Rome is possibly one of the most exciting places to live in Europe. Yes, Paris is fabulous, London is lively and Barcelona is a Mecca for the young and the beautiful, but living in Rome offers an inimitable blend of history, art, culture, life and opportunity. As a result, it’s a fantastic place to start living in Italy.
Indeed, many people begin life as an expat in Italy by living in Rome, but after they have explored the delights of the city and learned the Italian ways, they spread their wings and go on to make a more permanent home for themselves elsewhere in Italy, where the pace of life is perhaps even more laid back.
No matter whether you’re young or retired, single or a family person, if you want to spread your wings abroad and find exciting opportunities, Rome is an exceptionally good place to start.
Whilst the city boasts thousands of ancient relics and monuments, it has a young heart – and whilst the attitude to life in Rome is very laid back, the pace of your social life at least may feel quite frenetic.
Why live in Rome?
If you’re a newbie expat looking for ‘life’ abroad – you could do far worse than consider Rome. You cannot find a city that feels more foreign, more European, more Italian! Therefore you will know that you’re abroad from the moment you step foot outside the airport building.
You will immediately be immersed in the beautiful and lyrical Italian language, surrounded by exceptionally chic and beautiful people, blown away by the landscape so rich in architectural history, and excited by the pace of the traffic, the opportunities for entertainment and the sheer vibrancy of life in Rome.
A number of international companies have offices in Rome, there are language schools, tourism attractions requiring international staff, and even fast-food restaurants where you can get by with basic Italian – in other words, there are job opportunities available for expats prepared to perhaps begin at the bottom and not worry about the wages.
You can meet people from many different nations – who are all in Rome to live and experience the Italian way of life.
What can you expect living in Rome as an expat
Life in Rome seems to be dominated by the quality of life – it’s the quality that counts, not the number of hours you work, the salary you earn or the house you live in.
This is why many young expats find that they can fit in very well – they don’t have to climb the career ladder or commute for hours to push paper. As long as they can earn enough to get by, they can have a brilliant life in Rome.
You can enjoy café culture which was surely invented in a city like Rome, which has a café on every single street corner inhabited by people just watching the world go by. You can eat as late as you like and share your meal with newfound friends or friendly strangers.
You can make a home for yourself in Rome from the moment you find the perfect flat or house.
You will be able to explore the city through the eyes and experiences of those who have been on the ground just a little bit longer than you and slowly but very surely you will come to love this city with its ancient, stylish, vibrant, chic, young, lively and passionate heart.
How to find somewhere to live in Rome
Prices for accommodation are extremely steep in Rome unless you head away from the action and live out in the sticks!
If you are young and single, you will find a perfect houseshare after you’ve been in the city a while and made some good friends to share with – but to begin with, you can start by looking on the likes of Easy Stanza which lists flatshares currently available.
Renting a 2 bedroom flat can cost you between €850 and €2500 depending on the location.
Finding work in Rome
Depending on the nation you herald from, your rights to live and work in Rome will differ.
Non-European citizens including Americans and Brits, for example, will need permits and permissions. You must check before you go, and the best place to check is at the Italian embassy in your nation. There’s also detailed information in our Living In Italy guide.
In terms of sourcing work, it’s always easier to find a job when you’re on the ground – and you have a network of friends who can tell you about any openings they’re aware of wherever they work for example. But, the likes of Monster and StepStone are good recruitment websites to browse in advance of your move to Rome.
Even if you don’t secure employment, you will get an idea of what’s available, the qualifications you need, the level of Italian you will need to speak and what salary you can expect.
The pros and cons of living in Rome
In the time we’ve been running this site and helping expats from around the world find their new homes, we’ve covered some incredible parts of the world. We are, however, yet to find somewhere that is without its faults – even if they are only minor.
Rome is no exception. It is an amazing city, with so much to offer expats but here are the pros and cons you should consider when deciding to move.
The pros of living in Rome
Rome has a wide variety of healthcare options available to expats.
The public system offers all the services you may need, however it can take some time due to bureaucracy and paperwork.
This is more than made up for with the private system – which is affordable and very efficient. Many locals, and expats, take advantage of a mix of the two systems.
2. Public transport
Rome is very well connected when it comes to public transport. There are buses, trams, and a metro system for you to choose from. The service is reliable and very affordable.
Rome does have an issue with traffic so buses can sometimes be affected by this.
Rome is the capital of Italy, the home of Italian food. Need we say more?
There is a rich selection of bars, restaurants, cafes and street food on offer for you to choose from! There is also Gelato everywhere. Enjoy!
4. Culture and lifestyle
By moving to Rome, you’re essentially moving to an art and culture museum. The number of galleries, statues, and cultural sites on offer is enough to keep you occupied for years to come!
Life is very laid back here and the locals are friendly and welcoming!
The cons of living in Rome
1. Traffic jams
The ancient founders of Rome built the city without cars in mind, as a result, the city is heavily affected by traffic. This impacts the buses as well.
Italy, in general, is renowned for its issues with red tape and Rome suffers from this issue too. Tyring to get anything done through official channels is often time-consuming and complicated – even for the locals.
Rome although beautiful, has a bit of waste management issue. The city is not as well kept as other major cities around the world.
Rome is a hotspot for tourists – as is understandably so. What this means is you can expect a massive influx of tourists during the high season which has a big impact on life in the city.
5. Job market
The job market in Rome is limited, making it incredibly competitive by default. Trying to find work can be tricky, so those looking to advance their career here may encounter some hurdles.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Rome
When compared to other major European cities, Rome is quite an affordable city to live in! Like anywhere in the world, your cost of living will depend on where you choose to live and the lifestyle you choose to lead.
That being said, to live in Rome comfortably you need to earn roughly between €1800 – €2500 per month.
The best areas to live in Rome
Rome has a wide range of areas that are ideal for all types of expats. Here are some of our favourites:
Trastevere is as trendy as it is beautiful. It is a maze of cobbled streets, cafes, restaurants, unique bars and boutique shops. It’s very popular with young people and has its own unique vibe.
Monteverde is perfect for families. It’s affordable, located just outside of the city centre, and you won’t lose any of the culture of the city. It’s home to plenty of parks and outdoor spaces, as well as nice restaurants.
Aventino is located in the heart of the historic centre, making it ideal to soak up the culture Rome has to offer.
Areas to avoid
There are many great areas to live in Rome, however, like any major city, there are certain areas to avoid. Certain neighbourhoods like Tor Bella Monaca, San Basilio, and Corviale have higher crime rates than other parts of the city.
A final word about living in Rome
Finally, it should go without saying that if you’re going to be living in Italy, you will need to learn Italian a) to get by well and b) to get the very most out of your move.
However, it truly is easier to learn a language when you’re immersed in it, and because there are so many tourists in Rome and the local people are used to dealing with those who only speak the most basic of Italian, your lack of language skills should not stop you making the move.
You will pick up the street slang at work and when out socialising, you will learn Italian from your new friends and colleagues, you can hear Italian all around you and practice what you perhaps learn at night school when you’re out and about in the daytime.
In other words, go to Rome, learn Italian, enjoy the exceptional quality of life this wonderful city offers you, and use the experience as your stepping stone to a long and fulfilling life as an expatriate – you couldn’t ask for a better place to begin your new life overseas than Rome…Italy’s truly capital city!