Home Repairs in Italy, Part 1

Once you finally have found your home in Italy, the fun begins. We all know that stuff breaks… Your job is to find a way to get it fixed.

In the United States, my husband and I are home owners. If something breaks, we just have to fix it ourselves or hire someone.  I have always hated to rent, because I had to rely on someone else to “get a roundtuit” and get things done. While I don’t always relish having to call the plumber, making the call does give me some sense of power over the clog or faucet problem.

However, I am a happy renter in Italy.

We had water heater problems from day one in our Italian home. We had to run the water in the sink to get hot water to our shower upstairs. To do the dishes, we ran hot water in the downstairs bathroom sink. Luckily, it was an inconvenience more than a necessity.

We moved in to our house during the middle of Italian vacation time and the plumber was nowhere to be seen. We had almost no Italian language skills and were pretty overwhelmed by the situation. It took about two months to get the water heater working properly.

Typical home repairs take on a life of their own here in Italy. The language barrier causes problems. Using the housing office as a go-between may solve the language issue, but adds another step in the process. Finding a way to make the landlord understand it is an important issue is challenging. Getting the real service provider to show up might be tough, depending on what time of year it is.

Some tips for making sure things get fixed:

  • Rent a home with the landlord nearby. If your landlord is next door, it is easier just to show him what is wrong. If the septic system backs up, he will smell it and hopefully be over in a short while! : )
  • Keep the housing office telephone number and email handy. The local number is 0444-71-7608.
  • The same goes for your landlord’s phone number.
  • Learn the Italian words for household items and repairs.

In Part 2 of this post, I will share some Italian vocabulary which might help out when you need to have something repaired.

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