If you’re thinking of renting in Italy for a year or two, you’re probably better off looking for a furnished property. Unfurnished really does mean bare bones: Italians will take the curtain rails, the light bulbs, and the toilet seat when they move home.

Unless you’re quick off the mark and have a good command of Italian, scouring local newspapers for accommodation can be frustrating. Although it will almost certainly cost the equivalent of at least a month’s rent, the hassle-free way of finding homes is through agencies or realtors that specifically deal in rentals.

Immobiliari and rental agencies demand the first months rent up-front, and you may have to provide the equivalent of another one to three months rent as a security deposit. Providing the property is in the same condition as when you moved in, this deposit is returned at the end of the lease period.

To terminate long-term leases, you must send a written non-renewal notice (disdetta) to the owner long before the termination of the rental contract. Without this notice, the contract is automatically renewed. The notice should be sent by registered mail with return receipt (raccomandata con ricevuta di ritorno) to avoid any possible argument that you’ve given insufficient notice.

The agency’s finder’s fee is paid by the tenant and generally amounts to around 10% to 15% of the first year’s rent.

Additional costs depend on where you choose to live and your lifestyle. Most urban folk live in apartment buildings, and some of these edifices look as if they were built at around the same time Rome was founded. This is fine if you like the distressed look, but unmodernized buildings often don’t have elevators or central heating.

As far as rental prices are concerned, there is a huge difference between cities and small towns. Take Rome, where a small furnished apartment of some 375 square feet in the trendy Trastevere area may cost you €1,200 ($1,362) per month. But for the same amount of money, you can get a two-story country villa built in the 1400s in the northern Tuscan province of Lucca.

Average monthly rental prices around Italy

Here is some more information to help you calculate your rental costs in your chosen city or region in Italy, if you are renting rather than purchasing property.

LocationU.S. $
Milan$1,994
Como$1,106
Verona$1,109
Viterbo$635
Imperia (Liguria)$710
Parma$933
Modena$1,101
Arezzo$730
Florence$1,703
Ravenna$926