During my month away from Florence, I tried not to think about all the apartment hunting I'd have to do when I got back. It wouldn't be that stressful if I had more time, but Simone wants to move back into his place within the next month or so. I tried to search for an apartment before we left, but either agencies wouldn't show me anything or the few apartments I did see weren't right for us.
Everyone tells me how difficult it is to find a "good" place to live in Florence. I've heard about dark and dingy apartments with old furniture from the 70's that are as ugly as they are uncomfortable. I had done some searching when we first arrived two years ago, but was only mildly disappointment and didn't see anything that horrific.
The agente (agent) who showed me the apartments before we left for the States emailed me last week to tell me she lined up a few apartments to show me. This morning when she called, she said that she wanted to show them to me tonight.
Another agente that I called yesterday called me back the second I hung up the phone and told me to come by to look at an apartment right away. She told me that it was just on the other side of the Santa Croce church and that I should just come by now, if I was available.
I dashed over to her office and together we walked over to the apartment that was right down the street from her office. She immediately escorted me to the soggiorno (living room) and opened the windows so I could have a look. It was a spectacular view of the Arno river and the Piazzale Michelangelo, but being on the first floor (not the ground floor, but one up), it was rather noisy. I know that buses, cars, taxis, and motorini pass by at all hours, so what I was hearing wasn't as bad as it could be during a more peak time.
The apartment was decorated with beautiful antique furniture and had frescoed ceilings, but it didn't feel like home for me. I felt bad about it since the agente (agent) was so excited to show it to me and told me how wonderful it was. But, she reassured me that now that we have met and know each other, she might be able to find me something else. She asked me if I was interested in looking at a place in Borgo San Jacopo on the Oltrarno side, but I wasn't that interested. I need to be close to my mercato (market) and Coop supermercato (supermarket) because shopping for food is one of my great pleasures in life.
Later in the evening I headed out to meet the first woman who emailed me about an apartment that was on the same street as ours, but down a few blocks. I tried to be upbeat since this agente has only shown me very classy apartments.
The proprietario (landlord) had completely redone the apartment and filled it with modern furniture, fixtures, and new appliances. Dave would have especially loved the lavastoviglie (dishwasher). It was really spectacular and before I could say that I wanted to see if Dave could come by, the woman told us that it might already be spoken for.
My agente later told me that she didn't know why the woman wanted me to see it if she already had someone lined up for it.
She then drove me to another apartment on a quiet street on the other side of my apartment and told me that this one would be even better. I was quite excited because this first one was truly amazing. There were no views, but it was very airy, spacious, bright, and clean.
We were met by another agente at the door of the apartment building. They showed me the large garden and the parking space before they took me upstairs to the apartment. I walked in and was immediately disappointed. I had heard such great things about the apartment and I stood there staring at the beat-up sleepers in the soggiorno and the shifted my eyes to the laminated kitchen cabinets lit up by a florescent light in the shape of a huge halo.
I was polite and followed the agente around the apartment that she said was rented out to a giocatore (soccer player). The more I saw, the more I didn't like the place. My agente asked me what I thought and told me how perfect it'd be for me. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I had to tell her that it's not exactly what I wanted.
My agente didn't skip a beat and the second we walked outside of the apartment, she told me that she has a few more apartments near Ponte Vecchio on Borgo San Jacopo that sounded wonderful. I wasn't interested in that area at first, but she made them sound amazing with spectacular views of the Ponte Vecchio that I couldn't resist a peek. She also said that she might be able to negotiate the price for me since the rent is much higher than I was willing to spend.
I told her how much I loved the first apartment and she said she'd try to talk to the proprietario to see if the new tenant is really set in stone or not. She wanted to offer more money, but I don't want to play that game: I could end up paying an extremely high rent.
Tomorrow, I have a few more apartments to see and I'm still searching on the Internet as well although many agenzie (agencies) don't have pictures. My fingers are crossed that I'll walk in to an apartment and just be blown away by it and want to take the place immediately. I thought it would be difficult to find an apartment as nice as the one we have right now, but so far I've seen three great apartments and two not-good-for-us apartments.
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