Things to know about Florence before moving (2022-2023)


Updated on Mar 10 • 6 minute read

Florence is the capital city of Tuscany and has a population of almost 400,000. Its larger metropolitan area extends over part of the coastal plain to the west of the hillside.

If you're considering a move to Florence, there are some things you should know first. While it's undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in the world and among the best cities in Italy, Florence can also be quite challenging to live in.

In this article we’ll give you information on the following:

  1. What you should expect from living in Florence
  2. How to find accommodation in Florence
  3. The best neighborhoods in Florence
  4. The cost of living in Florence
  5. The job market in the Florence
  6. The higher education options in Florence

What to expect when living in Florence, Italy

Considering Florence’s long history dating back to the 1st century BCE, you shouldn’t be surprised to find out that the city feels like a giant museum. The old infrastructure has limited the expansion of the tram network in the city, but the local officials have made sure that this isn't an issue by setting up a vast bus network that connects the whole of Florence.

The predominantly mild weather and Florence’s small footprint make using public transport optional since mostly everything is within walking distance. Despite being small, however, Florence is always lively, with locals relaxing outside across the many gardens and parks the city has to offer.

As with almost every other city in Italy, you’ll find that there isn’t a shortage of restaurants and bars across Florence. From seafood all the way to mouthwatering pasta variations, you’ll certainly find it hard not to break the bank and eat out every day of the week.

Is Florence suitable for internationals?

You may be wondering how international Florence is. According to one estimate, around 100,000 expats reside in Florence at any given time. As a result, Florence can be a great place to live if you're looking for an international lifestyle. The city is full of culture and history, and there are plenty of things to do. Plus, it's a great place to learn Italian.

Is Florence safe?

Florence is a generally safe city and there there aren't any areas that you should avoid. As with everywhere else, however, it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.

What is the cost of living in Florence, Italy?

The cost of living in Florence is not too high when it comes to basic expenses. Groceries, transportation, and restaurant prices are affordable compared to other major European cities. However, the cost of leisure activities can be quite expensive for those who like attending concerts or visiting museums on a regular basis.

The cost of renting a flat also varies depending on the area you want to live in. You can find an apartment for as low as €900 in San Nicolo, while the price can go up to as much as €1,200 for a flat in Duomo.

All in all, you should be ready to spend around €900 (excluding rent expenses) per month in Florence.

Florence offers several facilities that residents can enjoy for free, including the famous Uffizi Gallery.

Where to shop in Florence if you want to save money?

The best place to find reasonably priced food products in Florence are supermarkets like COOP (at Piazza Tasso) and SISA (located inside Mercato Centrale), where fresh fruits and vegetables can be found along with other necessities. There are also farmers’ markets, where local residents shop and you'll be able to find the best deals here. If shopping at COOP or SISA isn't for you, then try buying groceries at Eurospin (at Piazza Tasso), where many products can be found in bulk and relatively cheap in comparison to supermarkets like Coop and Conad.

How to find accommodation in Florence?

Finding accommodation in Florence can be a hard endeavor, especially if you want to live in the heart of the city.

The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in Florence is €900-€1,000 and deposits tend to be 2x the rent amount. With such high prices, you have to make sure that you’re getting the most of your rental experience.

Consider applying our tips on how to make save yourself some stress when looking for your new home in Florence:

  • Make sure to inspect the property before renting and ask the landlord to fix any issues that are not up to par.
  • Take into account how close the apartment is to things like grocery stores, public transportation, and nightlife
  • Make sure you set €50-€100 for utilities every month since you’ll most likely be have to pay them yourself.
  • If you're not fluent in Italian, make sure that the rental contract is written in English or another language you understand

To avoid being scammed, it's important to always research landlords and real estate agents thoroughly, read reviews from other tenants, and never pay a rental deposit until you have seen the property and signed a rental contract.

What are the best neighborhoods for expats in Florence?

Locals regard Oltrarno as the best neighborhood in Florence. This district is on the south side of the Arno River and is known for its art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants. The best things to do near Piazzale Michelangelo are climbing the hill to take in a view of the city and stopping for gelato.

The Duomo neighborhood is one of the oldest and most historical neighborhoods in Florence. It's located right in the heart of the city, making it a prime spot for tourists and locals alike. The area is home to some of Florence's most famous landmarks, including the Duomo Cathedral and Baptistery.

The San Marco neighborhood has a lot of character. The neighborhood is convenient for shopping and dining, with plenty of restaurants and boutiques within walking distance. However, the San Marco neighborhood can also be quite noisy and crowded, especially in the summer months.

The San Nicolo neighborhood is perfect for those looking for an affordable place to live in Florence. The area has good access to the city center, and there are plenty of amenities around. However, san Nicolo flats can often be quite small, so they may not be suitable for everyone.

The job market in Florence

Florence’s economy depends on manufacturing, publishing and commerce as well as tourism.

There are many English-speaking jobs available in the tourism industry. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that those who only speak English may have a harder time finding jobs outside of this sector.

Many of the English speakers look towards large international brands that have their offices in Florence. These businesses are more likely to offer English-speaking jobs due to their need for English communicators roles which may be in public relations, sales, or marketing. As English-speaking jobs abroad become more desirable there’ll be a rise in the demand for English-speaking positions. However, your chances of landing a job would be higher in small and medium-sized companies.

Office clerks, customer service reps, and English teaching jobs are other common positions that english-speakers fill throughout the city of Florence. There are English speakers in Florence who work in the banking and fashion industries as well. Jobs in these fields can be hard to come by if English is not your native language because of the level of fluency required to get hired. If you're looking for English teaching jobs, there are positions in the private English academies throughout the city.

What are the universities in Florence?

Studying in Florence has been increasingly popular over the past couple of years. The local universities are growing rapidly, some with hundreds of new students enrolling each year. There has never been a better time to study abroad in Florence.

One of the top universities in Florence is the University of Florence. It's an ancient institution that has been around since 1321! It's an influential center for research in Italy, offering a wide range of study programs. It ranks in the top 5% of the best universities in the world.

Another leading institute for higher education in Florence is the European Institute of Design, commonly called IED. It's a private university where students can study fashion design, interior design, industrial design, and product design.

Florence is also home to Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali Pareggiato, where students have the opportunity to pursue education in the music field.

Now that you’ve got all the information you need to know before moving to Florence, you’re all set to discover houses to rent in Florence. So what are you waiting for? Get to work and start preparing your checklist for moving to Italy.

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