Things to know about Florence before moving (2022-2023)

Florence: A Comprehensive Guide to Moving and Living in the Capital of Tuscany


Florence, the capital city of Tuscany, is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. With a population of almost 400,000, it offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. However, before making the move to this beautiful city, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some essential information. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various aspects of living in Florence, including what to expect, finding accommodation, exploring neighborhoods, the cost of living, the job market, and higher education options.

What to Expect from Living in Florence

Florence is often described as a living museum, thanks to its extensive history dating back to the 1st century BCE. The city’s old infrastructure has limited the expansion of the tram network, but this has been compensated by a well-developed bus network that connects the entire city. While public transport is optional due to the city’s small size, most amenities, attractions, and landmarks are within walking distance.

The city boasts a predominantly mild climate, making it enjoyable to explore the numerous gardens and parks scattered throughout. Locals can often be found relaxing outdoors, savoring the city’s lively atmosphere. Additionally, Florence offers a plethora of dining options, ranging from traditional Italian cuisine to international dishes, ensuring that food enthusiasts will find something to suit their tastes.

Is Florence Suitable for Internationals?

Florence is a cosmopolitan city, attracting around 100,000 expats at any given time. This international presence contributes to a diverse and multicultural environment, making it an ideal place for those seeking an international lifestyle. The city’s rich cultural heritage and abundance of activities provide ample opportunities for expats to immerse themselves in the local culture and history. Moreover, Florence offers an excellent environment for learning Italian, as there are numerous language schools and resources available.

Is Florence Safe?

Florence is generally a safe city, with no specific areas to avoid. However, as with any urban area, it is advisable to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketing can be a concern in crowded tourist areas, so it’s essential to keep an eye on your belongings and take necessary precautions.

The Cost of Living in Florence

When it comes to basic expenses, the cost of living in Florence is relatively moderate compared to other major European cities. Groceries, transportation, and restaurant prices are generally affordable. However, leisure activities, such as attending concerts or visiting museums regularly, can be quite expensive.

The cost of renting an apartment in Florence varies depending on the neighborhood. For example, in the San Nicolo neighborhood, you can find apartments for as low as €900, while in Duomo, the price can go up to €1,200. On average, excluding rent expenses, you should budget around €900 per month for living expenses in Florence.

Where to Shop to Save Money

To save money on grocery shopping, supermarkets like COOP (at Piazza Tasso) and SISA (inside Mercato Centrale) offer reasonably priced food products, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and other necessities. Additionally, farmers’ markets provide excellent opportunities to find the best deals. For bulk purchases and affordable prices, Eurospin (at Piazza Tasso) is a viable alternative to larger supermarkets like COOP and Conad.

How to Find Accommodation in Florence

Finding accommodation in Florence can be a challenging task, particularly if you desire to live in the city center. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment ranges from €900 to €1,000, and deposits are typically two times the rent amount. To ensure a satisfactory rental experience, it is crucial to follow a few tips:

  • Inspect the property before renting and request the landlord to address any issues that do not meet your standards.
  • Consider the proximity of the apartment to amenities such as grocery stores, public transportation, and nightlife.
  • Set aside a monthly budget of €50-€100 for utilities, as you will likely be responsible for paying them separately.
  • If you are not fluent in Italian, ensure that the rental contract is written in English or a language you understand.

The Best Neighborhoods for Expats in Florence

Florence offers a range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and advantages. Here are some of the best neighborhoods for expats:


Located on the south side of the Arno River, Oltrarno is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Florence. This district is famous for its art galleries, antique shops, and charming restaurants. A must-visit spot is Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can climb the hill to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city.


As one of the oldest and most historical neighborhoods in Florence, Duomo is situated in the heart of the city. It is a thriving area, attracting both tourists and locals. Duomo is home to iconic landmarks such as the Duomo Cathedral and Baptistery.

San Marco

San Marco is a neighborhood that exudes character and charm. It offers convenient access to shopping and dining, with a variety of restaurants and boutiques within walking distance. However, it can be noisy and crowded, especially during the summer months.

San Nicolo

San Nicolo is an ideal neighborhood for those seeking affordable living options in Florence. It provides good connectivity to the city center and offers numerous amenities. However, keep in mind that apartments in San Nicolo tend to be smaller in size.

The Job Market in Florence

Florence’s economy is diverse, with sectors such as manufacturing, publishing, commerce, and tourism playing significant roles. The tourism industry offers numerous English-speaking job opportunities, particularly in roles that involve communication with international visitors. Large international brands with offices in Florence often require English-speaking professionals for roles in public relations, sales, and marketing.

English-speaking jobs can also be found in office administration, customer service, and English teaching positions. Additionally, the banking and fashion industries employ English speakers, although fluency in Italian is often required for these positions. Private English academies throughout the city offer teaching opportunities for those interested in English language instruction.

Higher Education Options in Florence

Florence is a popular destination for students looking to pursue higher education abroad. The city is home to several prestigious institutions, including:

University of Florence

Established in 1321, the University of Florence is one of the oldest and most influential research centers in Italy. It offers a wide range of study programs and ranks among the top 5% of universities worldwide.

European Institute of Design (IED)

The European Institute of Design is a private university specializing in various design disciplines, including fashion design, interior design, industrial design, and product design. It provides students with practical training and industry-relevant skills.

Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali Pareggiato

For those interested in pursuing a musical education, the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali Pareggiato offers opportunities to develop skills and knowledge in the field of music.


With its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, Florence presents an enticing destination for those considering a move to Italy. This comprehensive guide has provided detailed insights into various aspects of living in Florence, including what to expect, finding accommodation, exploring neighborhoods, the cost of living, the job market, and higher education options. Armed with this information, you can confidently embark on your journey to Florence and embrace the unique experiences this magnificent city has to offer.