Vocabulary to Rent an Apartment in Italy

Renting an apartment in Italy can be challenging, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as Roma, Palermo, and Firenze, where short-term rentals have become popular. Everything is possible with a little patience and a lot of Italian. 

This post is the result of my own search for a rental in Rome’s crazy real estate market for my boyfriend and me. 

To begin with, how do you find an apartment for a long term in Italy? 

Renting from a private owner in Italy

To avoid paying agency fees, try renting directly from a private owner . This is a viable option for smaller cities or rural areas. I wouldn’t advise a foreigner to use this option in larger cities, where it’s easy to fall into a trap without a local understanding of the real estate market. 

The most well-known portal for finding direct rentals from private landlords is

www.subito.it

www.bakeka.it

Using a real estate agency in Italy

In Italy, real estate brokers charge exorbitant commissions (10-15%), but that’s the way it is. You can either go to a real estate agency in your desired area and talk to an agent in person about your options, or you can use an online aggregator and then call the real estate agency to schedule a viewing. 

The most well-known portals for finding rental properties in Italy are

www.immobiliare.it (most popular one)

www.idealista.it

www.casa.it

I recommend calling the agency when you find a property you like. Emailing is also an option, but in my personal experience, I’ve never gotten a response to my emails, so I’ve stopped using it. I mean it when I say that Italians prefer phone calls to emails. 

Let’s look at some of the terms that are commonly used when presenting a rental property. 

An apartment can be a:

  • monolocale: one room + kitchen
  • bilocale: one room + a living room + kitchen 
  • trilocale: two rooms + living room + kitchen
  • quadrilocale: two 3 rooms + living + kitchen 
  • mansarda: attic 

Other items you can find in an advertisement:

  • L’appartamento è stato recentemente rinnovato – the apartment has been recently renovated
  • L’appartamento è in buone condizioni – the apartment is in good conditions
  • L’appartamento viene locato non arredato – the apartment is rented unfurnished
  • L’appartamento viene locato parzialmente arredato – the apartment is rented partially furnished
  • L’appartamento è stato recentemente rinnovato – he apartment has been recently renovated

Types of rooms 

  • cucina – kitchen
  • cucina abitabile – kitchen with a big table and living area 
  • cucina americana – kitchen + living a room 
  • bagno con vasca – bathroom with a bath tub
  • bagno con doccia – bathroom with a shower 
  • ripostiglio – storage room 
  • camera da letto – bedroom 
  • camera matrimoniale – master bedroom
  • studio – office 
  • soggiorno – living room 

The apartment can be rented :

  • arredato (furnished)
  • non arredato (non furnished) 
  • parzialmente arredato (partially furnished) 

Larger apartments are often rented out non furnished or partially furnished, especially in big cities. 

Other things you should look up:

  • aria condizionata  – air conditioning 
  • riscaldamento – heating 
  • porta blindata  – security door 
  • ascensore –  elevator 
  • classe energetica (this is crucial for calculating your electricity bills) A corresponds to the most advanced level of energy efficiency, implying that you will save money on electricity. G denotes a less efficient and modern level of energy efficiency, implying that the electrical infrastructure is old and thus you will pay more.) 

A normal rent doesn’t include:

  • spese di condominio (the cleaning of stairs and communal areas is included in the condominium expenses, which are shared by all residents of a building.)
  • utenze (bills) 

 The apartment can be situated at:

  • piano terreno (ground floor) 
  • primo/secondo/terzo/etc piano (first, second, third, etc story)

 The apartment can come with:

  • un balcone (balcony)
  • una terrazza (terrace)

Types of Italian rental contracts 

  • contratto transitorio (from 1 to 18 months, this is contract is hard to find, because generally owners are willing to rent for the short term end up using airbnb or other similar portals)
  • contratto 3+2 (this is a 3-year long contract that you can extend for another 2  years.  You can break this contract with 6 month notice) 
  • contratto 4+4 (this is a 4-year long contract that you can extend for another 4  years.  You can break this contract with 6 month notice) 

Vocabulary and sentences to schedule a view over the phone in Italy 

First of all, you should cann the chance if you’re ready to view the apartment within a few days, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. 

  • Buongiorno, chiamo per il trilocale in Viale Francia, è ancora disponibile? – Hello, I’m calling for the three-room apartment in Viale Francia, is it still available?

(then the agent can give you answers and put you through the person who is in charge of the rental?)  

You should clarify the following points before scheduling the viewing:

  • Quando si libera l’appartamento? – When is the apartment vacant?
  • L’appartamento è già libero? – Is the apartment already free?
  • L’appartamento è arredato? – Is the apartment furnished?
  • L’appartamento è climatizzato? – Is the apartment air conditioned?
  • A quanto ammontano le spese di condominio? – How much are the condominium expenses?
  • Qual è la vostra provvigione?  – What is your commission?
  • L’appartamento è adatto per una famiglia con un bambino?  – Is the apartment suitable for a family with a child?
  • L’appartamento è adatto per accogliere un cane/gatto?  – Is the apartment suitable for a dog / cat?

And last,

  • Scusi può parlare lentamente? – Can you speak more slowly, please? 

Importantly, it is customary in Italy to require tenants to show proof of income or a permanent work contract for long-term rentals. They may also request a “garante” in some cases. A garente is someone who will pay your rent if you are unable to do so.

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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