For members


Why you’ll need to report a lost Italian SIM card to the police

Losing things is always a nuisance. However, losing your SIM card in Italy is likely to require a trip to the police station, as reporter Jessica Lionnel explains.

Why you'll need to report a lost Italian SIM card to the police
Austria's KlimaTicket will soon be available digitally. Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

I’ve always been pretty clumsy. It’s not uncommon for me to trip over or to forget to take the keys out of my apartment door when I enter it (which usually results in me a) panicking about where I’ve put them or b) a nice neighbour telling me I’ve left them in again).

So when I lost my SIM card last summer, I wasn’t too surprised. I was perhaps more surprised that it had never happened to me before. How do you lose a SIM without losing your phone, you ask? Well, I had an old phone (Samsung Galaxy 17 to be exact) that could not hold two SIMs at the same time.

For anyone who’s an international resident with elderly relatives, having a SIM from your home country is a great way to keep in touch with them, especially as figuring out WhatsApp for them is the equivalent of figuring out the Enigma Code. I kept my trusty UK Tesco SIM and swapped out my Iliad one anytime I wanted to make a call to my nan.

That’s how I came to lose my Italian SIM. I gave it a day to pop up again, but it didn’t, so I Iooked online to find the nearest Iliad SIM machine which was only 10 minutes away. I got there and explained to the Iliad worker what had happened to my SIM and that I wanted my old number. As you’re probably well aware, having a main number here in Italy is crucial to accessing your SPID or your banking app.

“Perhaps it’s best you get a letter from your local carabinieri station first,” he replied, as though it were obvious I should have done that beforehand. 

Confused, I contacted my local carabinieri station (the Italian military police) using my partner’s phone and explained what had happened. They told me to come in the next day to get a denuncia (which was the name of the letter I needed) and advised me to bring ID such as a carta or permesso di soggiorno or a carta d’identità. They also advised me to have my old phone number to hand.

READ ALSO: ‘Hellish odyssey’: Why cancelling my Italian phone contract took six months

I got there the next day and was met by a friendly officer who asked me to sit down so he could tackle a few details. He took my carta d’identita, asked me what my job was, whether I was married or not, and what my old number was. The whole process took two minutes. I know if your phone has been stolen it takes a bit longer as they have to send information to your telephone provider too.

After he finished tapping away at his keyboard, he presented me with a signed letter stating who I was, what carabinieri station I came to, my old phone number and a section of the law which stated I had made a report and knew the consequences of making a false one.

I asked the officer why I had to do this and he responded: “Because it’s the law and because it’s better protection for everyone.”

I understood his point; the process does make it harder for people to steal numbers, which is a bonus. I took the letter to the Iliad machine, scanned in the denuncia and had my old phone number back along with a new SIM.

It may seem bizarre at first, especially if you’re from a country like I am where getting your old number back takes only a quick phone call, but there is a valid reason behind it even though it’s lengthy.

So if you’re one of the unfortunate ones to lose your SIM, bear in mind you may very well have to go to the carabinieri.

I can’t say I’ll have to do it again in the near future: I have a new phone now that holds two SIMs.

Member comments

  1. You can have two SIMs on your phone. Get one installed as a virtual SIM. It is common now. Actually, both, on newer phones. Nothing to lose. Except your phone I guess.

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For members


Does Italy really offer the perfect work-life balance?

With plenty of public holidays, hour-long lunch breaks and busy 'aperitivo' hours, Italy has long been portrayed as the beacon of striking the perfect balance between life and work. But is this reality or myth?

Does Italy really offer the perfect work-life balance?

When thinking of Italy, chances are its food, relaxed lifestyle and beautiful climate all come above work. It’s widely glamorised in Hollywood as enjoying the dolce far niente, that is the sweetness of doing nothing.

While these idealised portrayals are often very far from reality, a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranked Italy as the best country to live in for work-life balance.

The report indicated that only three percent of Italian employees work over 50 hours a week as opposed to the 10 percent OECD average. It also outlined that full-time workers in Italy devote 16.5 hours of their day to personal care as opposed to the 15-hour OECD standard. 

There are multiple reasons behind these numbers: for one, the right to weekly rest and paid annual leave, and a cap on working hours are all clearly set out under Article 36 of Italy’s constitution. As it stands, the standard contracted working week in the bel paese is 40 hours, with 48 hours being the absolute maximum. This is the same as in the United Kingdom 

Another similarity between the two countries is that, by law, workers should have an 11-hour interval between finishing and starting work. So why then, if the two countries have similar working laws, does Italy outshine the United Kingdom in the OECD’s report in terms of work-life balance?

An explanation for this could be that, though 40 hours is the standard for contracted work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that number is always reached. 2022 statistics from the OECD showed that the average contracted Italian worker worked a total of 1,694 hours, which comes in at around 33 hours per week.

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: ‘Americans live to work, Italians know how to balance’

Another explanation could be knowing when to rest. In a recent interview with The Local, social media influencer Kacie Burns said: “Americans live to work and I used to thrive off chaos. Italians do way less so. They know how to balance. Having a full life means incorporating rest and coming from a culture that demonises rest, it was hard to grasp at first but now it’s my favourite thing.”

Tutti al mare: during August Italy’s cities empty out and the beaches fill up. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

However, not everyone who lives in the country agrees and not all data ranks Italy as being the best for work-life balance. 

For Mary Hassan Ali Rizzo, a self-employed Marche resident by way of Chicago, work-life balance in Italy is tilted more towards work.

“I don’t find the balance here good at all,” she said. “I’ve been self-employed for the last 33 years and to keep up with the high cost of living, high fiscal pressure and low wages, I have to work a minimum of 50 hours a week.”

She added that children attending school on Saturdays limits the time for leisure, with emphasis to carry out recreational activities being placed on Sunday. “Personal time is still not easy to find,” she said.

Struggles with working life are currently a big issue among international residents in the country, which seem to skew the narrative set by the OECD figures. Italy ranked 47th out of 53 countries in the 2023 Expat Insider Survey conducted by expatriate network group InterNations. Lack of job prospects was listed as the main disadvantage in the study.

Furthermore, no Italian city figured in Forbes’ 2023 Worldwide Work-Life Balance Index, which rounded up the 25 world cities with the best work-life balance based on factors including average working hours, minimum legal annual leave and property price to income ratio.

That said, some international residents argue that it is not a country that determines work-life balance, but people themselves.

“People have a good or bad work-life balance in my opinion, not countries,” said Rome resident Zoe Joanne Green. “I could work fewer hours and survive on my partner’s wages, but I’d rather work more to afford things,” she said. 

“That’s a good balance for me. Others might value more free time though.”

Do you have an opinion on Italy’s work-life balance? Let us know in the comments below.