If you’re moving to Italy for a new job, to retire or simply to relocate and live as an Expat then you will need to arrange long term accommodation as shortly after your arrival as possible. Renting a property in Italy can be a bit complex at times because there’s many differences to what you’re probably used to back at home.
One of the most surprising things about renting a property in Italy is that in almost all cases it will be unfurnished! This can be a real headache if you’re moving to the country from abroad because you’ll immediately have to arrange the purchase of furniture, white goods and, sometimes, even new light fittings!
This is one of the more unusual aspects of the Italian property rental markets and often catches out new arrivals to the country. However, you can still rent fully furnished apartments in Italy which will make settling in much easier and far more convenient.
A furnished apartment, or property, in Italy will come with all the necessary furniture, bathroom fittings, tableware, kitchen appliances, a washer and dryer as well as all the light fitting. It’s still worth checking with the rental agency to find out exactly what comes with the property.
Of course, not everyone will want to rent a furnished apartment but you should certainly consider the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
What Is A Furnished Apartment?
There’s no universal definition of exactly what a furnished apartment is but as a general rule it will have all the furniture, kitchenware, white goods and other essentials that you’ll need during your stay.
In some cases, a furnished apartment will include artwork and high end interior décor while at other times the walls will be bare so you can put up your own art and photos during your stay.
However, before you rent a furnished apartment you should make sure that you’ve spoken to the landlord or the property management company to establish exactly what you’ll be getting for your money.
How Do You Find A Furnished Apartment In Italy?
Once you’ve moved to Italy you’ll quickly discover that there are very few major online platforms that advertise furnished apartments to rent. This can make your search for a suitable apartment a little more difficult and you’ll may have to work with smaller local agencies or websites.
The United States has a fantastic infrastructure that is built for business travellers. So even in small towns you will find hotels by major hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and Choice Hotels. All these hotel chains have brands that have kitchens or two bedroom options (such as Staybridge, Holiday Inn Club, Double Tree, Embassy Suites, Courtyard, Fairfield etc.). This is not very common in Italy. Most cities in the US also have local companies that specialize in short term rentals, like AKA Rittenhouse in Philadelphia. This is also not very common in Italy.
In summary, with the exception of AirBnb and VRBO, there are no easy and reliable ways of finding furnished apartments in Italy for short or long term rentals.
For short term rentals of furnished properties throughout Italy, Airbnb is one of your best options (Airbnb is based in San Francisco, California). Airbnb has a wide range of apartments that are available in all the major cities, towns and provinces of the nation. Airbnb is primarily designed to provide short term rentals and so you may have a hard time finding longer term rentals of furnished properties at a reasonable price. NOTE: About 24% of Airbnb rentals last for 28 days or longer. So Airbnb is increasingly becoming an option also for longer term rentals.
Founded in Colorado, VRBO is a great site that mainly advertises holiday homes and apartments in Italy and rest of the world. VRBO stands for Vacation Rental By Owner. You can find some fantastic apartments all over Italy and although prices may be a little on the high side you’re likely to discover some superb properties for your stay.
As Italy’s largest dedicated property website Idealista is a great site to find furnished apartments in all the regions of the country. With more than 50,000 properties available to choose from you’re bound to find something that suits your budget and requirements. The site offers furnished properties for longer term rentals for students and professionals either directly from the landlord or through a local property management agency. NOTE: Idealista also owns another big real estate website known as casa.it.
In the website, there is an option called “Equipment”. In the drop down you have to select “Furnished” and perform the search. Unlike AirBnb or VRBO, there are no reviews and the website does not background check each listing. You have to do your own due diligence before signing the contract.
Immobiliare.it is one of the biggest real estate portals in Italy along with Casa and Idealista. All three websites tend to have a similar look and feel. In the “more filter” section of this website, you can select “furnished” and search for furnished apartments in most cities or towns in Italy. Most of the leads that you will see in your search are listings by real estate companies. So you have to contact them yourself if you are interested in a property. In most cases you can contact the agent using the online form or call the agent directly.
Nestpick is similar to Idealista but with one major exception. When you click on some of the listings, Nestpick will take you to their partner websites. Nestpick advertises long term apartment rentals all over the world, including Italy; with prices that range from just 500 Euros per month to several thousand Euros per month. The site is focused on providing fully furnished apartments and has one of the largest selections of furnished properties in Italy. You can search for apartments by region and since the site is in English you’ll have no problems with language barriers.
Advantages Of Renting A Furnished Apartment In Italy.
The following are some of the key advantages of renting a furnished apartment:
- Convenience: Renting a fully furnished apartment will make your move a lot easier because after you’ve picked up the keys you can start to unpack and settle straight into your new home. This is particularly relevant if you’re not sure about exactly how long you’ll be staying in the country or if you plan to move to another location in the near future. Therefore, renting a furnished apartment will make your transition to the country smooth and hassle free!
- Save On Costs: Another major advantage of renting a furnished apartment is that you’ll save a lot of money that you would otherwise have had to spend on furniture, white goods and kitchen ware. Of course, you need to balance these savings with the fact that a furnished apartment is likely to cost a little more to rent than an unfurnished one although for relatively short stays this will be well worth it for you.
- Reduce Your Shipping Costs: If you’re moving from the United States, or any other country for that matter, then shipping furniture and your other possessions to Italy can end up being fairly expensive. Depending on how long you’re planning to stay in Italy, it can often be cheaper to put your possessions in long term storage than to ship them to Italy and back again.
- Furnished Apartments Are Better For A Short Lease: Most unfurnished apartments in Italy will require you to sign a lease of at least 6 months to a year at a minimum. This is partly a practical consideration because the hassle of buying furniture, replacing light fittings and kitchenware isn’t worth doing for a stay of only 6 months! This means that for foreign students or Expats looking for a short term let then a furnished apartment is going to be the best option for your requirements.
Disadvantages Of Renting A Furnished Apartment In Italy.
The following are some of the key disadvantages of renting a furnished apartment.
- Higher Deposits: When you rent a furnished apartment you should expect to pay a higher deposit before you move in. This is because the deposit will need to cover any potential damage to the furniture or other fittings in the property. The extra deposit is a security for the landlord so they don’t need to worry about their furniture and other household items which you’ll be using during your stay in their property.
- Greater Liabilities: While you’re staying in a furnished apartment you’ll have to be a lot more careful so that you don’t damage the furniture or other items in the house. This extra liability can be stressful, particularly if you have young children who might draw on the walls or damage the furniture while jumping around! If something does go wrong then you’ll have to arrange for it to be fixed or replaced yourself.
- No Choice Of The Décor!: One of the factors that you need to keep in mind is that in a furnished apartment you won’t have much control over the interior design. Of course, you can put up your own photos and pictures to add a personal touch but you won’t be able to change the paintwork or the main décor of the property. In most cases, this will be no problem but it’s always worth checking the furnished apartment before signing the lease to make sure that you can live with the décor!
- Less Choice Of Furnished Apartments: In Italy there are far more unfurnished apartments that are available to rent which means that in some parts of the country it can be difficult to find a suitable one to rent. This is partly an Italian custom but it’s also because landlords often prefer not to invest the time and energy into keeping their property furnished while they are renting it out. You will still be able to find plenty of furnished apartments in the major cities but in rural provinces there’s usually far fewer available to rent.
- No Standardization: There’s no fixed definition of what a furnished apartment will contain so you’ll never quite know what you’ll be getting for your money. You can overcome this by insisting on having a guided tour of the property before you sign a lease but it does mean that you may still have to buy various items of furniture and items for the kitchen although this should be reflected in the price of the apartment.
- Less Storage Space: It’s inevitable that if you choose to rent a furnished apartment then you’ll have much less storage space than an unfurnished alternative. This can be a problem if you’ve got a lot of things but the chances are if you’re looking for a furnished apartment it’s because you’re travelling light and don’t have your furniture with you!
Tips For Renting A Furnished Apartment.
When you’re renting a furnished apartment it’s an extremely good idea to do a complete video or photo inventory of everything that’s in the apartment. For example, you could take photos of the walls, the furniture, the fittings, the kitchenware and anything else that comes with the apartment, paying special attention to things which are already damaged. In Italy, it is common to live in buildings that are hundreds of years old. Such buildings will have frescos, sculptures and other features that might be very valuable. You have to document the state in which all these are in before moving in.
This means that when it comes time for you to move out there won’t be any disputes with the landlord because you can simply show them the photos to prove that an item was already damaged or in a poor condition before you moved in.
Hopefully there won’t be any disputes when you leave the apartment but you can protect yourself by taking detailed notes and photos of the condition of everything on the apartment’s inventory when you first move in.
Renting A Furnished Apartment In Italy.
While you’re staying in Italy it may be more convenient for you to rent a furnished property than an unfurnished one. This will save you from having to buy or ship your furniture to the apartment and make your move more hassle free.
You may have to pay slightly more in rent for a furnished apartment but the advantages tend to outweigh the disadvantages, particularly if you aren’t planning to buy your own property or don’t intend to stay in the country in the long term.