My New Home Away from Home: Apartment in Florence

In Florence, I live in an apartment with two other girls from my school, Jordan and Dominique. I knew Jordan before coming, and met Dominique when I moved in. So far, we have enjoyed some cozy movie nights and cracking up at Dominique’s hilarious sense of humor.

Our apartment is at the top floor of our building, which is in a great location between the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. It is considered the fourth floor, but the bottom is considered the zero floor, and with two flights of stairs per floor, we walk up about 100 stairs to get to our apartment!

The apartment is small, old, and quaint. I share a room with Jordan, and the three of us share our bathroom. Our shared bedroom is somehow able to fit two small beds, two armoires and a desk. Our shower in the bathroom folds away and we unfold the doors when we need to use it. Our living room/dining room/kitchen is all one room, with a small mattress for a couch, a small table and chairs and a washing machine squeezed into the kitchen. And as weird as it might seem, I love it. We don’t need more. Even though we are used to so much more space at home and even in our shared spaces at school, we don’t really need all of that space.

Everything is like that here. Almost everyone in Florence drives tiny Fiats and lives in small apartments. At home we have sporty cars and big lifted trucks, and favor huge homes, but we don’t actually need any of it. It feels refreshing to have everything fit my actual needs.

How we do everything–cook, laundry, dishes–is simple. We turn on the gas and use a lighter to use the stove. We don’t have a dishwasher (which I don’t mind, because even at home I hand-wash my dishes), so we wash them and put them on a rack to dry. Our sink is small so we have to wash them right away or the dishes will take up all of the room in the sink. We have a small washing machine, but no dryer. We have clothes pins to hang them outside of our windows, but it has been so cold and windy some nights that we bought a large drying rack to put in our bedroom next to the heater.

To those reading this in America, this might sound like a terrible living situation. To me, though, it’s perfect and I absolutely love it. It feels like it fits because it’s exactly what I need.

The biggest challenge about my living situation so far has been actually trying to use the kitchen as much as possible to save money. It is the most difficult thing to do because I have never gotten along well with cooking or kitchens in general, and it is almost never tempting to try when there is the best pasta in the world lining all of the streets outside.

The best part about it, or at least my favorite part, is the view from our bedroom window. It is what I pictured Italian window views to look like, and makes it all feel real. I look down and realize that I am actually here.

Submitted by Michelle, Abroad101 Global Ambassador in Florence, Italy