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Ottobre: 2006

7 essential questions before booking accommodation in Florence

7Finding good student accommodation in Florence is not always very easy. There is a wide choice of rooms and flats, but sometimes for newcomers it may be a little risky to choose their housing on their own from abroad, especially if accommodation terms and conditions are not clear before their checking in. So, Here I would like to suggest some questions students should ask to house owners, so that they can make the best decision about their lodging in Florence.

• First question: Are charges included in the rent?
Charges for electricity, water, gas and so on are quite expensive in Italy and therefore they may be subject to strong variations, so the best solution is if the answer is “yes”, if the answer is “no”, try to ask for an approximate cost of charges. Also, do not forget that gas and electricity expenses will vary considerably according to their employ and consume.

• Second question: May I take friends in my room?
Most of the owners are quite flexible about that during the day, but sleepover guests are normally not allowed for security reasons.

• Third question: What does the rent not include?
Before signing any contract or checking in make sure there are no extra charges, such as final cleaning or condominium expenses. If there are extra charges ask what they are for and how much you have to pay for them.

• Fourth question: Can I have some pictures of the flat (bathroom included)?
This is obviously very important, because it is the only way you can have an idea of the place you are going to live.

• Fifth question: Whom am I going to live with?
You do not need their names of course, but at least on your arrival you will feel more confident and assured in meeting them. Be ready to respect cultural differences and several habits of your flatmates which may sound strange to you.

• Sixth question: How far is the flat from school?
Florence is quite a small city, you can walk through the centre in 20-30 minutes, and even if you live in the immediate suburbs it will only take you 20-30 minutes to get to the Duomo (the cathedral of Florence). So distance is not a real problem in Florence unless you are not used to walking. Consider also the living outside has its advantages: it is generally less expensive, less touristic, and you will meet more real Italian people instead of crowds of tourists eating ice-creams at every corner.

• Seventh question: Do I need to bring sheets, blankets and towels with me?
All the bedding and towels normally will be provided by your landlady/landlord, but it is better to ask, you never know..

Finally, do not forget that:
• In the winter Italian houses are normally colder than, for example, American houses. The average temperature is around 20 centigrades during the day and 16-17 during the night.
• Mosquitoes in Italy are nasty. To keep them away from home you can buy a “VAPE” machine at supermarkets or department stores.
• In the summer the heat in Italian houses is not unbearable provided you do not open the shutters during the day and you open them after dinner. a few houses are equipped with air-condition
• In Italy it is polite to greet next door neighbours when entering or exiting the building.

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