Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finding your apartment in Bologna

Salvatore's keyboard
SAIS Bologna students have started to arrive. It's nice to see them meet and socialize in the hallways, at Giulio's Caffè and at the most prominent gathering point of the moment: Salvatore's office on the second floor.

Every morning and afternoon, groups of students mingle there before venturing out to search for a new home in Bologna.

I decided to follow one of the first groups of students on their tour and captured some of it on video. It was fun and reminded me of how easy the search can be.

SAIS Bologna students live in apartments, and Salvatore has been helping them find flats for more than three decades. He even found my colleague Nelson Graves's apartment in 1981!

Before embarking on the afternoon excursion, Salvatore asked students for their housing preferences. He then started picking keys from the crowded board in the picture.

On the tour we saw some two dozen apartments, about one third of the flats that Salvatore administers. All of them were within 5-to-20 minutes on foot from SAIS Bologna on via Belmeloro. 

We walked to a few apartments on Via Belmeloro before hopping into Salvatore's mini-bus. It was hot, and walking up and down stairs was a challenge. Salvatore got water and ice cream for everyone. He may keep a poker face, but he sure knows how to put a smile on people's faces.

Below is a video that captures moments of the tour. Last year we did the same in this video. You'd be excused if, after watching one or the other, you agreed that finding housing is not something to worry too much about.

If you're reading this via email, you can see this year's video here.

Amina Abdiuahab

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