Finding a Great Accommodation with Fabulous Roommates
By: Katie Greenaway
After spending a month in an apartment with my fellow students from the Centro Linguistico Italiano Dante Alighieri scuola, I wanted to find an apartment for myself so I could experience Florence another way, living with Europeans.
Hotels are nice and all but what about renting an apartment in the most enchanting city in Europe. Living as a Florentine, even if it was for a while, is well worth it. Shopping at the local Co-op and Forno (bakery) is a divine experience. Walking through the local food and clothing markets in Piazza Santo Spirito is a rare treat.
When looking for an apartment if you're already in Florence, go straight to the closest Internet cafe you can find. Not to check on the web but most Internet cafes have a bulletin board where jobs are posted as well as interested parties looking for roommates.
My roommates were from the Netherlands. I found them on a bulletin board in B Online Internet cafe on Via S.Egidio 37r in Florence. I went to meet my potential roommates with my friend Emily so I could get a second opinion on the apartment and roommates. She helped me by asking additional questions I would never have thought of. She asked questions like how long have you been in Florence, where is the closest bus stop if need be.
My roommates were an exception to the rule being that they were from the Netherlands; it was a different living environment because they spoke Dutch and English and the main difference being they weren't Italian. When living with people from any culture always remember to be respectful. Growing up in a completely different environment can cause a little hostility when doing simple chores around the apartment. Don't fret. Be forward and ask them if they have any chores or rules you must follow so both of you can live peacefully and hopefully become friends. It is very important to remember you are living in THEIR space. Try to accommodate to their traditions and who knows you might rub off some of your own onto your roommate. My suggestion if you are living with an Italian is to practice your Italian whenever possible. I knew a few friends who lived with Italians and their language skills improved immensely. It was a great experience to live with people from a different culture than Italian. I wish I got to bond more with Jelmer and Tim; it was my loss that I didn't get to know them better. It was a fabulous experience even if it was just for a month in the most magical city in the world! Happy Roomie Hunting!
Here are some tips on finding an authentic Italian experience:
- Go with a friend to meet your potential roommates to get a second opinion.
- Make sure you feel comfortable in the living space as you walk in.
- Ask them what they are doing in Florence: working, studying, etc.
- Let your friend ask a few questions about the place, as well.
- Have cash (around 100 euro) with you when checking out some apartments in case you like the apartment, and you might need to put down a deposit.
- Make sure the rent includes all amenities (which normally they all do).