Rather than house-hunting from afar, it is undoubtedly easier to find a home once you have arrived in town. If, however, you would like to get started before you arrive, you will need to contact a relocation agency or ask a local friend to do the legwork for you.
For temporary housing while you are looking, consider a room in a hotel, residence, such as www.adrianoresidence.it or www.petronioresidence.it, or Airbnb. For hostel accommodation, check: www.italian.hostelworld.com/Ostelli/Bologna.
The approach to looking for a rental in Bologna is not unlike anywhere else: networking and word-of-mouth often end up being the best ways to find a place. Approach your search from several different directions. Try browsing the internet (two most popular websites are www.immobiliare.it and www.idealista.it), or the free magazines on stands around town or even look around for the offresi (offering) or cercasi (looking for) announcements posted all over the university quarter. You might consider placing an ad of your own on our website’s forum www.iwfbologna.com/marketplace). A word to the wise: if you do not feel confident speaking Italian, try to take someone with you who does.
REAL ESTATE AGENCIES
Another method is to visit the agencies in your neighborhood of choice. Once an agency has found you a place, they may also assist you with some of the initial negotiations with your landlord. If you use a real estate agency, you will be expected to pay a finder’s fee, usually equivalent to one month’s rent. Always ask in advance.
FLYERS AND NOTICES
As in other cities, students and young professionals share apartments in Bologna and it is not unusual to move in with people you’ve never met before. If you are not particularly picky about peace and quiet, the student connections can end up being a great way to meet others. If your roommates are from out of town, you may even find yourself alone on the weekends. Most of these arrangements are organized by way of annunci (announcements), which you can find on social media groups or tacked up on walls and bulletin boards all over the university district, especially around Piazza Verdi.
Fortunately, there are several helpful resources for English-speaking foreign students. Your first stop should be the Student Accommodation and Information Service (SAIS) office
SAIS – Student Accommodation and Information Service
Via Zamboni, 62/b
AU PAIR/LIVE-IN ASSISTANCE
Some Bolognese families seek an English-speaking ragazza alla pari (au pair) to help with children, or a badante (caregiver) for the elderly. You can advertise that you are interested in this type of arrangement on our IWF Forum 2.0 pages, or spread the word in person.
DECIPHERING THE ADS
The following list will help you decipher the code used to describe apartments for rent.
Arredato: fully furnished
This could range from an apartment that is truly furnished with everything, including frying pans, crucifixes and pictures painted by the owner. It could also mean that the apartment is equipped with just the bare essentials: kitchen appliances, beds and tables.
Semi arredato: semi furnished
There is no norm as far as a semi furnished apartment is concerned. You could find everything you need and then some. You could find only a toilet and a sink. Call the landlord or agency and ask for specifics before you even bother going to see the place.
Non arredato or vuoto: not furnished or empty
Here again, the meaning can vary. Hopefully, you will find a finished bathroom but there is no guarantee. It is not uncommon for the landlord to tell you that the kitchen is without appliances, either because the previous tenants will be taking the appliances with them, or because the apartment has just been renovated and there is literally nothing in the kitchen.
Posto letto: bed in a shared room
Camera singola/doppia: single/double room
Some flats are same-sex, so check the noun endings carefully
Studente/studentessa: male student/female student
Serio/a: hard-working (as opposed to noisy party animal)
Referenziato/a: with references i.e., reliable