Italian Apartments 101
Italian apartment life was probably one of the biggest culture shocks I had while living in Italy! There are somethings that took a while to get used to, and somethings I’m glad can stay back in Italy! If you’re going to Italy and plan to stay in an apartment, whether it’s an Airbnb, because you’re studying abroad, or just moving, there are some important things to be aware of before going!
*Please note this is based off my living experience, and does not apply to all apartments in Italy.
One of the first thing’s your landlord will talked to you about is the recycling system. Italy is very eco-conscious and almost everything you come into contact with is based around the environment. Trash is separated into 4 bins: Organic, Paper, Plastic and “Rifuti”. It’s pretty self-explanatory, paper=paper, plastic=plastics and aluminum, organic=all foods and organic products, and rifuiti is anything that is contaminated or can’t be recycled. Each trash has a different day to be taken out, with organic having two days a week for pick up. If you fail to separate trash properly you get a nice fine from the town. Oh and for glass? Grab a bag because you need to walk those down into town to the communal recycling bin for glass products.
Don’t expect to have multiple appliances running at once while here! In my apartment if we ran the oven and washing machine at the same time, the power went out. Fortunately, we always remembered this, but learned the hard way that this also applied to not running the oven and toaster at the same time. I blew the fuse on more than one occasion… oops! Some of my peers also had the problem of their power going out in the middle of the night! Poor electricity also means no AC and poor heating. The winter was terrible because everything is stone so it feels 10x colder! This helps in the summer though because the same stone keeps the apartment cool!
Don’t expect a dryer, because they aren’t a thing here! Going back to the poor electricity, they pull too much power and can cause your whole street to lose power! When it’s time to dry your clothes, you hang them on either and indoor clothes rack or a line outside. In the winter, it may take up to 3 days for your clothes to fully dry since the air is so cold! The warmer weather can dry your clothes in a day though! Oh! And always check the weather, because I had the misfortune of it raining while my clothes were out to dry…. This goes for morning dew as well! They are not friends to laundry.
This is probably the most annoying thing we dealt with in our apartment. Our apartment specifically had major issues with flushing the toilet, aka it would only flush once and hour! It was the most annoying thing! Also, water is connected to electricity, so when we shorted the power, we had no water as well… so much fun. (sarcasm at its finest). Showers were also different. We actually had a “shower stall”, which was just a drain at the end in a area that dipped maybe 2 inches below the floor, but this served no purpose. The shower head sprayed everywhere and the bathroom would flood after every shower. Some of the student’s didn’t even have a designated shower in their bathrooms though! They had a drain in the middle of the floor with a shower head, aka the whole bathroom was the shower. I greatly appreciate my shower in the states now.
Most windows open in in a shutter like style. You’ll also have external shutters. On windy days you’ll want to close the shutters or they’ll bang around! Unless you have the luxury of being able to hook the shutters to the wall! LOL! In the winter you need to open the windows at least once a day or mold will grow in the apartments. This was the worst because sometimes it was so cold we didn’t want to let the cold air in for 15 minutes! This isn’t really an issue in the summer months since you want the windows open to bring in a breeze!