Moving to Rome?
Moving to Rome
At a Glance:
- The city has a Mediterranean climate, with cool, rainy winters, and hot summers with temperatures often more than 30⁰C.
- Nationals of all countries without visa exemption need to apply for a Schengen visa, even for a short-term stay in Rome. Most expats will need a long-term “National” visa.
- Non-EU national who wish to work on a self-employed/entrepreneurial basis in Rome must first get a nulla osta, which authorizes them to perform independent activities.
- Both EU and non-EU nationals will need to get a certificate of residence upon arrival in Rome, which can be obtained from your local anagrafe (residence office).
For many expats, moving to Rome sounds like a dream come true. Your forthcoming relocation may remind you of Hollywood’s vision of the Italian capital. It’s very tempting to imagine yourself as the dashing Gregory Peck romancing a doe-eyed Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, or as Julia Roberts discovering Italian gourmet cuisine in Eat Pray Love.
As dreamy as these visions seem, in real life, moving to Rome is, in many ways, the same as a move to any other city. Life in Rome brings with it pollution, rising rents, petty crime, and an overstrained transport infrastructure.
In other respects, Rome is certainly not just “any other city”. After all, Ancient Rome was the capital of an empire that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, from Northern Africa to Northern England. As the center of Catholic Christianity, it has played a key role in European history.
Pleasant Climes by the Tiber River
Moving to Rome sets you right at the heart of Italy. The nation’s capital is located in central Italy, in the region of Lazio, where it forms the core of Lazio’s largest province – also called Roma. The city (comune) of Rome itself stretches along the River Tiber, from the hilly hinterland to the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Due to its location, the city has a typical Mediterranean climate, with rainy winters and hot summers. In July and August, average temperatures range from slightly below 20°C at night to 30°C or more during the day. In fact, the highest temperature ever recorded in downtown Rome is 40°C.
When you prepare for your move to Rome, you should take the climate into account, especially if you arrive in summer. While the city no longer comes to a standstill in August, expats coming to Italy at that time of the year still find themselves in a comparatively quiet city, with most of the local population flocking to the mountains or the beach.
A Multicultural Melting Pot
Rome is not only Italy’s capital, but also its most populous city. In 2015, the comune of Rome boasted a population of around 3.7 million. The municipality extends beyond the unofficial “city limits” marked by the ring road Grande Raccordo Anulare and includes a lot of unused marsh land.
The population of Rome is an ever increasing one, with thousands of Italians and migrants moving to Rome every year. According to the last official census, about 364,000 foreign-born residents are registered in the municipality of Rome. There are huge immigrant communities, especially from Albania, Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine.
There are also sizeable communities of German, French, and British expats in Rome. According to the latest available figures from the Italian Bureau of Statistics (Istat), 2,400 Germans, 3,800 French expats, and 2,500 Brits lived in the comune of Rome, in addition to a smaller expat community of around 2,000 US citizens.
Common Sense Guarantees Safety
As often happens in an unfamiliar environment, expats moving to Rome can be concerned about their safety. The most frequent crimes are, however, pick-pocketing (bus line no 64 is dubbed the “wallet express”), purse-snatching, and vehicle theft.
As always you should never leave your valuables in the open. In particularly busy areas you shouldn’t even keep them in a backpack, but use an inside pocket or a concealed money belt instead. Make sure to have the number of your embassy and bank to have if you do happen to lose a passport or credit card.
As with every city that you are not totally familiar with, make sure to have your wits about you. Don’t take unlicensed cabs, and avoid unofficial money exchanges — it’s not worth the risk of being scammed.
As a matter of general safety, it is best not to loiter around the Stazione Termini (Central Station) or in metro stations at night, and don’t walk alone at night in areas you don’t know or more deserted areas on the outskirts. Having said all this, moving to Rome is largely a safe decision, and you shouldn’t be afraid to discover this city yourself.
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