Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Starbucks in Milan: The First Starbucks in Italy

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Thursday morning the happy people of Milan woke up to the smell of Starbucks Roastery brew, and this doesn’t mean that they had to leave their love for coffee at the door. Starbucks Roastery, is the largest Starbucks in Europe, 2,400 m2, in Milan’s Piazza Cordusio, you really can’t miss it if you’re on your way to the Duomo.

starbucks in Milan

Here you’ll get the chance to taste a variety of 115 coffee blends, because Starbucks in Milan knows very well that Italians are quite stingy about the way they get their coffee, and because of that it doesn’t offer any Frappuccinos (even though I’m betting they will as soon as they open the next branch in Corso Garibaldi or Malpensa). Also, you won’t get a chance to bring home one of their iconic green and white mugs, cause it’s not fancy enough for Milan.

We heard that the prices at Starbucks Italy will be a bit higher than the norm for Italian coffee standards, and it won’t be for nothing, you’ll get a chance to taste some of the rarest blends in, what I would call, an amazing atmosphere. The location in itself is beautiful, adorned with statues made by Tuscan artists Giovanni Balderi and Giancarlo Buratti, active in the Versilia area (where you probably went to the beach this summer). We’re talking about €1,80 espressos and €4,50-5,50 cappuccinos, but you’ll also get a chance to try some of Starbucks’ famous cold brews, a process in which coffee is made to rest for twenty hours at low temperatures, and later used for a variety of drinks (something I regret not trying when I had the chance).

But no worries if you’re hungry, cause you can get a fair amount of classic Italian treats, like some pizzas and focacce, prepared by Milan’s famous Princi. A historical panificio (bakery), that is a household name in all of Milan.

Another very interesting thing we found is that with the opening of the Starbucks Roastery, the company offers a coffee tasting, prepared with the Clover method, for those who (like myself) have no idea what that means, well it’s a brewing technique that uses a very tight metal mesh to filter the coffee. I have no idea what that does, but no doubt it’ll make you feel fancy enough to enjoy it.

So let’s say you need your fix of American brew, NO NON PUOI, (no you can’t) cause you’ll find yourself engulfed in a mist of aromas that will enhance everything inch of love you had for coffee, and maybe you’ll find yourself drinking espressos like the rest of those converted to the Italian lifestyle.

Starbucks Milan Italy Location

Oltrarno Florence: a handy guide for an Oltrarno walk

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After our last article on the various monuments in Italy that you must see, we’re going to give you a rundown of various “Quartieri” (neighborhoods), so this way you’ll get a better understanding of what the various cities have to offer and where you can find an apartment to rent in Italy. We’ll start in our beloved Florence, cause we can’t get enough of it and we know you can’t either.

Oltrarno Florence

The area we’ll be taking into consideration today is the magnificent Florence Oltrarno. Once the outskirts of Florence, the area was occupied by various merchants that would use Florence as a stopping point on their way to Rome. A pilgrimage that you can also go on today following the Via Francigena (we’ll talk about it more in depth another time).

Historically the area remained a rest point until the Pitti family, in the ‘400, began their construction of the now famous Palazzo Pitti, and once the area began to receive the attention of the various noble houses of Florence, it saw the arrival of the Medici’s in 1550. The Medici, being the reigning family, involuntarily made all the upper classes move to this area, so to be close to the center of power.

Even though the majority of power moved to the area, this didn’t bring about chaos to the area, and this can still be seen to this day, when going on an Oltrarno walk around some of the isolated streets of Oltrarno Florence, you can still breathe an authentic Florentine lifestyle.

Oltrarno walk: 5 areas

Now lets divide the area in 5 macro areas: Palazzo Pitti, Santo Spirito, San Frediano, Porta Romana, and Piazzale Michelangelo.


Palazzo Pitti

 

Once the residential palace of the Medici family, Palazzo Pitti, is today probably best renowned for its wide front space where you can relax with friends after a long day while having a panino, and also known for it being the entrance to the Boboli Gardens. Florence’s historical and majestic garden, I mean it’s just amazing how when you’re in there you get a glimpse of what life most of been as a Renascence gardener (I mean no way I was a noble back in the day). I mean it’s just a unique experience. The area apartment-wise is usually quite pricey, but hey you might find a steal deal.

 


Santo Spirito

 

Once past Palazzo Pitti, you’ll find yourself at a fork in the road. One street brings you to Porta Romana, that we’ll take into account in a couple of paragraphs, and the other towards Santo Spirito. This area is a great location for that hipster vibe, it’s a bit of the Greenwich village of Florence, lot’s of nice cafè in the Piazza, a great selection of vintage wear, and a second-hand market during the weekends. Also, it’s pretty good to just chill there at night cause there’s always a good amount of people that hang about on the stairs of the church, playing guitar and singing along.

 


San Frediano

 

Looking at the church of Santo Spirito, if you pass by its right-hand side you’ll find a road going left if you take that one and turn left again you’re on the way towards San Frediano. Here is where most of the nightlife moved in the center of Florence with a great selection of Oltrarno Florence restaurants, plus it’s considered one of the coolest areas in the world by TripAdvisor. So go on and flag that in front of our friends when you tell them where you found your apartment in Florence Italy.

 


Porta Romana

 

Let’s go back a couple paragraphs to the fork in the road after Palazzo Pitti, going down via Romana (called this way cause the road use to show the direction to Rome), you’ll find yourself in Porta Romana. This area is pretty much the end of the center on the Oltrarno side. If you look at the door though, you’ll also get a glimpse of some of the last standing walls in Florence, here you’ll get a chance to see where the city would end. Now look back at the square, there is a hectic roundabout, on the left you see a road guarded by two stone lions, this is the long, but fancy, way to Piazzale Michelangelo.

 


Piazzale Michelangelo

 

One of Florence’s most renowned view-point, literally every postcard you’ve seen of the Duomo is taken from here. Every picture you’ve seen of Florence, guess what? taken here. but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience the view for yourself. SO, get your walking shoes on and go up the endless roads that bring you to the top, or hop on a bus, they cost €1,50. Behind Piazzale Michelangelo if you want to move away from the maddening crowds, you should go see San Miniato, it’s one of the pearls up there that not many get a chance to see, mostly cause they finish all of their energy prior.


Map of Oltrarno Florence

So we’re gonna leave a quick embed of the Florence neighborhoods map, I mean it’s always handy to have one.

 

Italian Buildings and Monuments

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Duomo Florence

It’s been a while that we’ve only been talking about food and I mean that’s really a good topic and all, but I’m on a diet at the moment so I can’t be doing that to myself anymore, it’s just really frustrating so I’m gonna change topic and make life easier for myself.

Italian building and monuments: the list

Anyway, to get my mind off of food a good thing to talk about is culture, cause really that’s another big one for Italy you know. Plus you’ll really need an Italian monument list in Italy to go through if you perchance forget what you’re looking for when scurrying around some of the culture capitals of the world. We’re going to talk about the most famous landmarks in Italy, so keep that in mind when you’re also looking for your apartments for rent in Italy. We’ll be taking into consideration four major cities: Florence, Rome, and Milan.

So, here it is a good old list of famous monuments in Italy.


Famous monuments in Italy

Florence

Italian Buildings and Monuments

Duomo di Firenze e Campanile di Giotto

The Florentine Duomo is renowned all around the world and is one of the most important Florence monuments of the Renascence, other than being called Duomo (that is more of a title than a name) it is known as Santa Maria del Fiore. The building was started in 1296 following the Gothic style, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, and was then completed in 1436 with the cupola designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. To keep in mind that the Cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore was the first self-supporting dome to ever be completed. On the left of the entrance to the Cathedral, you’ll find the Campanile di Giotto, that was idealized after the death of Arnolfo di Cambio by his successor Giotto di Bondone, the famous painter, that decided to concentrate his expertise on the bell tower of the Cathedral. With a total of 414 steps, you’ll be able to see one of the best views of Florence. So if you find apartments for rent in Florence Italy, make sure you have an elevator.

santa croce Firenze

Santa Croce

The Basilica di Santa Croce is considered to be Florence’s second Duomo, because of it’s grandeur and historical importance. Founded by the Franciscan friars in 1294 in an area that before the expansion of the city, was marshland. Santa Croce is one of the most famous historical monuments in Italy, not only for its religious importance but also for its role in housing the tombs of some of the most important thinkers in Italian History, such as Michelangelo and Galileo. Don’t be fooled by Dante’s tomb he isn’t actually there. Another thing to keep in mind is that when Florence was to become Capital of Italy, the Cathedral went under renovation, changing its facade in what it is today. If you look at the front of the Church you’ll see a David’s Star, this was implements by the architect in charge of the facades renovation, Niccolo Matas, that wished to buried within, but because of his faith he couldn’t be buried within the Cathedral, so he was buried right in front of the main door to Santa Croce.

piazza della signoria

Piazza della Signoria and Loggia dei Lanzi

Piazza Signoria is the Piazza where you can say that the Renascence came about, it is in here that the Medici, Florence’s ruling family, worked and governed. In the streets, in the Palazzo, and in the Uffizi (meaning uffici in Italian and offices in English), the Medici would take in some of the most important artists to bring about a new cultural revolution that would change the city and the world forever. Some of the most important historical monuments in Italy can be found in the adjacent Loggia dei Lanzi.


Rome

colosseo

Colosseo

Built under the Emperor Vespasian and finished under his successor Titus, the Colosseum is no doubt one of the most widely recognised Italian buildings and monuments. Called in antiquity Amphitheatrum Flavium, meaning Flavian Amphitheatre, because of the distant of the Emperors that began and finished the construction, it would hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people with some records stating that it held 65,000 spectators for certain events. Used for gladiator events, battle re-enactments, and mock sea battles, it was the centre of Imperial entertainment. No doubt you have to go on a stroll in one of the most important of Rome monuments, when in the Eternal City.

San Pietro Saint Peter Rome Winter

Basilica di San Pietro

Technically not in Rome, but no worries you don’t need another Visa to get in, The Basilica di San Pietro is the centre of Catholic Power. The House of the Pope, and all of the Roman Catholic Church, it’s status is seen by the grandeur of this Huge Basilica and the space it occupies. Once also the Capital building of the Papal States, it is where some of the most important figures of the Renascence and on, had laid their feet who for political discourse, others for artistic patronage. The Cupola itself was designed by Michelangelo, that coming from Florence, had the chance to study the work of Brunelleschi. This gave him the chance to create one of the best of Italian monuments in Italy.

foro romano

Foro Romano

The Foro Romano is on the lit of oldest building in Italy, maybe more of a complex of buildings, but nonetheless the oldest. Built in origin during the Roman Kingdom (753 BC–509 BC), it was what today we could call the city centre. In the Foro you would find marketplaces, squares and streets all used to celebrate the importance of the City. Here is where after Military expeditions the troops would walk through for a Triumph (a celebratory march), where trials would be set, where people would get a chance to buy and sell goods in a commercial enviroment. Rome’s first city centre, today unfortunately you can’t see the hustle and bustle of the Roman period, but no doubt you can feel the presence of what Rome was like. Plus, keep in mind that The Foro Romano is right next to the Colosseum, so if you’re looking for apartments for rent in Rome Italy, you’ll catch two birds with one stone.


Milan

duomo di milano

Duomo di Milano

The biggest Cathedral of Italy (after Saint Peters, but technically not in Italy, but in the Vatican State), the Duomo di Milano is also the Cathedral that took the most to make, we’re talking 1386 to 1965 (and yeah that’s not a typo). Worked on by various generations it is the most important Gothic structure in Italy and if you get a chance to see it you’ll understand why it is so important, and why it took so long to make. The detail of the statues that surround the whole building and the fact that none of them are the same, are in my humble opinion, why it took them so long. Anyway jokes aside this is the must see of Milan monuments, plus it’s really close to the fashion district.

castello sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco Parco Sempione

Built by the Sforza family, one the most important reigning families of Milan, the Castello Sforzesco was the northern entrance to Milan and its strongest fortress. Its military use was that of defence but this didn’t mean that it didn’t have any space for artistic expression, with one of the main artists that worked on the realisation was Leonardo da Vinci, that designed many of the rooms in the Castle. Behind the Castle, you can find Milan’s best park, the Parco Sempione that is adorned in the end by a Triumph Arch that can be seen from the gate of the Castello Sforzesco. This is one of the most beautiful areas to find apartments for rent in Milan Italy. Not only because of its vicinity to two famous Italian buildings and monuments, but also because of the very close Cadorna Station.

pinacoteca di brera

Pinacoteca di Brera

In the heart of the Design District, the Pinacoteca di Brera is an example of Austrian rule over the city of Milan. Firstly a Jesuit enclave, its later became a cultural centre under Austrian rule. Here some of the most fascinating pieces of art can be found, and it’s also the place of Milan’s Academia delle Belle Arti, so if you’re an art student this is the place for you, I mean you’ll probably just have to visit for study purposes. If you’re in Milan you have to go visit, cause really there is nothing better than a stroll in the courtyard of one of the best kept famous landmarks in Italy.

Spring Summer Milan Fashion Week 2018

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Fashion Week Milano

It’s fancy time in Milan, and we got the Milano Fashion Week Schedule you’ve been looking for. It’s time for all the Milan fashion week shows that’ll show you all the latest trends in the city. So get ready in your new apartment and show the city who’s got the in factor.

MFW SS 2018

From the 18th to the 24th of September are the fashion week Milan dates, and we know very well that one of the main reasons you’re looking for an apartment in Milan is because of the fashion world (don’t lie, you love the glitz and glamour don’t ya?). Maybe you’re in the city to study at Marangoni or at other great names of fashion academia, and you want to know where you can find some of the fashion shows, to look at fancy people and new trends, or to find a way in, cause you never know if you can get some credits sending in an email as a student (A well-informed student for that, at least they know how much you value)

milano fashion week

Not only can you find fashion shows during Milan fashion week, but a good number of free events, and don’t worry we’ll show you where you can find them through the Camera Della Moda website. Keep in mind that for some of them you’ll need to send in an email to RSVP cause they might have a closed number of guests. To know about this don’t worry you’ll find the info you need on their page.

You never know who you’re gonna see in the streets of Milan in these days, and if you’re there to look for celebs don’t worry you’ll see a billion of them on Montenapoleone (Milan’s main fashion boulevard), or outside the fashion shows. Maybe you’re there to show off your fashion sense and get a couple pics taken of you, and who knows maybe they’ll drop you a modeling contract. Keep in mind that if that happens you’ll need a place to stay, and you can’t have a place to stay without an apartment in Milan.

So here you go with a list of some of the most important names in fashion, that you all know about, and some are starting to be some of the new stars in the industry.


Milano Fashion Week Schedule

19 September

Jil Sander

15:00 Via Popoli Uniti, 11/13

Alberta Ferretti

17:00 Piazza Lina Bo Bardi, 1

20 September

Fendi

12:30 Via Solari, 35

Vivetta

16:00 Via Meravigli, 7

Prada

18:00 Via Lorenzini, 14

Moschino

20:00 Via Ventura, 14

Emporio Armani M/W

21:00, NDL


21 September

Etro

14:00  Via Piranesi, 14

MSGM

15:00 Via Mecenate, 84

Versace

20:00 Piazza VI Febbraio


22 September

Salvatore Ferragamo

9:30 Piazza Affari, 6

Roberto Cavalli

12:30 Via Valtellina, 7

Ermanno Scervino

14:00 Corso Venezia, 16

Agnona

18:00 Viale Alemagna, 6

GCDS M/W

20:00 Piazza Lina Bo Bardi, 1

Missoni

20:45 Viale Eginardo-Gate 2


23 September

Marni

9:30 Viale Umbria, 42

Giorgio Armani M/W

10:30 Via Bergognese, 59

Fila M/W

13:15 Via Savona, 56

So you go be fashionable in the city of glitz and glamour that is Milan, but do that while looking for an apartment in Milan Italy.

My Pisa Tour from Florence, Italy

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There is so much to see in Florence alone that it’s sometimes hard to justify taking a day trip to the many other Tuscan towns that surround Florence. Since this was my second time in Florence, I decided that taking a half-day trip from Florence to Pisa was the perfect option, as I would still have plenty of time to explore Florence in the evening after seeing the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa for myself.

I’m a big fan of traveling with tour companies for a number of reasons, including simplicity and value! I found this Pisa Tour and decided to join. When booking, I noticed the tour was offered twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. In an attempt to beat the heat, I choose the morning departure which left from the Santa Maria Novella train station at 8:30. Boarding the bus, which was nice enough and comfortable, although lacking a bathroom, we meet our tour guide Brando! We headed away from Florence to Pisa as Brando began telling us some unique facts about Florence. Leaving Florence behind, we listened and laughed, as Brando explained the complicated past relationship between Pisa and Florence. I was so impressed by Brando’s knowledge and his ability to make these facts interesting, it was really clear that he loved his job!

pisa tour

 

After about an hour and a half drive, we were in Pisa! As we approached the parking lot, we got a glimpse of the Leaning Tower and the Cathedral from the bus! Before we knew it, we were in the impressive Piazza dei Miracoli (Piazza of Miracles) with the Duomo di Pisa and the very large Baptistery standing before us and the many other tourists here to observe the unique tower! The three main structures of the Piazza dei Miracoli, the Baptistery, the Duomo, and the Leaning Tower, were surrounded by manicured green grass and it was easy to see why this area was called Piazza dei Miracoli. The first visit of the day was to the Duomo di Pisa. Brando had told us that it was not guaranteed that we would be able to go inside, but we were lucky enough to enter. Our tour of the church was with a professional guide, which in my opinion really added to the experience. The church was built in 1092 and the interior was so incredibly ornate with tons of arches and paintings. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t really expected much from the Cathedral because I was so excited about seeing the Leaning Tower, but I was so pleasantly surprised and very happy to have had a guide to explain the history of this stunning white marble cathedral.

 

pisa tour from florence Italy

After our interesting tour of the Cathedral, we either had free time to explore, or for those travelers who had added on the entrance to the Leaning Tower (an additional 26 euro for adults), Brando took them to the Tower to start the climb. When booking the trip, I was a little bit hesitant to add the tower entrance, because of the cost. However, I decided to add on the climb despite its high cost. Before I booked this tour, I didn’t even know that you could climb the tower. I just assumed that a structure leaning that much was not climbable, but to my surprise, when booking the tour, I found out it was. Actually, climbing the tower was not allowed until 2001 when engineers re-stabilized the base. Despite this, I would not recommend climbing if you’re claustrophobic or have vertigo. As we were climbing, you could really tell that the tower was leaning. We continued up the steps and we finally reached the top where the view of the Piazza dei Miracoli was breathtaking!! Standing so high, we could see the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and a panoramic view of Pisa.

Each person is allowed approximately 30 minutes inside the tower, which was plenty of time to enjoy the view and make our way back down to the base. To my surprise, going down the steps proved to be more challenging than climbing up. Once we made it to the bottom, I had an even greater appreciation for the tower’s lean and how it managed to stay up! After attempting to take the classic ‘Leaning Tower’ picture between the hordes of tourists was almost more difficult than climbing the tower. Finally, after finding a sliver of space, I got my picture and it was time to meet back up with Brando and the group to head back to the bus. We started our journey back to Florence and arrived at the train station around 1:45! We were just in time to grab lunch and explore the beautiful city of Florence

Pisa tour from Florence Italy: tickets

All in all, this tour was a great half-day trip from Florence. It was informative, hassle-free, and most importantly affordable, the whole trip only cost 75 euro (49 euros for the trip, plus 26 for climbing the tower). Although the price to climb the tour seemed a little bit high, it was worth it to me. I would definitely recommend this tour to other travelers who only have a few days in Tuscany, but want to explore Pisa as well.

Apartments in Florence

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Arno River

We’ve been all about showing you around town and suggesting some of the best locations to eat, hang out, or just chill out, but really what we do here at StudentsVille is help you find the right accommodation for your time while studying.

Today we’ll be talking about our base of operations.

Because StudentsVille is the place to be when looking for the right apartments in Florence that can cater to your needs. You’ll be able to find great deals for rental apartments Florence where you need to be. Maybe you’re not here for a long period of time and need to find some Florence short term rentals, guess what? StudentsVille is your place. So don’t forget that to rent Florence you need to look no further than here on StudentsVille.

apartments in FlorenceFinding Apartments in Florence

 

Finding apartments in Florence, or anywhere really, can be a hassle that is gonna stress out, so we at StudentsVille want to make Florence Short term rentals easier to find so at least you can just stress about exams and tests (you can’t say we’re not looking out for you). Now rent in Florence can be pricey at times, but you’ll maybe share the cost with other students, I mean it’s part of the experience to live together under the same roof as people that have the same interest or haven’t seen the city like yourself (that is if you haven’t been here obviously).

View of FLorence

Looking for apartments in Florence

 

So if you’re looking for rental apartments in Florence you’re no doubt in the best place. Cause StudentsVille is the place for you. It’s our main thing and we can’t stress it enough that you’ll find the best apartment for your stay.

 

Maybe you’re here to find some fancy spot like some sweet apartments in Florence with terrace, or apartments in Florence with pool, and if you look enough you’ll no doubt find one of them here on our site.

Duomo Florence

Now, let’s keep in mind that not everyone who’s coming to Florence is here to study, maybe you just want to come here and enjoy the city and culture for more than a week, oh baby you don’t even know where I’m going with this, we’ve got you covered for those needs as well. Finding apartments in Florence for short stay, apartments in Florence Italy for monthly rent, or just generically apartments in Florence for rent we’ll make sure you find everything you need and put a roof over your head. Thinking about it maybe you’re coming for a long haul and are looking for apartments in Florence Italy for rent long term, guess what? we’ve got you.

THe other side of the Arno

How much are apartments in Florence Italy?

 

After spending all this time reminding you how great StudentsVille is when it comes to lending a helping hand while looking for apartments, you might be wondering how much it costs to find apartments in Florence. So we obviously offer a range of prices, but to give you a good understanding of how much it’s gonna weigh on your wallet we found a good estimate of prices based on location and size.

 

So

 

  • Monthly rent for a furnished 85m2 apartment in a fancy area comes at €1,100
  • Monthly rent for a furnished 85m2 apartment in a standard area comes at €850
  • Monthly rent for a furnished 45m2 studio apartment in a fancy area comes at €760
  • Monthly rent for a furnished 45m2 studio apartment in a standard area comes at €650

 

Keep in mind that is without utilities, unless stated in the contract, but you can expect to spend something around €120 per month.

 

So one last time we’re going to remind you that if you’re looking for Florence short term rentals, or you want to rent a flat in Florence for long term, StudentsVille is the place for you.

Good search!

Cost of Living in Rome

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cost of living in Rome

So Summer vacation is over and it’s time to get back to the grind, some of you are already in Italy with your apartments all set, and are getting a gist of how much it can cost to live in some Italian cities, but for those of you that didn’t get here yet and are still undecided on where to go, we’re starting a collection of articles based on living costs in Italian cities.


We’re starting our little series on the cost of living in Rome, the capital of Italy, and probably where most of you are going to go – if not to study just to visit – and it’s good to know what your wallet will have to expect, cause in the end student budgets are always pretty tight.

living in rome

Living in Rome

 

Well, let’s take into account the fact that you’re not there just to visit, but you’re there for a semester and need to know how much you’re gonna spend on a daily basis. I mean that’s the whole gist of the article, so I’m gonna repeat it a couple of times. So how much is the cost of living in Rome for students ?

 

So whats it like to live in Rome? Lucky for you Rome is one of the cheapest capitals of Europe, and we’re not just talking food, but also transport and entertainment. It’s already more economical than other cities, but being a student you’ll have the chance to enjoy a whole lot of student discounts around the city, just remember student ID. And this way you’ll have a fair amount of extra cash to spend on food and maybe a night out or two, cause I mean you can’t be in Italy and not indulge on food.

Another crucial topic we have to take into account is where to live in Rome Italy?

I mean you might want to pick a place near your university, or maybe you’ll want to live the Italian commuters life (not advisable), and go back home and tell tales of the things you’ve seen. We’ve got a fair selection of apartments you can pick from on our website.

Moving to Rome apartments

Nowhere better than to scroll through locations once you know where you have to be, I mean maybe you can’t find anything near your uni, but at least you can check the bus routes and that way you’ll save a couple dollars on rent on Rome apartments prices. Anyway, as you might know that’s also our main thing, finding student rooms Rome.

Is Rome expensive to eat out?

Rome isn’t that pricey when it comes to food. So how much is a pizza in Rome? What are the restaurant prices in Rome? WHAT is the cost of eating out in Rome? all very important questions if you’re on a tight student budget. A pizza in Rome and drink while sitting down will cost you around 12€, but you can also find other stand up joints, like forni, that’ll be a lot less. I found a really helpful website that can help you compare cost of living with wherever you are.

Generically non-students spend up to 700€ a month on living costs, but this isn’t counting discounts and it’s also keeping in mind family expenses. So don’t freak.

 

Rome weather

Just so you know when you get there, we wrote an article on the weather in rome during the year, obvs it isn’t super accurate, but at least you can get a gist on what to pack when you’re getting your suitcase ready.

The Florence VIP Duomo

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Just a few days ago, I participated a Florence VIP Duomo Tour. This tour was probably one of my favorite things I did while in Florence! The world famous Duomo di Firenze, which I learned is technically called the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower), was so much grander than I had imagined. I knew from looking at pictures that the church was large, but up close, the size was incomprehensible. We started our tour  by visiting a showroom connected to the ticket office, where we saw replicas of the tools that were used to build the famous Dome! Even today, the technicalities behind the construction of the Dome are a mystery, making the beautiful church that much more interesting. After a visit to the showroom, we walked across the Piazza del Duomo, dodging the tourists posing for photos, and into the church, passing by the lines of people waiting.

duomo florence

Duomo Florence: the tour

Our professional guide, who is employed by the Opera del Duomo, was informative about the Duomo! It was clear to see, even from the start, why this tour was called ‘VIP Duomo.’ Once inside the church, we entered into the long nave with its impressive vaulted ceilings, into a section of the church that was blocked off from regular visitors. With our guide, we admired the remarkable frescoes by Vasari and Zuccari while we learned about the complicated construction of the church. We walked closer to the altar and once again, got to go in a section blocked off to other visitors. Standing at the front of the church and looking back, the true size of the church was monumental. Our guide revealed unique stories and facts about who had been to the church, what had happened there, and how the influential Medici family of Florence contributed to it all. After we had explored the interior of the church, it was time to begin climbing to the top of the Dome, the part of the tour I was most excited for, but also dreading the most!

The tour description advertised that we would get to visit a VIP terrace approximately ? of the way up the dome. I had expected it to be cool, but when we arrived, after climbing some 153 steps, I was both exhausted and blown away. When we reached the landing, it seemed just like a resting point for people embarking on the 400+ stair climb, but with our guide we exited to the right behind a gate. We were standing in a small room surrounded by high stucco statues. We left the room via a small door and we were on the terraces, right up next to the dome. As you can see from the pictures, we were quite literally walking around the Duomo on this terrace. Looking up and back we could see just how large the dome really was. As we walked around the terrace, stopping for pictures and marveling at the exquisite detail of the exterior, our guide explained to us that it took 16 years to finish the dome itself! The views from the terrace were unparalleled and from where we were standing it was possible to see all of Florence!! We exited the terrace and it was here that the tour ended and our wonderful guide left us. From here you could either continue the climb to the top of the dome or go down the steps the same way we had come up. Being already 153 steps up, it seemed like a no-brainer to continue up to the top, despite what my legs were telling me. When I reached the top, the views were breathtaking, it was like you could see forever!

Once outside the church, after we had descended the 463 steps, I looked up to the top of the dome and could see the people standing at the very top. From the ground, they seemed like the size of ants, and again the immense size of the church was put into perspective!

With my entry ticket fromthe tour, I was able to access the rest of the buildings that make up the Duomo Complex, the Baptistery, the Bell tower, the Crypt, and the museum within the next 48 hours, meaning there was no need to rush around to see everything! At the end of the day, I was so glad I choose to book this specific tour and had the chance to visit some restricted areas of Florence’s Duomo while learning about the church’s history.

Tasty Pizza in Rome

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You can’t be going to Rome without grabbing a famosu pizza al taglio, so don’t worry we got you covered.

 

Pizzarium

Via della Meloria 43, Rome

A small forno type pizzeria, where you can take out slices of your liking, Pizzarium is one of the most important Rome pizza joints to get a slice. Such a simple form of food, with simple ingredients makes the whole order better.

 

Pizzeria da Remo

Viale dei Monfortani 18, Rome
Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice 44, Rome

Here is where you can get a glimpse of Rome’s food and lifestyle. Da Remo serves classic foot in diameter pizzas with cheese so perfectly molten that you have to order just to see it string. Don’t bother the staff too much cause the place is packed, know what you want or just look at the tables around you and ask them.

 

Panificio Bonci

Via Trionfale 36, Rome

In Panificio Bonci you’ll come across  some of the most Roman situation you’ll have a chance to encounter while in the city. Here though you have to have Rome’s Famous Pizza Bianca, (what you may find as a schiacciata sandwich in Florence or a Focaccia in Milan). They have an amazing Pizza con Porchetta to die for.

 

Sforno

Via Statilio Ottato 110, Rome
Via Francesco Grimaldi 53, Rome

A great place not only for pizza, but its antipasti fritti as well, ranging from a classic supplì to a beautiful fiore di zucca. These Rome pizza as sworn are just like the pictures, and taste excatly as you can imagine.

 

Trapizzino Trastevere

Piazza Trilussa 46, Rome

A new take on the roman pizza bianca (don’t forget it’s more of a sandwich) by pizza maker Stefano Callegari, giving the pizza bianca a nice and easy triangular shape. Today Trapizzino has locations scattered across the country, the US, and Japan.

 

La Gatta Mangiona

Via Federico Ozanam 30-32, Rome

La Gatta Mangiona literally means the Gluttonous Cat, and you’ll see why with all the pictures of fat cats around the walls of the restaurant. Putting aside Roman humour, the pizza here is beautiful and no wonder the cats are so fat, I’d be as well if I could it that pizza every day. One of the best pizza restaurant Rome.

 

Ivo a Trastevere

Via di S. Francesco a Ripa 158, Rome

Ivo a Trastevere, is a classic destination for anyone studying in Rome, taking into account its location (as it’s stated in the name) in Trastevere. Next to most of the foreign universities in the centre it makes it really busy, so the best time to go is after classic dinner hours and grab yourself a crispy thin pizza.

 

Pommidoro

Piazza dei Sanniti 44/46, Rome

Another amazing slice pizza joint in Rome, where you don’t just buy the food to fill yourself on empty carbs, but rather on a fine selection of well thought out ingredients giving its eater all the nourishment he needs.

Pizzerie of Rome on Google Maps

Tasty Pizza in Florence

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pizzeria firenze

You’re in the center of the Renascence, but you’re jonesing for a nice Italian Pie, what are we talking about. There’s a great selection of places to pick from, and here are the best ones!

 

 

il pizzaiuolo

Il Pizzaiuolo

Via dei Macci 113R, Florence

Il Pizzaiuolo in Florence is NO DOUBT, my personal favourite Florence pizza joint (I don’t speak for StudentsVille cause they love all pizza equally). It’s mostly emotional value on my part, but I’m sure the fact that it’s always packed by locals and tourists is a good parameter to understand how good it is. Another thing to keep in mind is the Burrata they serve that is always, and I’m not exaggerating, ALWAYS the right temperature. Cause a cold Burrata has no flavour and a hot one is just not enjoyable. So not only the best pizza in Florence, also the best burrata.

 

 

pizzaman

Pizzaman

Via dell’Agnolo 105/107R, Florence
Via del Sansovino 191, Florence
Via Antonio Pacinotti 40/42R, Florence

Pizzaman is one of the Florence pizza spots that is also a local franchisees in the city, and I mean they have all the right to be one, cause they really know what they are doing. This is another one of those places that doesn’t serve all the pizzas you can imagine, but rather those that respect the tradition the most, while adding some special pizzas depending on the season.

il torcicoda

Il Torcicoda

Via Torta 5R, Florence

The pizzeria of Il Torcicoda has a great selection of pizzas and their doughs are insanely good. When you get there though don’t be afraid cause the setting can look a bit fancy, with the fact that you have a restaurant on one side and a pizzeria on the other. Go in the front door and make sure to ask to eat at the pizzeria if that is what you’re craving for.

 

Santarpia

Largo Pietro Annigoni 9, Florence

santarpia

Opened in 2015, Santarpia has been making itself more and more known around Florence and the world because of its beautiful tasting pizza and it’s amazing dough. Making a selection of classic pizzas, like margherita, and a more spontaneous selection like pizzas topped with pumpkin and lampredotto.

 

da gherardo

Da Gherardo

Borgo S. Frediano 57R, Florence

This is one of Florence’s smallest pizzerias, and as they say in Florence “nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono”. And Gherardo is MOLTO BUONO. Located in the area on Borgo San Frediano, you’ll probably pass by it 2 or 3 times before you actually understand where it is, cause on the strip you’ll find more than one small establishment. Keep in mind it’s the one that looks full, cause another thing to know about this place is that you should never go at classic dinner time hours, rather a bit later, cause it’s always packed.

 

gustapizza

Gusta Pizza

Via Maggio 46R, Florence

If you’ve been to Florence you probably already know about GustaPizza, one of the most important pizza joints in the Santo Spirito area. One of those places you go to grab a pie when you’re a bit in a rush, or just want to keep on hanging out on the stairs of the church. All of that without having to resort to passing on a good pizza, cause you get comfort and flavour at Gusta Pizza.

 

Pizzeria Caffè Italiano

Via Isola delle Stinche 11R-13R, Florence

Caffè Italiano is a restaurant in Florence that could also be on the same level as Enoteca Pinchiorri (the most luxurious restaurant in the city centre), But compared to it’s competition, Caffè Italiano also keeps in mind that not everyone want to have a fancy dinner, so they opened a pizzeria right next door. This place only serves 3 types of Pizza (Margherita, Marinara and Napoli) and you can’t reserve a table in advance, you show up and put your name down and hope for the best.

 

pizzeria caffè italiano

Briscola Pizza Society

Via del Campidoglio 8R, Florence

Briscola Pizza Society can be found near Piazza della Republica, right next to the Hard Rock Cafè. Everyone who’s been was very pleased with their food, and they also loved the fact that you can enjoy a selection of mini pizzas, or pizza sliders (whatever sounds better) when not sure about what toppings you want.

 

Vico del Carmine

Via Pisana 40R, Florence

The last pizzeria on our list, and a really good one for sure, Vico del Carmine has a great selection of pizzas (some also with Neapolitan ricotta stuffed in the crust) that vary from extremely heavy to nice and light. Go there also just to see what a street of old Naples could look like if you’ve never had the chance to see it.

Pizzeria in Firenze on Google Maps