Actually, I’ve found a studio apartment with a view from a terrace! After several weeks of viewing rooms and apartments from the options available on Craigslist in Florence, I decided to go with an agency to find the right place. And I’ve found a charming little place to live for three months next fall during my stay in Florence, Italy.
Initially, I’d hoped to find a cozy room, but quickly discovered it might be a challenge to arrange. Many listings did not have photos, and then there was also the question of being scammed in the process of securing a place. I had a friend in Florence look at a few of the rooms that seemed promising, but I didn’t want to burden her with more than that.
Since I will need to work while I’m there, I had some stiff prerequisites that are non-negotiable: I needed a place with a fast internet connection, somewhat quiet, where it would be safe to leave my computer and belongings when I travel to other cities for a few days. I also wanted a private bathroom and windows with some kind of view. I didn’t mind the idea of sharing a kitchen, but with many of the rooms that were available, I’d be sharing with 2-3 other people, who might change on a monthly basis. I also had a certain area of town I wanted to live, near Santa Croce and the Sant’Ambrogio open market.
After my friend looked at several rooms, I was having trouble corresponding with the woman who rented them. I asked many questions, but often did not receive answers. I decided to move on, and look at other options. One was a fully furnished apartment, advertised for the same price as many of the rooms I’d been looking at. It seemed too good to be true. The man advertising it claimed to be a music producer currently living in Nigeria. Right away, the red flags started waving, as many internet scams seems to originate from Nigeria. I wasn’t about to send money to secure an apartment that could not be viewed ahead of time: he said he would send me the key from Nigeria. Once I asked for background information and proof of his ownership of the apartment in Florence, I never heard back from him. I’m guessing it was a scam.
At this point, I came across some listings by an agency for several attractive apartments. They seemed affordable, though quite a bit more than the rooms I’d looked at. From the photos, the rooms looked shabby and claustrophobic in comparison to the photos of the apartments. With the rooms, I would only have the one room to hang out in. But the apartments offered several rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a washing machine and more. Once I came across the studio apartment with the terrace, I had trouble imagining myself anywhere else. When I contacted the agency, I received quick and thorough responses to my questions. I found the cost a bit daunting, as it would include not only a booking fee, but also a security deposit and a hefty monthly rent. If all goes well with my work while I’m there, it should be no problem managing the expense. If not, I can just squeak by with my savings, though I may have to limit other expenditures during my stay. I’m willing to take the risk.
In addition to being near Santa Croce and the open market, the apartment is equidistant from other favorite places: the Duomo, and Piazza D’Azeglio, where there is a large park I love to hang out in. I can easily walk to any of these places within 5 -10 minutes.
In any case, I’ve booked the apartment, and can start to imagine being there: waking up to a view of the city of Florence from my terrace; walking to the open market for fresh produce each day; sharing a glass of wine with friends from the terrace in the evenings. I feel quite certain it will be worth the expense!