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Reader question: How common is air conditioning in Rome apartments?

Jessica Lionnel
Jessica Lionnel - [email protected]
Reader question: How common is air conditioning in Rome apartments?
Is air conditioning common in Rome's apartments? Photo by Michu Đăng Quang on Unsplash

With summer at the Eternal City's doors and temperatures on the rise, one reader asks: how easy is it to find an apartment in Rome with air conditioning?

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Question: 'I’m thinking of moving to Rome next year. With the effects of climate change and summers getting hotter, are air conditioners becoming more common in homes? If so, how does that work with the peculiar Italian system of consumption of electricity?"

Last summer was a scorcher in Italy, and Rome last July registered its hottest temperature since records began, at 41.8 degrees Celsius.

Yet despite warnings from Italian health authorities to drink water and stay inside, one object was missing from most homes in the capital: an air-conditioning unit.

READ MORE: Seven tips for surviving (and enjoying) Rome in summer

Air conditioning is far from guaranteed in apartments in Italy in general: partly because of the amount of energy they use, but there's a long-standing fear of cold air (colpo d’aria) and a belief that if you stand near cold currents, you will be ill.

While this may be true for some people, soaring temperatures suggest this fear will increasingly be put to rest - and the most recent data suggests that it somewhat has.

A growing number of homeowners are looking at installing air-conditioning units in Lazio, the region where Rome sits, with a six percent rise in enquiries from 2021 to 2022.

This increase was attributed to the launch of Italy's bonus condizionatori, a state incentive launched in 2022 for the purchase of more efficient AC units, as well as to rising temperatures.

The trend seems to be nationwide, with certain types of air conditioning units seeing a 27.9 percent increase in the first half of last year, according to association Assoclima.

READ ALSO: What are the rules for installing air conditioning in your Italian home?

However, this doesn't mean it's getting much easier to find an apartment with air conditioning: in Rome, their absence is still all too apparent

If you go into most restaurants, particularly outside the city centre, you will not find it. If you are going on holiday, a lot of places advertise having AC when perhaps it should be a given.

And if you’re renting or buying a property, chances are you’ll be advised to buy a fan and close the shutters on the windows during midday.

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Finding an apartment with air conditioning in Rome is possible, but still a rarity. Real-estate search portal Idealista recently surveyed the percentage of properties up for rent or sale in each city which had air-conditioning. Rome did not even make the top 20.

What’s more, it’s hard to know what will happen when air conditioning becomes more common in Rome. There were blackouts last summer in the Rome quarters of Torpignattara, Alessandrino, and Marconi after people turned up their air conditioners in an attempt to keep cool.

Rome isn't the only part of Italy where this happens: widespread blackouts in Milan in 2022 were blamed on soaring air conditioner use amid extreme heat.

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There's also the fact that standard household power capacity in Italy is set at 3.3 KW (3,300 Watts), which many find is too low to run more than one power-hungry appliance at a time. This limit can be increased by your electricity provider, for a fee, but the expense is often prohibitive.

For all these reasons, air conditioning is still not common in Rome, but it is on the rise. If it's a must-have for you it's always necessary to double-check before leasing anywhere.

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