top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

Our Italian Adventure: Questions about renting in Puglia

Our Italian Adventure: Questions about renting in Puglia

PART 67: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.

We live in Puglia in the summer and then back again in the winter.

Step 1: I am getting questions about how we made living in Italy a reality; I will respond to some of these questions here. We will focus on how we found our lodging.

Step 2: How did you find your apartment in Puglia? Through friends, online, or through an agent?

It was a process for us to find our apartment in Puglia. First, we had to decide whether we wanted to rent or buy. Through research, soul searching, and discussion, we decided to take our Italian sojourn step by step and find a place to rent.

We visited our area of Puglia several times (near Lecce) to spend time with our local friends, become familiar with the area, and get an idea of housing.

Once we returned to California, we researched rental housing, finding several useful sites run by local real estate agents.

We discovered two things through our research:

  1. Rental prices advertised on realtor websites seem higher than those quoted in person.

  2. Much is accomplished here in Puglia through word of mouth.

We were due to start living in Italy in July, but it was December, and we still needed to figure out where we could live. So we planned a trip in January to spend a week in Puglia.

A local friend had just finished renovating an apartment he had bought as an investment and invited us to stay at his place for that week. When we walked in, my partner and I looked at each other and said, "This is the place." After we had done tons of research, that is how we found our housing. We spoke to our friend about renting his place long-term and starting making arrangements to return in the summer.

Step 3: Did you sign a long-term lease or just for the months you spend in Puglia?

Everybody's situation is different, but in our case, this is how it unfolded:

  1. We rented for three months during the summer to see how it would go.

  2. We discussed it with our friend at the end of the three months and are now leasing for 12 months, even though we are there for part of the year.

  3. The monthly rent tends to be less, sometimes substantially less, when one rents for an entire year. Even though we are only living here three months at a time, the yearly cost for leasing for 12 rather than for two 3-month blocks is about the same.

  4. Since we are leasing from a friend, we don't have a formal signed lease; if we need one in the future, he will supply one.

  5. We record all payments and monies owed on a shared spreadsheet. Friends or not, it is better to keep all monies recorded and keep business as business.

Step 4: With the 90 days in/ 90 days out, is your apartment in Italy rented out to other "short-term" tenants, or does it stay vacant while you're in California?

We do not rent out our apartment when we are gone. Renting it to others wouldn't work for us since we want to secure our belongings and want to walk in when we return and start living.

But we told our friend that should a family member or close friend need a place to stay when visiting him while we are in California, that is fine with us. He has a cleaning lady who tidies up afterward.

Step 5: Are electricity and water bills included in the rent, or do those companies charge your account directly?

Since we are following the 90/180 rule (living part in Italy and part in California), we decided, with our friend/landlord, to leave the energy and water bills in his name. He calculates usage costs, provides us with the bills, and we reimburse him for those expenses. That is the easiest way for all of us at this point.

Step 6: Are there any extra costs/expenditures (apartment or living expenses) you were unaware of when you first decided to spend part of the year in Italy?

Day-to-day expenses here in Puglia are less than in California. However, my credit card bill shot up during our first year living in two places. Why was it so high during those first months?

The expenses weren't unforeseen, but setting up a second household necessitates extra expenses the first year.

We needed to buy different clothes here for cold weather and supplies for the house, whether for the kitchen or bathroom.

Step 7: Do you know your neighbors yet (if you have neighbors in the building or nearby)?

We live in a 3-unit building, but the other two units are empty. But we are getting to know neighbors through the local businesses. We always exchange "good mornings" with the couple who sell us produce around the corner, our butcher, who dreams of traveling to California, and our local grocery store clerk, who keeps asking us, "Why are you here?" LOL.

Everyone who works in businesses near us is a person, not just a worker, and as we show interest in them, they do the same. We are getting to know our neighbors in this way. Sometimes, we laugh when we tell them we are from California, and they swoon. It's like the land of dreams for them.

Insights: Those who live in Italy full-time or part-time will have different paths and make decisions that fit their situation best. By sharing some of our lodging choices, others may see that this is entirely doable, that life is short, and that Italy awaits those who will take the step.

More next time.

My book is "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." Amazon US:

And also, on Amazon Italy:

98 views0 comments
bottom of page