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A statue in The City of Como (Lake Como, Lombardy, Italy)

The Notorious Italian “Furbizia”

Since living in Italy, it’s become abundantly clear that there’s a cultural concept Jason and I are (and have been) entirely unaware of. It’s something Italian’s know well and are always on the lookout for, but we have been blind to.

It’s called: furbizia.

The word furbo often means “clever” — but also “sly”, “sharp”, “crafty”, and so on. It’s more sinister meaning is what typically prevails: clever in the sense of “taking advantage” for one’s own personal gain.

Which is a virtue in this country? I’m not sure.
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Wooden, hand-painted sign of "Rooms For Rent" hanging from a red post
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The 6 Lessons Of Italian Apartment Disasters

No matter whether you’re buying or renting, finding a place to live in a new city or town can be daunting.

You finally find the right place, but it’s out of your price range. You find the right price range, but you’d rather live in a cardboard box than in that neighborhood. Or on that street. Or with those people nearby. You’re always two hours too late to beating the person who “just signed the lease,” or two months too early to the current tenants vacating.

In a foreign country, however, home hunting can be epic. The contractual rules, the currency, even the living standards are different, and then to negotiate all those things through the veil of another language…? Well. You might as well have landed on the moon. (more…)