Beginner's Guide: Moving to Florence, Italy

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

I came here to Florence unprepared. I did no research before coming here because I wasn't sure if the Italian consulate would approve my visa(it's really hard to obtain a visa in the Philippines). I applied 3 months before the school started, and I got my visa 2 weeks after the school started. So yes, I really thought that they denied my application and I really didn't want to prepare unless it was sure that they approved my visa! I booked my flight the next week since I was already behind in school. Anyway, here are some of the things that you need to know and will surely help you if you are moving to Florence.

My first official apartment here in Florence

Renting an apartment

For visa reasons, I highly recommend booking your apartment at Housing Anywhere because they can provide a contract for long term rentals. Rent contract is usually required(atleast for the Philippines) when applying for a student visa. Sometimes you need to pay an agent's fee which costs around 1 month rental. Sounds a lot right? It's normal here. If it's not required for your country, I try joining Affitto Casa / Stanza a Firenze and Foreigners in Florence group on Facebook. You will have a lot of options there, and cheaper options too! 

One of the people that I met in Foreigner in Florence invited me to trek with his friends

Join Facebook groups

I never thought that there was a group for foreigners here in Florence, such as Foreigners in Florence. I just found out months after living here. Joining the group is really helpful, you can ask anything to the group or find some information there too. You can meet new people here too!

The line at the Questura

Processing your permit to stay is a challenge

You can check the step by step process of  applying your student permit here. The processing of papers is a challenge and sometimes confusing. It's also time consuming, that you need to allot half or one day to do this. When you go to the Questura, I suggest that you bring a little snack, a book, or an extra power bank for your phone so that you will have something to do when you wait for your turn.

I had a large suitcase, a small one, a backpack, and a shoulder bag. XD

Don't over pack

Since I was panic packing(as I didn't expect for my visa to be approved so late), I brought a lot of things that I don't need. I was also thinking that I won't buy any new things/clothes/shoes here because everything is expensive. I was wrong, you can actually find some affordable shops here, there's Amazon(Amazon in the Philippines is not so common), and seasonal sale here is amazing! So I suggest to bring the things that you will really need, or just basic things. 

My classmate in Italian class, Ishuan :)

Learn Italian

Atleast the basics. You can find a lot on Youtube, like Learn Italian in 30 days with Dolce Vita's channel. Knowing how to speak a little Italian can go a long way! I learned Italian later, and how I wished I practiced Italian earlier.

My friend Alessio, behind me & on the left, was my first language exchange friend. He then introduced me to his friends! :)

Make new friends through Language Tandem

This one right here is what I really wished I knew before I arrived here. I could have practiced Italian and made new friends by joining Language Exchange in Florence / Language Tandem on Facebook. It's quite hard to make local Italian friends(I do have now) but joining this group you'll definitely meet people and possibly make new friendship from here! :)

Now the question is, is Florence the right place for you? Check out the Pros and Cons here. Not everyone loves Florence, and not everyone hates Florence too. But for me, I never thought that I will fall in love with Florence. 


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