I wrote to solvit explaining my situation (see above, re visit to Italy) and this was their reply :
Thank you for contacting Your Europe - Advice.
According to Directive 2004/38/EC, when exercising their freedom of movement, Union citizens are entitled to be accompanied by their family members, irrespective of nationality.
Summary of Directive 2004/38/EC: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/ ... 152_en.htm
It is true that Ukrainian nationals need visa in order to enter Italy, and any other EU member state. This is by virtue of Regulation № 539/2001: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/ ... 07b_en.htm
However, if your wife holds a "Residence card of a family member of a Union citizen" (under Article 10 of Directive 2004/38/EC), she is entitled to enter Italy without visa. Please note that this card is different from her Bulgarian permanent residence card.
In case your wife does not hold such a card: according to Article 5 (2) of Directive 2004/38/EC, if she travels to join or accompany you, her visa should be issued free of charge and within an accelerated procedure.
Furthermore, according to the ''Practical Handbook for Border Guards (Schengen Handbook)'' and Commission Recommendation of of 25/VI/2008, the family members visa could be issued on the border too. So your wife could have her visa issued by the Italian authorities at the airport border.
For reference: see Commission Recommendation of of 25/VI/2008, Annex, (2) (h) (i) http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf ... 3.en08.pdf
''In case where a third-country national who is a member of the family of an EU/EEA citizen is not in possession of the required visa but can prove his/her identity and family tie with the EU/EEA citizen, and if there is no evidence that he/she poses a risk to the public policy, public security or public health requirements of the Member States, a visa must be issued to him/her at the border. Such a visa must be issued free of charge.
''Specific rules for issuing visas at the border to members of the family of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are third-country nationals subject to the visa requirement:
7.10 When a member of the family of an EU/EEA citizen, accompanying or joining the U/EEA citizen in question, arrives at the border without being in possession of the necessary visa, the Member State concerned must, before turning him/her back, give the person concerned every reasonable opportunity to corroborate or prove by other means that he/she is covered by the right of free movement. If he/she succeeds in doing so and if there is no evidence that he/she poses a risk to the public policy, public security or public health requirements, the visa must be issued to him/her without delay at the border. The visa must be issued free of charge.''
You can read the full text at:
http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf ... 3.en08.pdf
http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/doc_ce ... hts_en.htm