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Education 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 Italian School System: From Kindergarten to Lower Secondary

Expat families in Rome will be particularly interested in the schools available for their children. In Italy, it’s customary to send your kids to scuola dell’infanzia (kindergarten) for up to three years, but this is not compulsory.

Pre-school is followed by five years of scuola primaria (primary education). In primary school, Italian children are taught reading, writing, math, English, arts, and music, as well as basic history, geography, natural sciences, and social studies.

The same curriculum as in primary education applies to scuola secondaria di primo grado (lower secondary school), except for the addition of a second foreign language. After three years, the students take the licenzia media exam for upper secondary school.

Upper Secondary Education in Italy

Upper secondary education is for students aged 14–19. There are three types of upper secondary education, depending on each student’s personal interests and academic achievements. The istituto tecnico or istituto professionale offer practical subjects with a commercial or technical focus as vocational training, and students attend for three to five years.

The liceo, on the other hand, is the fast track to a university education. There are various kinds of high school, of an artistic or academic nature. Students can specialize in music, the fine arts, or even dance, as well as the classics, natural sciences, humanities, or modern languages. The final exam (esame di maturità), in combination with an entrance test, paves the way to higher education.

International Schools in Rome

While the Italian school system has a good reputation, and is free of charge, expat parents often worry about the language barrier. If your child is still quite young, then immersion in an Italian education can be a valuable opportunity to become fluent in the local language.

However, if you are not planning on staying in Italy for the duration of your children’s education, then it may be a better idea to send your child to one of the many international schools in Rome. Many of them have their own nursery and kindergarten as well. Remember, international schools are private institutions and charge annual tuition fees.

Make sure to check out the following schools well in advance of your move:

Further Education in Rome

Adult expats living in Rome have plenty of opportunity to broaden their horizons. Rome has four public universities with an estimated student population of over 200,000. In addition to that, there are several English-language universities in the Italian capital.

While the NATO Defense College and the LUISS School of Government cater to the military and the civil service respectively, the American University of Rome and John Cabot University provide more general higher education. Anyone who’d like to brush up their Italian skills should simply get in touch with the Società Dante Alighieri. They provide a number of classes in which you can study the Italian language, history, and culture at any level of linguistic proficiency.


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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