Your guide to finding student accommodation in Italy
Looking to rent a room while studying in Italy? Read our guide to find out what you need to know.
6 min read
Getting ready for the academic year and need to change cities for your chosen major? Welcome to student life in Italy. The first thing you’ll have to do is find accommodation. Don’t worry—depending on what you’re looking for and where, there are plenty of places available. To help you navigate the world of university accommodation, we’ve prepared a short guide to help you find your home away from home.
Student homes and rooms—ask at your university
Staying in a university residence is definitely the quickest way to become part of university clubs, make friends, and learn more about your new surroundings. In fact, parties and gatherings are often organized in residences, making them ideal if you’re looking to experience a “campus” atmosphere.
If you’re searching for a room in a university residence, you’ll find most of the information you need through the university’s own channels. Every year, the university publishes a specific call for applications listing all available places and how to apply. The rooms (single or double) or shared apartments are made available to non-residents according to income requirements (through the calculation of the ISEE threshold) and merit (usually starting from the second year). The registration process usually lasts until the end of August, so keep that in mind as you apply. We recommend checking your university’s website for the latest information on procedures and deadlines.
According to Miur (the Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research), student accommodations and residences must offer the following:
- Residence services—a bathroom that can be shared by up to 3 people, as well as a kitchen, canteen services, or other place to prepare meals.
- Cultural/educational services—study rooms, meeting rooms, libraries
- Recreational facilities—video, music and internet rooms, gyms, game rooms
- Support services—laundry, bike storage, cloakroom, storage room, cafeteria, minimarket, etc.
There are also university colleges of merit, which assign places to candidates with excellent high school grades and who have passed an exam, and private colleges. To find out about the residential solutions in your university city, contact your university.
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Use a website dedicated to student rentals
Would you rather live in an apartment with other people? Some students choose this option because they weren’t able to obtain a place in a student residence, or because they preferred to live with roommates. You’ll find inexpensive apartments and rooms for rent depending on your chosen university city. Here are some resources you can use:
- University bulletin boards and social media. Check your university’s website and bulletin board or subscribe to student groups on social media. Apartment and room ads are shared regularly in these groups.
- Real estate websites and student websites. Visit real estate websites such as casa.it or immobiliare.it or visit student-specific websites such as Uniplaces, Bakeka, Uniaffitti and Affitti-Studenti. You can either search for a room or create your shared apartment from scratch, renting an apartment yourself and then searching for roommates. Remember—if you’re looking for a room in a large university city such as Bologna, Turin, Naples, Rome, or Milan, you should already have an idea of what the city is like and which areas are closest to your university. Otherwise, you’ll risk wasting time visiting apartments that are too far from your campus.
- Word of mouth. Spread the word that you’re looking for a room among your friends and acquaintances. You’re very likely to find someone who can help you, even only initially (regardless of the city), or who can provide you with the contact of someone else who can.
What do you need to know when looking for accommodation?
Once you’ve been accepted to your course of study, going to live in a residence or university college is relatively simple. In fact, the cost of rent is already indicated in the call for applications according to the ISEE brackets, as well as what services are included. Things are a bit different in the case of an apartment rented by private individuals. Before signing the agreement, we recommend paying close attention to the following points:
- Get to know the city. Spend some time researching the city and, if possible, stay for a few days. Exploring and scouting the areas will help you discover which ones offer the best standard of living—and which ones perhaps aren’t as favorable. Plus, familiarize yourself with the public transport and biking infrastructure so you can plan your commute. Even arriving a day early will help you get an idea of the city and know which areas cost more and which are more or less convenient in terms of travelling to your campus.
- The best time to visit student accommodation is between July and August. In fact, July is when the summer exams finish and it’s the period in which most of the apartments and rooms are vacated and re-rented. If you’re looking for student houses to rent in large cities such as Turin, Milan, Rome, Bologna, or Naples, start contacting owners at the beginning of July to arrange viewings. Remember, competition is fierce, so if the room or apartment is available, reserve it there and then!
- Think about the number of roommates. The right number of roommates depends on each individual case but, in general, it’s best not to go for too many or too few. A house full of people becomes distracting, and if you only have one roommate, you run the risk of having an unpleasant experience if you don’t get along. A total of 3 or 4 roommates is usually the best choice.
- Review the lease agreement. When you visit the apartments, check the price indicated on the ad carefully and make sure you’re clear on all the services and household items the rent includes. For example, is there a boiler or water heater? If so, are they electric or gas? The cost of bills can vary significantly. Speaking of bills, are any included in the rent? If you talk to future roommates, ask them to show you their rental agreement to avoid the risk of paying more than others. Don’t forget to ask how much of a deposit is required to sign the agreement. Finally, make a note of all the details and make sure, during the signing phase, that the price and rental conditions have remained the same.
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