Saunders 1865 | Moving to Rome

Moving to Rome

Are you moving to Rome?  A sojourn in the Eternal City is like living through the most significant moments of western history. The ruins of one of the world’s great empires still stand, regal and silent, in the heart of modern Italy’s thrumming capital. The splendours of the Renaissance weave a rich tapestry across Rome’s seven hills, while young Romans zip through the city on noisy scooters, blasé about the cultural wealth that forms their backdrop. A visit to Rome is a breath-taking experience. A posting there means this glorious city will get under your skin to charm and possibly frustrate you in equal measure.

Our free, in-depth Moving to Rome report includes info on:

• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city

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Putting Rome on the map

Italy’s capital is the fourth most populated city in Europe, and lies close to the west coast in the Lazio region. At the centre, the Vatican is the only existing country in the world to lie wholly within a city. Straddling the Tiber river, Rome encompasses seven famous hills and covers nearly 500 square miles.

Despite the fact that Rome is a thoroughly modern transport hub, it’s major road network approximates the ancient Roman roads that radiated out from the Capitoline Hill to the corners of the empire. However, driving in modern Rome presents something of a challenge, and most commuters rely upon public transport.

  • Rome has a good bus network with 350 routes and more than 8,000 bus stops.
  • There is also a tram network with 24 miles of track and nearly 200 stops.
  • By far the most efficient way of getting around is the metro. There are two reliable lines, with two more under construction/planning – though unfortunately avoiding Roman ruins is causing significant delays in progress.
  • Commuters living in the outer suburbs reach the centre using the suburban train network.
  • Rome’s main railway station, Termini, is one of the most-used in Europe, with 400,000 passengers passing through it each day.
  • On all public transport it pays to be wary of pickpockets so be sure to carry your money in an inaccessible place.
  • On foot, pay careful attention crossing road and never jaywalk – Italian drivers believe they have the right of way.
  • There are few dedicated cycle lanes or tracks in Rome and riding a bike in the ferocious traffic is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
  • Driving in Rome’s medieval streets isn’t easy either. Congestion is a problem and parking is expensive.
  • Rome has three airports, the busiest being Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.
  • The main harbour serving Rome, Civitavecchia, is some 40 miles north west of the city.
The Areas

Rome is certainly one of Europe’s most wonderful cities to live in, but setting up home here can seem at times to be a little fraught with bureaucracy. If you can speak Italian, you’ll have a massive advantage, so it’s worth booking up classes as soon as you know you’re coming here.

The main issue with finding accommodation in Rome is the trade-off between the high prices in the city centre or the lengthy commutes from more affordable suburbs. City centre apartments tend to be cramped for the money charged. However, much of the accommodation is in historic buildings which more than makes up for the shortcomings in space – imagine living in a medieval palazzo in the heart of the Eternal City.

When renting in Rome, there are two options – furnished or unfurnished, though even the former is unlikely to include appliances. Also, be aware that the tenant is responsible for any maintenance apart from external.

The historic centre

This is quite literally paradise for art lovers and history buffs, comprising of the areas of Via Giulia, Via Margutta, Via Coronari, the Jewish Ghetto and Monti. On the other hand, these areas will be no good if you feel the need to have a car. Parking is limited and a resident’s permit is required to drive in the centre of city in the daytime – something notoriously difficult to get hold of. The upside, if you’re prepared to walk and use public transport, is that you’ll be in the heart of a cosmopolitan city, well served by shops, restaurants and culture. The downside, naturally, is the number of tourists all year round.


South west of the centre on the other side of the Tiber, Trastevere is a great place for singles and couples – a vibrant and dynamic area with lots of bars, restaurants and cafes. Small, expensive apartments and noisy nightlife make the area less appealing for families but it makes a good central base if you don’t mind the bustle.


The modern art museum here used to be a slaughter house – this is a working area that has been gentrified in recent years. There’s still some way to go and if you want an edgy urban vibe with good nightlife, this is the place to head for. Fewer tourists and cheaper accommodation add to its appeal. The main thing against it is that it’s some way to the nearest metro station.


Across the Tiber from the historic centre, Prati lies northeast of the Vatican and is a popular area with expats. Fabulous shopping, good restaurants, easy metro access and a quick walk into the centre are the reasons why. This, of course, contributes to premium rents and tourist popularity.


The quietest of the inner city areas, Aventino offers wonderful views and a multitude of medieval churches. It’s well-located for international schools, so there’s a well-established expat community in situ, but rents are high and there are fewer restaurants here than in other areas.


Climb the hill northwest of Prati and the Vatican and you’ll find yourself in the quiet suburb of Balduina. In exchange for a slightly longer commute, you’ll be able to find more spacious apartments, often coming with a terrace and a view. You’ll be able to park your car in this area, too.


This is a great area for families – there are parks and open spaces, including Rome’s largest park, Villa Pamphili. Add to that spacious apartments with terraces and balconies, good schools and plenty of restaurants, and it’s easy to see why it ticks so many boxes. Located just beyond Trastevere on Gianicolo hill, the only thing going against it is that it’s not close to the metro.

Who Lives and Works in Rome?

The actual city is home to approximately 2.75 million residents, while the greater Rome area has about 4.2 million people living in it. Just over 90 percent of the population are native Italians, and half of the rest are of European origins – mostly from Romania, Poland, Ukraine and Albania. The biggest groups of non-Europeans living in the city are Filipinos, Bangladeshis and Chinese.

As the capital of Italy, room is host to all the country’s major institutions of government. It is also Italy’s major commercial centre, producing 6.7 percent of the national GDP. Unemployment here is low, and the city has a year on year growth rate of approximately four percent. Rome’s economy is dominated by the service sector and high tech industries such as IT, aerospace, defence, telecommunications, the financial sector and tourism. Many major Italian companies have their headquarters in Rome, including three of the world’s largest: Enel, Eni and Telecom Italia.

To work in Rome, it’s a good idea to be at least somewhat proficient in Italian. The sectors most friendly to expats are marketing and communication, hotel management and tourism. Digital and SEO experts are also in demand.

The Best Bits

Rome isn’t called the Eternal City for nothing. The wealth of historic artefacts and beautiful architecture make it one of the most extraordinary concentrations of culture on the planet. The history of Italy – and indeed the whole of Europe – is writ large in its stones and streets. To select it’s most beautiful and significant treasures could result in an encyclopaedic list, but here are just a few of them.

  • The Colosseum needs no introduction but you’ll probably catch your breath every time you see it. Other Roman highlights include the Forum, the Domus Aurea, the Pantheon, Trajan’s Column, the Circus Maximus, Castel Sant’Angelo and so much more.
  • Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio is one of the great surviving Renaissance structures in the city.
  • The Trevi Fountain – throw a coin in this Baroque masterpiece before you leave and you’re guaranteed to return to Rome.
  • The Sistine Chapel – crane your neck to see Michelangelo’s stunning interpretation of the creation.
  • Cuisine – eating in Rome is definitely to be savoured. Try specialty dishes with artichokes or the city’s favourite spaghetti dish: carbonara.
  • Rome may be second to Milan, but it’s still an important fashion hub, and home base to labels such as Bulgari, Fendi, Laura Biagiotti and Brioni.
Bringing the Kids

Although the bustle and noise of Rome can be a little overwhelming for children not used to living in a city, no one would deny that bringing your kids to the Eternal City is the most wonderful opportunity to immerse them in Italy’s glorious culture and history. What child wouldn’t thrill at the thought of the lions roaring in the Coliseum or shiver with excitement on a visit to the Catacombs? And even for more timid children, there’s always the ice cream! As well as the Roman ruins, there are plenty of parks and museums to keep the kids amused. The best parks include Villa Doria Pamphili, the playground at Villa Ada and the jungle gym at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.

However, the greatest consideration for parents bringing their children to Rome will obviously be where to educate them. Italian public schools are free, even to expats, but of course your children will need to speak Italian to attend one. There is a good choice of international schools, offering a variety of curricula, if your budget will stretch to it.

  • The school year in Italy starts in September.
  • The compulsory starting age for school is six years.
  • Attending an Italian nursery school is good way to get younger children speaking Italian.
  • At 14 years, the Italian school system splits between science, humanities and language based schools, depending on a pupil’s strengths and interests.
  • There are approximately a dozen international schools in the city to choose from, offering the International Baccalaureate, American and English curricula.
  • Rome has three universities, including La Sapienza which was founded in 1303 and is one of the largest in the world.
  • In addition, there is a large number of pontifical universities and seminaries for studying for the Catholic priesthood.
Relocating to Rome

Rome is a city you’re guaranteed to fall in love with, even while bemoaning the tourists, the traffic and the bureaucracy. A posting here can be a truly wonderful experience – a chance to get up close and personal with Italy’s extraordinary culture, history, art, architecture and cuisine. Commercially, it’s a major European city, with an emphasis on service, finance, technology and tourism, and there’s a large expat community here providing a wide range of skills to Italian businesses and institutions. It’s also a great place to bring your family, with child-friendly food – pizza, pasta and ice cream in excess – and a good range of educational choices. Accommodation in the centre can admittedly be small and expensive, but if you look further out of town, your options widen.

At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. Do you have children that need to be enrolled in school? Are the transport links convenient for your needs? Does this location fit with your expectations of expat life and is the space configured in a way that suits your requirements? We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – to Rome, London and destinations across the world. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.


Family friendly
Good Schools
Great Transport
Natural Beauty
Average Monthly Rent - Rome
Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre €971
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre €671
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre €1,909
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre €1,184
Contact us for a free initial consultation about your specific situation.
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Saunders 1865