Italian identity cards are being issued at a rate of only 50 a day in the first municipality thanks to a shortage of council workers. The situation is even worse in the third municipality where as few as 20 a day are being issued. The problem has been exacerbated by the number of people trying to renew cards before they go off on their summer holidays.
Every year more than 400,000 identity cards are issued or renewed in the offices of the various Rome municipalities; there is particular demand at the offices of the first municipality in Via Petroselli in the historic centre as not only residents but also those working in the centre go in the hope of speeding up the process.
All Italians possess an identity card valid for 10 years issued by their local council, which they are supposed to carry at all times. The card has a photograph of the holder with his or her place and date of birth and current address. If the identity card for foreign travel is requested (per espatrio) it is also accepted instead of a passport for foreign travel within the European Union.
An electronic version of the card had been planned for all Italians, containing information such as blood group and fiscal code. The Rome city council was set to start issuing them in 2005 but the Berlusconi government intervened saying that these cards should be issued by central government, not by local councils. Currently, the electronic system is being used on an experimental basis in 156 towns and cities.