I adore Italy. The food, the fashion, the lifestyle—it’s all incredibly opulent and endlessly inspiring. My name is Gabriella, and as a woman with a taste for the finer things in life, I’ve always dreamed of settling down in a beautiful Italian villa, basking in the Mediterranean sun. However, my recent experiences in the Italian rental market have been far from the dolce vita I envisioned.

Let me set the scene: I’m an Italian speaker, with Italian heritage, and an appearance that screams “la dolce vita.” You’d think finding a rental home in Italy would be a breeze for someone like me. But alas, the reality is quite different. The last three times I’ve tried to secure a long-term rental, I’ve encountered nothing but racial bias and discrimination.

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Wrong Job Wrong Surname

Picture this: I’m in a chic real estate office in Umbria, looking fabulous, of course. The agent asks about my job title. When I mention that I work online, their eyes narrow with suspicion. Italians seem to think that online jobs are either non-existent or dodgy, and it immediately raises alarm bells. My Dutch surname doesn’t help either. It seems to instantly transform me from a glamorous potential tenant to a suspicious foreigner.

Now, let’s talk about my teenage daughters. They’re home-schooled, which, in many parts of the world, is seen as progressive and forward-thinking. But in Italy? It’s almost scandalous. Traditional Italian landlords frown upon home-schooling, viewing it as unconventional and unreliable. Offering six months’ rent in advance? Surely that’s a sign of commitment and stability. But no, in Italy, it’s seen as dodgy, not as a vote of confidence.

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Vetting Process

The vetting process by Italian agents on behalf of landlords reeks of racial discrimination. They grill you with questions that feel more like an interrogation at times. It’s a country facing depopulation, yet they seem determined to drive away those who genuinely want to invest in and contribute to their society.

So, where do I find myself? In substandard Airbnb accommodations, of course. The air is often filled with the stench of mold, the ovens are broken, and the dust is thicker than a Tuscan garden. My so-called “homes” are nothing more than temporary shelters, lacking the warmth and stability I crave.


Hello God

Every night, I find myself praying to the Christian God, asking if Italy is truly where I want to invest my future. Will I end up regretting this?

Despite these challenges, I refuse to give up on my Italian dream. Why? Because Italy, for all its quirks and idiosyncrasies, is a country that captivates my soul. The vibrant markets, the historic architecture, the endless culinary delights—these are the things that keep me going. I’ve learned to navigate the rental market with a sense of humor and a positive attitude.

After all, laughter is the best medicine, and it helps to soften the blows of discrimination.

I’ve started to see these obstacles as part of my Italian adventure. Each failed rental application is a story to tell, a chapter in my ongoing love affair with Italy. I’ve met some incredibly kind and supportive people along the way, who share my passion for this beautiful country. They’ve offered advice, encouragement, and even a glass of Prosecco or two when the going gets tough.

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Stay With It

To all the internationals facing similar struggles, I say this: don’t let the discrimination get you down.

Keep pushing, keep smiling, and keep embracing the chaos that is Italy. It’s a country that will test your patience, but it will also reward you with unforgettable experiences and memories.

Sure, I may not have found my perfect Italian home yet, but I have faith that it’s out there, waiting for me. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the journey, soaking up the culture, indulging in the fashion, and savoring every bite of pasta. Italy is not just a place; it’s a lifestyle, a state of mind. And I, for one, am determined to live it to the fullest.

As I write this, I’m sitting in yet another Airbnb, sipping on a rich espresso, and planning my next move. The view from my window is stunning, with rolling hills and a sky that’s painted in shades of pink and orange. This is what makes it all worthwhile. The beauty, the romance, the promise of a better tomorrow.

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So, to my fellow internationals dreaming of an Italian life, I say this: embrace the journey, relish the challenges, and never lose sight of your dream. Italy may be a tough nut to crack, but once you do, the rewards are immeasurable. Keep your head high, your spirits higher, and your heart open.

After all, Italy is a country that loves with a passion, and it’s that same passion that will see you through the toughest of times.

In the end, it’s not just about finding a place to live; it’s about finding a place to belong. And despite the hurdles, I believe that Italy has a place for all of us who truly appreciate its unique charm and beauty. So here’s to the adventure, the laughter, and the endless pursuit of the Italian dream. Cheers!