Joined: 14 Dec 2005
|Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:32 pm Post subject: Offering Information to CZ'ers on Italy (especially Firenze)
Since I have spent the last few months just reading the information from these forums, I thought it was time I returned some favors. My job places me in Florence Italy for 6 months at a stretch (it's hard work but someone has to do it ), and over the last ten years I've gotten to know the country/city quite well. I'll gladly offer any information I may have on Italy if you are in need of a few tips.
I'll start by passing on the following tip.
Lodging- I have found that you can save substantially if you lease an apartment instead of staying in a hotel. This of course only works if you can stay in one location for a minimum of say 7 days. An example- a couple of years ago my mother came to visit me in Florence and brought along 6 friends. Since my apartment would only allow 3 extra people, I contacted the broker that had found my place and he arranged for the extra 4 people to stay in a nicely furnished apartment that was 10 minutes walking distance to the center of town.
Here were some of the advantages and disadvantages.
A few advantages first:
1) The total apartment cost for a week was $1,000 plus about $200 to the broker. This was a savings of about $900 since a hotel would have cost them about $2,100.
2) The apartment came with a washer (dryers are rare in Italy.)
3) There was a kitchen and thus they saved on having to eat out at restaurants for every meal.
1) Obviously it takes a bit more planning then just booking a hotel.
2) It's hard to find an apartment that has an elevator. This apartment was a 4.5 story walkup.
3) This was in a working class neighborhood and bikes and scooters were parked at the foot of the stairs. One of my mothers friends found this a bit hard to traverse at times.
Things to know:
Ask for a contract, and if you don't see something on it ask to have it included. I.E.- What about utilities? Do I have to put down a deposit? Is the deposit included as part of the cost or is it returned?
Do research on the neighbor. Typically you can find out a lot about a neighbor or region just by doing a search online.
As for photos, and if possible, a plan of the apartment.
Ask if there is anything you should know, like, "I have a car, where can I park it?" (Most historic towns will let you drive up to the entrance to drop off baggage, but you'll have to park outside the city limits in visitor parking and walk back.)
If anyone finds this info helpful I'll get a name of a broker.
I hope this will help a few of you.
Charles (or Carlino--I'm a Jr.)