing citizenship services since 2001. Ms. Ottone said the number of people contacting her company has gone up by about 50 percent during the past six months. “Many people contacted us saying, ‘remember we discussed this in 2018 or 2019?’” she said. “It was in their pipeline and now is the time to pick it up.”
A Different Lifestyle
Ms. Triola, the director of marketing for Wethos, started looking into getting Italian citizenship in 2018 but let the project fall to the wayside after running into some difficulties with obtaining her grandparents’ marriage certificate and with mismatched names on documents from the United States and from Italy. But recently, Ms. Triola decided to pick her application up again.
“It feels as if there is more freedom if you are an E.U. citizen,” said Ms. Triola, who lives in Los Angeles. “I haven’t pursued graduate school because I can’t justify putting myself $100,000 in debt to get a master’s degree or a Ph.D. If I were to do that as an E.U. citizen, that could be entirely free.”
Affordable health care and guaranteed paid parental leave are other advantages to having an Italian citizenship, she said. Ms. Trioladoes not expect to see these benefits in the United States anytime soon. The current political atmosphere, she said, makes her “skeptical that we will achieve the things we need to achieve to live comfortably here.”
Dave Gallo, 73, a retiree in San Francisco, began the application process for Italian citizenship in 2017 and was approved in February of this year. The pandemic has confirmed that he made the right choice, he said. Despite the age difference, his reasoning is not all that different from Ms. Triola’s.
“In San Francisco, there’s nothing for old people except nursing homes,” Mr. Gallo said. After visiting Italy for the first time in 2015, Mr. Gallo discovered seven cousins who live there. As soon as he is able to, Mr. Gallo plans to move to the town in north Italy from which his grandfather came to America. There is little traffic there, the cost of living is cheaper, it is surrounded by vineyards, and Mr. Gallo said he finds it easier to connect with people there.
“The pandemic has created so much uncertainty that no one knows what life will be like for the next 10 to 15 years,” Mr. Gallo said. “For an old person, it’ll be even more difficult. Where do I want to spend the rest of my life?” For Mr. Gallo, the answer is clear: Italy.