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Living in Rome

There’s more to life in Rome than sipping a cappuccino and window shopping on the Via dei Condotti. Read on for InterNations’ helpful tips for expat life in Rome. From housing and healthcare, to schools and transportation — we’ve got it covered.
The centro storico (municipio I) is one of Rome’s most charming districts.

At a Glance:

  • Since 2013, Rome has been divided into 15 municipi (boroughs), each of which has its individual charm and varying rental costs.
  • The health service in Italy — the SSN — is one of the best in Europe. Simply visit your local ASL to register and receive your health insurance card.
  • As long as your current driving permit license was issued in another EU/EEA member state and is still valid, you will be able to use it until it expires.
  • Rome’s public transportation system includes three metro lines, six tram lines, and various bus routes connecting all parts of the city.


Even expatriates living in Rome cannot enjoy la dolce vita all day long. To start off your life in Rome, you must first take care of administrative matters.

We’ve given you an overview of dealing with bureaucratic issues in our guide on moving to Rome. However, some legal tasks essential for foreign residents — especially getting a residence certificate — require you to already have a permanent address.

Choosing a Place to Live

An important question that all expats planning a life in Rome will face: “Where will I live?” Rome is Italy’s second largest city by area, and has the biggest population, which stands at more than 3.7 million.

Due to its size, the city is divided into 15 municipi (boroughs), from I (the centro storico or historical center) to XV (Cassia Flaminia, a green area in the northwest). Prior to the reform in 2013, the city was divided into 19 municipalities.

When looking for the ideal neighborhood in Rome, the area of your choice may depend mostly on local transport and the proximity to your place of work. When it comes to quality of life, Rome has a comparatively low ranking, placing 57th in the 2017 Mercer Quality of Life Index, due to its overburdened infrastructure and constant issues with pollution and waste removal. Even the most romantic Italian villa will soon lose its attraction if it comes with endless traffic jams and trash.

Popular Neighborhoods

There are some neighborhoods favored by well-to-do expatriates living in Rome. Cassia Flaminia (XV) is a residential area with lots of green spaces and several international schools. However, just like in Vigna Clara (part of municipio XV), a quiet and safe district which also features an international school, the transport connections between Via Cassia and the city center are not ideal.

If you are part of the younger expat crowd living in Rome, you will appreciate Trastevere (I), with its charming old-fashioned buildings, booming nightlife, and international student population. Older expats may gravitate towards more upmarket districts such as Appia Antica (XI) — provided their paychecks are generous enough. The beautiful neighborhood along the Via Appia boasts plenty of luxury villas.

The average expat living in Rome will be looking for more inexpensive housing options. There are a number of residential or mixed neighborhoods with decent infrastructure and shopping opportunities, where local middle-class families tend to congregate. Peaceful Centocelle (V), comparatively inexpensive Prati (I) or suburban Aurelio (XIII) may not have the same flair as the cobbled alleys of Trastevere, but they are more suited to everyday life in Rome.

The office district EUR (IX) was originally built during Mussolini’s dictatorship, it features some looming buildings in the Fascist style. However, aside from those reminders of a darker era, EUR — a thriving commercial area and home to the offices of many international businesses — could offer housing conveniently close to your office.

Renting Accommodation

If you do not want to hire a real-estate agent, property for rent (affito / da affitare) is advertised on Secondamano or PortaPortese, as well as in the classifieds of La Repubblica. While you browse through the property ads, it’s highly recommended to have an Italian dictionary handy. Even if your Italian skills are basic, it’s important to know if your new flat has riscaldamento centrale or a olio (central or oil-fired heating) and how many vani e bagni (rooms and bathrooms) your potential future home has.

Living in Rome does not come cheap. For a two- or three-bedroom apartment in the centro storico, you have to pay between 1,000 EUR and 2,500 EUR per month. When you calculate your budget, check whether the spese (obligatory service charges) for water, waste disposal, etc. are included in the rent.

Utilities (especially gas and electricity) are not part of the rent. You have to take care of the utenza (contract) yourself. Once you have the number of the flat’s previous utenza, your tax ID, and the last charges on the meter, you can ask the utility company to transfer the contract to you (voltura).


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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