The Banca CR Firenze will apparently give an account to a non-resident, though I need to give a copy of my contract to prove I'll be earning income in Italy to qualify. The Banca Toscana on the other hand won't give you an account until you're have "residenza", which involves getting a 1-yr+ contract which is eligible for this. They'll do a savings book, but apparently I can't get my salary paid into that. Both banks won't issue a bank card immediately, in case I take someone's eye out with it. In the mean time, you can get a *prepaid* bank card, which allows you to take out money you have specifically put onto it. Which is kind of cute, though I don't really get what damage you could do with a bancomat card - surely it's a debit card so you'd only be able to take out your own money anyway? Banks here have monthly charges too! (In UK, usually that's only for premium accounts or when you're naughty. Here each account specifies how many monthly transactions you're allowed to make).
(This was a longer story than the above fragment suggests
Now, I just need my permesso di soggiorno and then I can get a bank account! So prepare to queue at the Questura for a couple of mornings till I get the right documentation together...
Went to see some flats. First in Le Cure (NE of city, seems like a nice 'semicentral' area just beyond some grotty railway lines, nice, large, separate study, balcony with view onto river, but not much of a kitchen. Then 2 tiny studio flats in Oltrarno (counted as "2-rooms" because the kitchens could squeeze in a table), then a larger flat near Via Romana with a nice view (as it should, being on 4th floor).
Also, and to my great surprise, I met up with the inestimable larsen , and had a chat and a beer before he headed back to Lake Garda (despite my best efforts to persuade him to crash on the sofabed at temporary flat).
Thus spurned, I headed to an internet cafe' to try to upload photos of flathunting for gf. My "usual" web-cafe' was closed (I thought open till midnight), luckily the phone-home shop across the road has internet and let me plug in laptop. Then their connection broke. But working again now to great happiness on my laptop, which sucks much less than a webcafe PC.