A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals
Last updated: April 2018
How to rent a place in Florence
Let’s not lie about it, it is not easy to find an accommodation in Florence. The city centre is relatively small and most apartments are rented out to tourists. As a consequence, students usually face difficulties in finding a room that is within their budget. Those who do not know the city or the local language often end up using the services of real estate agencies that tend to be quite expensive… But no reason to panic! Someone is there to help you find an affordable room that suits your needs: at Housing Anywhere we are doing our best to support you and make your search for accommodation smooth by offering a vast and completely safe range of rooms. Check our platform regularly and follow our tips on how to find your new home in Florence.
Hi! I'm Giuditta and here I'll give you some tips and information about Florence. I'm Italian and I studied Foreign Languages and Literature at the Rijksuniversiteit of Groningen. My experience of living abroad counts Belgium, Denmark and France. Moving abroad is an amazing experience and it can be very difficult to adapt to a completely different environment at first. However, don't worry, as an Italian I'll try to help you find best areas to live, best methods of public transport to use and things to experience. I hope that after reading these articles you will have an impression of Florence and enjoy one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Actually, I'm certain you will love it!
Living in Florence and its neighbourhoods
Quality of life
The quintessence of Italy
Imagine losing yourself in the small streets of a UNESCO world heritage site, cradle of the Italian Renaissance and hometown of Dante Alighieri. Or enjoying an ice cream while walking along the Arno river and visiting Ponte Vecchio’s artisanal shops. Imagine discovering the masterpieces of Italian artists like Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, safeguarded from time in every corner of this charming city. Or shopping in via de’ Tornabuoni, the place where Made in Italy was born and fashion designers still dictate the rules of the Italian style. Imagine entering a small osteria to chat with friends while eating the typical Fiorentina steak and sipping a nice glass of a Chianti wine. Or enjoying with your partner the view from Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the most romantic places in the world. Well, you will not need to imagine too hard: all this --and much more, will soon become part of your daily routine. Moving to Florence will make you experience the quintessence of the Italian city.
Take a bus or directly walk there
Florence is situated in the Centre North of Italy and is reachable via the airport of Firenze-Peretola, but mostly via the train station of Santa Maria Novella, located in the city centre. From there, you can easily travel to Bologna in less than an hour and to Rome or Milan in less than two. The easiest way to move around Florence is by bus, as a good network of bus lines connects all the main points of the city and cars are often not allowed. The city centre is relatively small and distances are sometimes so short that it may make more sense to cycle or directly walk. But be aware: Florence is normally packed with tourists, so especially during day time, be ready to deal with flocks of visitors, stopping amazed at every corner of this beautiful city.
Life in Florence
Florence, or Firenze in Italian, is a middle size city of almost 400,000 inhabitants, but it is usually very crowded with tourists, therefore it is useful to immediately befriend some locals and follow their suggestions to avoid the busiest places. This will not be a hard task, as Florentine people are widely known in Italy to be very friendly. Their accent, characterised by the aspirated phonetics, is normally said to be the pure Italian language and considered the funniest of the entire peninsula, but also the sexiest. In the true Italian spirit, people do not need large parties and hardcore clubbing to have fun. Good food and wine are considered enough. Locals usually love to simply gather with friends on a square, like Santo Spirito or Sant’Ambrogio, just to seat on the church’s steps and spend the whole night outdoor chatting and having an ice cream.
Moving to Florence
Practical guide on administrative papers
Ok, we know it, Italy is famous for its bureaucracy, but if you follow our simple suggestions you will not experience any problem in dealing with administrative issues. Here you can find a list of actions that you should take as soon as you move to Florence. First of all, if you come outside the EU, you have to ask the support of your embassy and request a residence permit (in Italian ‘permesso di soggiorno’), which can be done at any post office (ufficio postale) with a dedicated form. In case you have any issues or further questions, you can always refer to Sportello unico per l’immigrazione (Immigration Office), located in via Francesco Baracca, 150p. After you have done all this, the last thing you need to do is to get a tax identification number (codice fiscale). In order to do so, you must go to the local agenzia delle entrate (tax office) with a valid passport/ID, a completed application form downloaded from the website and your residence permit. More information on how to request a tax identification number can be retrieved on this useful video realised by the Italian tax office. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J29yi6n5ebQ)
Old town - Santa Croce district
A district rich in history and culture
The Santa Croce district, which opens in front of the Basilica, is located in the south-east area of the city center. The principal monument of this area is the church of Santa Croce which is located in the Santa Croce square. Strolling through the narrow streets and small squares you will discover small shops and museums in which to stop and discover small curiosities. If you are a football fan, there is an extraordinary event extremely felt by the Florentines, try to buy a couple of tickets for the historical football match staged right in the beautiful Santa Croce square. Have fun!
Old town - San Marco district
The district of universities and art
In the city center you can choose to live in San Marco, the perfect district for vintage fashion and flea market lovers. The San Marco district is the university district, headquarter of the most prestigious faculties of Florence: political science, law, art and literature. Full of life, the neighborhood is developed in its main streets such as Via Ricasoli, Via dei Servi, Via Santa Reparata, Via San Gallo and Via XXVII Aprile. If you are exploring the area around San Marco square, you can choose to visit the National Museum of San Marco, the Accademia Gallery, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, or just relax sitting in the San Marco Square or the nearby Piazza Santissima Annunziata on the Spedale degli Innocenti stairways.
Old town - San Lorenzo district
The pop neighborhood of Florence
If you want to immerse yourself in the Florentine life what better neighbourhood is there than San Lorenzo? Here you can easily find authentic pieces of leather craftsmanship and you'll still be a short walk from the Basilica. A short walk from the Duomo, the area around the church of San Lorenzo, offers a wide range of things to see and to do. You can walk through the San Lorenzo market and visit the Medici Chapels. If you want to cook an Italian cuisine dish in your apartment for rent in Florence, go to the grocery store to the Central Market, the most famous and crowded food market in Florence. Here you can find plenty of meat, fish, vegetables and fresh fruits beautifully arranged on the shelves: definitely a wonderful sight to see and taste.
Fortezza da Basso district
The heart of contemporary architecture
Fortezza da Basso district is the headquarters of the most important exhibition center of Tuscany and of the Medici Fortress. If you love contemporary architecture, its new pavilions are among the few examples in the center of Florence. Nearby there is the Academy Gallery: maybe at lunch you could pay a visit to David... To host events of Florence Fair were built two new exhibition pavilions, Pavilion Spadolini and Cavaniglia. They are both very interesting structures, among the few examples of contemporary architecture in the center of Florence. The fortress hosts a range of scientific laboratories and restoration. In the gardens of the Villa the Palazzo dei Congressi in Florence.
The Bolognese district
On the hills, few steps away from the city center
For those who love the tranquility the Bolognese district, in the hills and a few steps away from the city center, is perfect for you. Surrounded by greenery, this neighbourhood is ideal for those who love to move around in a car and will have no problems to park on the way home without the risk of fines! You will then spend your free afternoons visiting the Garden of Parnassus and its unique fountain in the shape of a serpent, from here you can enjoy a great panoramic view.
The place beyond the Arno
Oltrarno, on the left side of the Arno river, is the perfect area for the romantic lovers of tradition. The name already gives us some indication, in fact Oltrarno (which is like saying Michelangelo square) is according to the Florentines, the most beautiful panoramic view of the world. In Oltrarno you will find the antique shops, the local market, taverns and endless narrow streets to get lost romantically. The Oltrarno is the heart of ancient crafts and traditions. The best way to explore this part of the city is undoubtedly follow it on foot and discover craft shops, street markets and trattorias but also the beauty of churches, squares, monuments and museums.
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