This is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when moving to a new city. Even if you’re having trouble sorting your health insurance, or you’ve lost your public transport ticket, as long as there’s a roof over your head things will work out. At Housing Anywhere, we are specialists at getting students the best and most affordable accommodation they can, so let’s get to it.
Renting in Pisa is not as competitive as some other cities. That said, Italians can be a bit more subjective in their decision making, with many landlords preferring to give long-term lets to Italians - but we can get around that.
Don’t bother looking for a physical letting agent to work on your behalf - in today’s world, it’s more effective (and far cheaper) to do your own research online. Our Housing Anywhere Pisa search provides the latest, most-affordable listings in the city, tailored for students. The best thing is that we are just one of many services out there looking to connect you with a new home abroad.
We also have a Facebook group for finding accommodation in Pisa, which has nearly 2,000 members and should help you find other people in your exact situation!
While Pisa accommodation is quite plentiful, it’s best to actively look before getting there. If you wait until all the other (thousands of) students arrive, finding and securing a room will become so much harder. If possible, move out a little while before your studies start - you can get to know the city, arrange cheap accommodation and enjoy the sun before term!
The other reason to start looking for pisa accommodation early is that you might not get your first choice apartment. Or the second. It’s impossible to predict what might happen, so you need to allow yourself time to go through the motions more than once, just in case.
As a quick and easy rule of thumb, the very centre of Pisa is expensive, and outside the centre is very affordable. As a student, I’d always recommend you look outside the immediate centre since, quite simply, you don’t need to live there. Public transport will take you where you need to go, or you can walk/cycle around since the city isn’t that big.
The next big decision is whether to rent a whole flat (and locate flatmates), a single room or a studio.
The best thing about renting a studio apartment (or a normal one-bed apartment) is flexibility. You can decorate it however you like, choose the layout of any furniture, buy whatever suits your style… Even the amount of mess is completely up to you. The drawback is two-fold. First, it’s a lot more expensive. While renting a room in an existing apartment might be around €300, a studio is likely to be double that, at least. You also pay all of the utilities on your own.
The second problem is that it can be lonely. You’d be amazed at how much impact seeing someone every morning/evening has on your psyche. Some people are great at living alone, but exchange is largely about meeting and getting to know new people, and you could miss out.
If you and a few other exchange students take on a whole flat, you get some of the benefits of a studio. Assuming you all agree, you can pretty much kit the place out however you want (like splitting the cost of a TV, if there isn’t one already, or a games console) and it will definitely be your home. It can be a hassle, sorting out a 3 or 4-way contract, but the result will be a fun flat, with people you’ve chosen to live with.
Average cost will be €300-400 per month, plus utilities at anywhere from €50-100 per person.
This is by far the easiest way to secure Pisa accommodation during your stay. Students in Pisa are off exploring, doing exchanges and trying new things as much as you are, so plenty of flats have one occupant missing for months at a time. Snag their room and you’re sorted - the whole flat is already furnished and ready to go!
Of course, you don’t get much choice over your flatmates, and you might struggle to influence any existing "house rules" that you disagree with, like smoking. However, this is usually completely fine, and by far the cheapest option as sometimes you won’t even need a deposit! The cost will be about the same as sharing an apartment with exchange students, €300-400 a month plus utilities.
We’ve recommended that you start your search nice and early to maximize your odds of finding great accommodation in Pisa, and finding a temporary place to stay for a few weeks could be massively helpful. Most landlords/tenants don’t want to let their room out to a computer screen, and I don’t really blame them - it’s always better to meet the people you’re going to be living with.
Therefore, if you can be in Pisa while applying for flats, you might find it easier to land somewhere good. Hostels and hotels are all good options. Of course, if you look early and decide to book a long-term room before moving (using a secure website like Housing Anywhere) then you don’t need to worry about this step!