If you’ve decided to move to Florence, congratulations! You’ll be living in one of Europe’s greatest cities, a bustling modern centre that’s filled with fascinating relics of the past. In between visiting galleries and stopping for gelato, though, you may find Italian city life something of a culture shock. To make things easier for you, we’ve put together an E&V guide listing the essential things to keep in mind as you settle into your new life as a Florentine.
Firstly, when looking for an apartment, keep a careful eye on whether or not the water in the building you’re looking at is heated via a boiler or gas tank – both of these are unreliable or expensive to maintain. Instead, look for an apartment that has a termosingolo unit for heating water, and an electric timer for the heating. Make sure the termosingolo is near to the bathroom, as it may otherwise be ineffective during the winter months.
In contrast to what one might expect from a modern European city, Florence is misura d’uomo: in other words, easy to navigate on foot. There are also plenty of bike racks placed throughout the city, making cycling a popular way to get around. Not only does this make it easy to get some exercise, but also provides an ideal way to simply wander and appreciate the architecture. A slightly confusing one-way system, narrow streets and a historical centre requiring a permit for entry mean you won’t often want to use your car, but taxis are easily available should you tire of walking.
The warm weather in the city during the summer certainly makes walking or cycling around Florence even more enjoyable, but can prove problematic back at the apartment. Air conditioners are not a common feature in Florentine accommodation, and mosquito netting can be somewhat difficult to track down. The benefit of all this is that hanging clothes outside to dry is less a charming and quaint tradition and more simply just what everyone does, but you’ll need plenty of bed linens and towels to ensure you always have at least one clean and dry set.
In terms of getting along with the locals, a little Italian goes a long way. You don’t need to be fluent to get along, but it’s important to make the effort. With patience and willingness to co-operate you’ll soon establish connections, and there’s also an extensive network of fellow expatriates to help make the transition process easier.
Of course, many of the common complaints from foreigners in Florence can be easily avoided if you’re careful from the beginning and employ the services of an expert estate agency like Engel & Völkers. With years of experience behind us, we can help ensure that your charmingly rustic city apartment is still fitted out with all the modern conveniences you need. Once you’re set up in a beautiful and practical apartment, you’ll be free to explore Florence’s many cultural and historical treasures, dine in the gourmet restaurants, and return each evening to a home that’s as comfortable and accommodating as it is atmospheric. Visit us online now to start searching for your new Italian home.