by Melinda Gallo

Searching for an apartment to call home

About a year and a half ago, I almost purchased an apartment in Borgo Allegri situated between Piazza Ciompi and Piazza Santa Croce. I thought it was my dream apartment, albeit not that large, because of the fabulous location and the spectacular view of the neighboring rooftops and the Duomo in the distance. As I got closer to the date to sign off on it, I began to feel dread instead of joy. I contemplated what to do even though I knew that I had to back out. I thought it would be the perfect place for me and had even planned out where I was going to put my desk so I could look up at the Duomo.

Living in Florence :: Searching for an apartment to call home

A part of me wanted to buy it because I had searched so much and it was the best one I had seen, but another part of me felt that something was off. Ever since I returned to Florence in 2004, I have wanted to buy an apartment. However, either the circumstances weren’t right or the timing wasn’t right. Almost two years ago, I began my search by looking on-line and contacting agency after agency to see different apartments all around Florence. Initially, I was adamant about staying in my neighborhood, but then opened my horizons to almost anywhere within the city walls.

I saw so many apartments that it physically and mentally wore me out. Not only was it tiring to walk all over town, but to then listen to the agent describing the apartment to me even though he/she hadn’t even seen it before. Initially I was polite, but after awhile I couldn’t take it any more. I got so restless that I told the agent that I preferred to show myself around. The main problem was that usually I knew the second after opening the front door if I was considering the apartment or not. If I couldn’t imagine myself living in it, there was no use in me looking at it any longer.

After my disappointing end to the Borgo Allegri apartment at the end of 2013, I then focused my energy in purchasing a place with my beau in Paris. We had been casually looking, but realized that it’s just not the right time for us both.

When I was in Florence in early March, a man called my cellphone and asked me if I was still looking for an apartment in Florence. I found it odd that I hadn’t contacted anyone in probably two years. The words, “Sì, sto sempre cercando un’appartamento (Yes, I’m still looking for an apartment).” popped out of my mouth. He explained where it was, but I declined a visit. I knew that if I was going to start looking again, I couldn’t just go see a place to see it. If the area didn’t appeal to me or the description didn’t either, it wasn’t worth my time and energy to go.

I visited two places with my beau in March and then saw only one place a few weeks ago. I fell in love with the last place I saw. I went back a second time with a geometra (surveyor) and an architect because the apartment needs some renovations, which I hadn’t planned on.

I plan on visiting it again with a friend of mine who is a muratore (mason) to get a price on some of the basics I need to have done. The geometra gave me a number, which included everything I would eventually love to do, but not in the beginning before I move into it.

I am still keeping my eye on the annunci (ads) to see if anything pops up. The market doesn’t seem to be moving much because some of the places get put on the “new” list just because the agency (or agencies because sometimes there are more than one representing an apartment) relists it. At least, I am very quick when scanning the annunci because I can recognize an apartment by its thumbnail photo now even if each agency seems to pick a different one.

I am looking forward to purchase an apartment in Florence because I feel that it will deepen my relationship with my beloved city. Even though I feel as if my roots are firmly planted in Florence, maybe I can plant them even deeper still. I feel almost like a potted plant that is about to be extracted from the pot and planted directly into the ground. A sense of stability comes over me when I think of living in my own home in Florence. Maybe planting my roots even deeper in Florence will allow me to blossom and flourish even more.

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