Well, the title's a bit misleading. This is one of my sporadic Public Service Announcements for any of you out there that may hold an Italian passport, and have a dual last name, or kids with hyphenated ones. I won't go into the details of my odyssey into the bowels of the Italian bureaucracy, like, being told to go up to the 2nd floor, then 3rd floor, down to the ground floor, and no, it's on the first floor (I should have known), and then following the signs for Birth certificates to discuss Marriage ones, and finding the office has moved (but no sign saying as much...)
So--in an effort to prevent those of you from the same fate...
Basically, many years ago, Italians decided that foreigners with Italian grandfathers could gain citizenship. In the USA, this coincided with a vote that Americans could hold two passports as well.
The conspiracy theory at the time was that this was a way to bump up their populations in order to gain more money from the EU (I believe it wholeheartedly).
I applied for my entire extended family, and after a 3 yr. trip to Dante's inferno and back, we were good to go.
In the meantime, my sister had four kids, all of whom were put on her single passport. Her kids have a hyphenated last name. Hyphens, striking terror in the hearts of Italian pencil pushers, and causing so much angst that people are known to collapse at their desk from brain hemorrhages at the very thought of spotting a dual last name in their piles of papers. So, out went the hyphen, yet the two names coexisted peacefully for about 12 years.
That is, until 2006, when Italy allowed for voting from abroad. And so, they took countless millions of dual citizens and inserted them into computers. Anyone with two last names was shortened down to one, naturally, the father's. Unbelievably, this draconian measure was taken only with her oldest child, for no apparent reason. You were given 30 days to counter. Unfortunately for you, the Courthouse & address indicated on the form was totally incorrect - they had nothing to do with the entire fiasco. And so, the record stayed put.
[Admirably, they did attempt to inform Consular offices worldwide of the problem, even writing to specific complainants directly - I've seen the files, organized by country.]
In 2008, a law was passed that outlawed all that happened in 2006. Basically, some wizened old sage understood that you can't have people running around with different names for different countries, especially if it was the very same person. For that kind of behavior, you'd either be on a 'no-fly' list by now, or considered a mafioso on the lam. So, orders were given to take those millions, and put their names back. Except no one got around to it.
Add to this, that in 2010, the Courts, taking a major step closer to equality, also decided that kids could bear their mothers' names. Many single moms can now also have their child's name match their own.
So, if you recognize yourself as one of these people, you need to ideally restart the process at the Anagrafe di Roma, Ufficio di Correzioni (Corrections Office, in the true sense of the word). You could try going through your Consolate, but I'd go straight to the source (Italian only, per favore). They will deny, of course, any knowledge of any of the above, and tell you you don't need to change the name. Press on. They have to make the change, but you'll have to supply all docs again, even if they have them sitting right on top of their computer screens.
Keep in mind that both parents need to sign the request and...Dio ti Benedica if that parent is no longer in the picture.
While passing (a lot of) time sitting in these various offices, I had a lot of time to mull things over. The mom's name (of the hyphens) is still her dad's last name...so, it's still paternal after all. Maybe the Spaniards, with their dozen or so last names, mom's&dad's, have it right after all. But what would that do to the Italian computer systems? It'd be worse than the Melissa virus...but then again, that might not be a bad thing.