Friday, April 4, 2008

Could this be it?

Since I submitted the Marie Curie application yesterday, and my adviser was off to a conference with most of the lab, I stayed at home today, and went searching for an apartment. My parents had talked to various real estate agents yesterday, and had already looked at an apartment in the center for 850 Euros, which had a large living room and bedroom, but a tiny kitchen and a broken beam in the bedroom, which had to be supported. The problem with apartments in Florence is that there's no market. If you have an apartment to rent, you're more likely to rent it to tourists, where you'll get much more money by the week than if you were to rent it by the month. Also, most Italians seem to buy rather than rent (or live at home until they have a high-paying job). So finding an apartment is not the easiest thing to do.
My parents had also gone to an "immigrant services center," where a friendly Indian man told them about some apartments. This morning, we went there together and he took us to another real estate agency, which had two apartments that looked alright. We were only able to visit one this afternoon, though, which was a 1 bedroom apartment with large kitchen, and cost 900 Euros/month, all utilities included. However, it was on a main street and very loud, and the furnishings were somewhat old and used. That's the other thing -- an unfurnished apartment is just that, and has no kitchen or appliances in it (apparently, sometimes not even toilets). So a furnished apartment is the way to go for us.
Afterwards, we headed out towards Novoli/Baracca, where we were supposed to look at another apartment from another agency in the evening, and where there was a real estate agency that had various offers on the web that looked interesting. Even though the woman there was helpful and spoke English, she was only able to tell us about one of the apartments (the others were too small or already rented), and would only be able to show us that next week. Apparently realtors don't work weekends. We walked around a little afterwards and went to Lidl (a German discount grocery chain) to pick up some more things.
The apartment we looked at in the evening was very nice. It's also a one bedroom apartment with kitchen/living room, with a large balcony and new furniture and appliances. I'm thinking this might be it. Of course, it's not as big as what we had in Charlottesville, nor does it have a dryer or a dishwasher, but hey -- you're in Florence (or rather, a 20 minute bus ride from the center). It also had a sofa-bed in the living room, which would be good for the visitors we expect to have.

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