Accommodation in Italy

beautiful houses in Italy
Updated 2020-06-02 13:48

Now that you've made the big decision to move to Italy, you will probably be plagued with the question ‘where to?' Most expats rent accommodation before committing to buy. Expats wishing to buy will need to have a valid residency permit.

Types of accommodation in Italy

There are many different types of accommodation in Italy, but appartamenti (appartments) are the most common. An appartamento might be monolocale (a studio), bilocale (two room apartment) or trilocale (three room appartment). Apartments are usually housed in large buildings or blocks of flats known as palazzo.

Other types of accommodation (less commonly found in urban areas) include a casetta (small house), villa (detached house with garden), villino (detached cottage with garden), bifamilare (semi-detached house), and a viletta a schiera (terraced house).

In rural areas, expats can also stay in Casa Padronale (country house), Podere (house with garden and livestock), a Masseria (estate), a Fattoria (working farm/vineyard) or an Agriturismo (farm offering accommodation).

If money is no issue for you, terratettos are entire buildings owned by one person. You may well also be able to find a castello (castle) listed on the market.

For those who are on a budget, especially students, there are (especially in cities) shared apartments which include a room for rent or a "posto letto", a bed in a shared room.

Finding accommodation in Italy

It is advisable to start your search on the internet, to get an idea of market prices but you can also use the classified in local newspapers, and real estate agencies to widen your search. Real Estate Agencies can be extremely useful, particularly in viewing apartments and casa which have just come on the market, but fees are high, adding as much as 21% VAT on to the price. You should meet the landlord in person before committing to anything, but this can make it difficult for expats who are still overseas. Try and secure accommodation ahead of your move, or find appropriate short-term accommodation in the meantime.

Use resources such as the Yellow Pages, IdealistaBakeca, Kijiji and Subito to find adverts for accommodation.


Ads can be misleading. For example, the m² advertised may include a balcony and common space, rather than an entire flat.

Renting a property in Italy

Most contracts are signed for over a year. If you are planning to rent on a short-term lease, you may wish to look into Sublet or Airbnb for alternatives.

Good to know:

There are many furnished properties for rent in Italy, especially apartments, but you can also find empty ones.

You will need to pay a two/three-month deposit, sign an agreement, and also ensure that you provide copies of your passport, residency permit, and banking details. A common type of agreement is the Contratto di Libero Mercato (free market contract), an agreement between owner and tenant which lasts for four years. For a more flexible contract, you should look into the Contratto di Convenzione, which lasts for three years with a renewable period of two years. If you plan to stay for less time you will need to sign a Contratto transitorio, which is valid for 12 to 18 months, though for this type of contract you must prove you need temporary housing.


Your landlord will usually give you a minimum of six months notice to reclaim the property. Landlords are also only permitted to increase rent by three-quarters of the annual inflation rate.

Buying property in Italy

The Italian property market is complex and can be confusing. However, buying a property may be a preferable option for you if you are selling a property abroad, particularly since house prices in Italy have fallen steadily over the past five years.

Good to know:

Non-residents are free to buy a property in Italy without restrictions. Read our How to buy a property in Italy article for more information.

Useful links:

Tecno Casa
Bingo Casa
Yellow Pages

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.