Off-campus Living & homestays

During the academic year, off-campus housing is an option for NYU Florence upperclass students. There are two off-campus housing options: Off-campus Residences and Homestays. All off-campus properties are rented by NYU Florence for its students and are located in or near the historic center of town. Each situation is very different, even within housing types. Prices vary between housing types but not between properties within each type.

Some of the off-campus living situations are in historic buildings, which means that students may have terracotta floor tiles dating back to the 1300’s, frescoes from the turn of the century, wood beam ceilings, or stone staircases that are 900 years old. Other edifices were built during the construction boom of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and so some students will find large windows, high ceilings, marble floors, wider stairwells, and small elevators. In all cases, our Florentine landlords and hosts are proud of their properties and expect tenants to treat them with the respect they need and deserve.

As you enjoy your living situation, please keep in mind that furnishings, plumbing, and facilities in general may seem more delicate than those to which you are accustomed. There are two reasons for this. First, many of the buildings are ancient by U.S. standards. Second, the rooms were originally designed for family living, not for student use. Few living situations have indestructible, dormitory-style furniture, unlimited hot water, wide drain pipes, or high electrical capacity. Things can and will go awry sometimes. Remember this as you get acquainted with your new surroundings. Living in an Italian home is part of your education here, so keep an open mind, be patient, learn, and enjoy the experience!

Internet Access

Internet access is available in all Off-campus Residences and may be wireless or require an Ethernet cord. Homestays may offer Internet access, but this is at the discretion of the family and not guaranteed. Each living situation has a different Internet system. The items that all students need in order to access internet include:

  1. An adapter (not a converter) that allows the plug for your laptop to fit into an Italian outlet. Check what voltage on the AC adapter your laptop accepts. It should read as follows: “INPUT 110-240”.

  2. A Web browser.

Instructions for how to access Internet will be provided upon arrival in Florence. If you cannot log on, please notify the Facilities Office. Note that the procedures for gaining access on campus are different. Please see the “Guide to On-Campus Housing” for instructions.

Please keep in mind that in Italy access may not be quite as efficient or consistent as Internet service to which students are accustomed. Students should expect that at times, the service may be sporadic. Facilities staff, landlords, and the telephone companies work to reinstate service when it falters, but issues are not always quickly or easily resolved. Students can help with the process by maintaining communication with the Facilities Office. Sometimes repairs require time and therefore patience on the part of the residents affected.

Security of Belongings

For your security, we ask you to follow some basic guidelines. Please do not leave your windows open or the front door to your apartment ajar or unlocked when you are not at home or when you are sleeping. If possible, you should close your shutters/blinds at night and when the living situation is vacant. Do not leave valuables or cash lying around. There is a safe in the Office of Student Life where you may keep small valuables. Students have access to items in the safe during regular office hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM).

Gas Appliance Safety

Many of the off-campus housing facilities have gas stoves and ovens and gas-powered heat. It is very important that students exercise caution when operating these devices. After using the stove or oven and allowing the flame to extinguish, be sure that the dial for the burner or oven is completely off. Then turn the gas lever on the wall next to the cooking unit from the “Aperto” position to the “Chiuso” position. Some gas levers are yellow dials. When the dial is parallel to the pipe, the gas is on, and when the dial is perpendicular to the pipe, the gas is off. If the pilot light for your hot water/heating unit goes out and you have not been instructed as to how to re-light it safely, do not touch the heater. Report the problem to the Facilities Office, and wait for a staff member or your landlord to resolve the problem for you. Please don’t hesitate to ask Facilities or OSL staff if you have questions about how to use your gas appliances properly.

If you suspect that there might be a gas leak somewhere in your living situation, OPEN THE WINDOWS AND FRONT DOOR, grab your keys, and VACATE IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT TOUCH THE LIGHT SWITCHES OR LIGHT AN OPEN FLAME. Call the Office of Student Life (+39-055-5007450) FROM OUTSIDE THE APARTMENT. The Fire Department (tel. 115) and neighbors in your building can be of help in such situations. Please do not hesitate to call upon them in the event of a gas leak.

Trash and Recycling

All students living off campus must manage trash and recycling according to the guidelines posted in their residences. Trash should be taken out daily unless trash pick-up times are less frequent. In the center of Florence, recyclable items must be divided into separate bags for paper/cardboard, for glass, plastic/aluminium, compost and non-recyclable. Please follow the signs in your residence for appropriate recycling. Failure to dispose of trash or recycle properly may lead to fines and disciplinary action.

Cellular Phone

We usually recommend our students to purchase an Italian phone number to utilize for their stay in Italy. If you opt for a prepaid credit system for your personal cellphone line, you add money to the phone’s account and then can make outgoing calls until that money runs out. When that runs out, it is up to you to put more money on your phone. To do so, go to a Tabaccheria or supermarket and ask for a TIM, Vodafone, or Wind ricarica, based on which service provider you have (the provider is indicated on the SIM card inside your phone). The credit will be provided either via an automated system or via a card. Written on each card are straightforward instructions about how to put money on your phone and a secret number, which you reveal by scratching off the appropriate area of the card. Input the number into your phone at the appointed time in the process. Please note that for Vodafone phones, you must have some money on your phone in order to effectuate a ricarica using a card.

Receiving calls on your phone in Italy (but not in other European countries) is always free, as is calling the police, fire department, or ambulance. You can receive calls and dial the aforementioned emergency numbers even when you do not have any money on your phone, so keep your phone charged and on even when the money has run out.

If you have any problems with or questions about your cell phone, please bring the phone into the Facilities Office. This is the only occasion upon which students are authorized to take the phone out of the living space. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better.


All students are welcome to purchase breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Villa Natalia cafeteria on weekdays during regular operating hours (posted in Villa Natalia). For dinner, students living in residences and homestays without meals generally cook for themselves, pay a fee to eat in the Villa Natalia dining hall, or go out to eat. For information on grocery stores and eateries in Florence, please see the ‘Supermarkets & Restaurants’ page of this site.

Students living in homestays with meals are provided an Italian-style breakfast (i.e. simple meal – no eggs, bacon, or pancakes!) and dinner daily at a designated time. If you are going to be absent for a meal, please remember to alert your host family in advance. Students are not reimbursed for missed meals. If you have special dietary needs, please speak with your host family about them. Office of Student Life staff members can help you if you have trouble communicating with the host family.


Off-Campus Residences have laundry machines in the facilities. In some cases, washing machines and drying racks are provided, as is customary in Italy, and in others, industrial coin-operated washing machines and dryers are provided. Residents of Homestays have access to laundry facilities once a week. Host families may teach students how to use the washing machine or wash the students’ laundry for them. Students are responsible for the cost of washing their clothing, including any fees for using the machines and the purchase of detergents.

Wondering how it is to live in a homestay? Check out the Living in a Homestay Video!