Areas and suburbs in Rome
With so many beautiful areas and suburbs in Rome, expats are likely to find themselves spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing an area for accommodation. However, sometimes too many possibilities can make the process of finding an apartment even more difficult, especially considering that expats will also need to keep their budget in mind when house-hunting.
It’s therefore crucial for expats to evaluate their priorities and find a neighbourhood that suits their preferences. They should be especially mindful of their transportation situation when selecting an area to live in Rome; some places have no access to public transport and in others it’s virtually impossible to find parking.
Areas in Rome for young and single expats
It’s a good idea for single expats and those with young children to stay as close to the city centre as possible. This is especially true for anyone staying in Rome for a short period of time. Being in the centre lets expats get the most out of their time in Rome, and some of the frustrations that go along with living here can be easily overlooked in the short term. Some areas of Rome that buzz with life and are ideal for young expats include:
Trastevere is by far the most popular place for young expats to live. This picturesque area 'across the Tiber' retains a village atmosphere, despite being part of the historic centre, hence its popularity. There is always something going on here, and the wealth of bars, restaurants and cafès means expats will never be without something to do.
►Pros: Picturesque and visually inspiring, very central and popular with expats, Wonderful restaurants and bars on every corner.
►Cons: Noisy and overrun with students at night, very difficult to find parking with restricted traffic at certain hours, no Metro nearby, apartments generally small and expensive.
On the same side of the river as Trastevere, Prati is another popular choice with expats. Located northeast of the Vatican, this neighbourhood is within easy reach of the heart of Rome, either by foot or public transport. There are many good restaurants in Prati, although the nightlife is not as vibrant as in Trastevere and Testaccio. That said, Prati boasts some of the best and most versatile shopping opportunities in Rome.
►Pros: Great shopping, many international restaurants, close to Metro, within walking distance of historic centre, spacious apartments.
►Cons: Very touristy, close to Vatican museums, has recently become more expensive.
Testaccio was once one of Rome’s working-class districts that was famous for its slaughterhouse, which has now been turned into a modern art museum. With its proximity to Trastevere and the rest of the historic centre, it has become popular among young professionals and expats. A bit grittier than other areas of the centre, Testaccio residents claim they are living in the 'real' Rome. It is also Rome’s nightclub district.
►Pros: Less expensive than Trastevere and Prati, not touristy, great nightlife, within walking distance of Trastevere.
►Cons: Not as picturesque as other areas of the centre, loud at night near nightclubs, not close to Metro.
Areas in Rome for families
For those transplanting an entire family, the best place to live is on one of Rome’s famous hills (supposedly there are only seven of these, but in reality there are more). The following three neighbourhoods are particularly ideal for expats with young children:
This is the only quiet area in the historic centre, so it can be the perfect location for those who want a central location without the associated chaos. Some of Rome’s largest and most important medieval churches can be found here, as well as some of its best views. The area has a substantial expat community due to its proximity to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and international schools.
►Pros: The quietest and most peaceful area in the historic centre, very central, close to Metro, culturally rich.
►Cons: More expensive than Monteverde and Balduina, lacking in restaurants and nightlife.
On Gianicolo hill, behind Trastevere, Monteverde is the ideal place for expats with families. Away from the hubbub of the historic centre, this leafy neighbourhood is full of families and parks, including Rome’s largest public park, Villa Pamphili. Parking is much more easily found here, but it is not necessary to have a car.
►Pros: Proximity to Villa Pamphili and other public parks, many other families in the area, many good restaurants and schools, apartments have balconies and terraces.
►Cons: Very hilly, making it almost impossible to travel by bicycle, no Metro nearby, complicated to navigate on public transport unless living near tramline.
This peaceful neighbourhood is just up the hill from Prati, north-west of the historic centre. Expats can easily walk to Prati and the Vatican from here, although getting to the historic centre itself can be a hassle without a car. The apartments are more modern and spacious than other parts of town, and many have large terraces with sweeping views.
►Pros: Quiet, easy to find parking, many apartments are spacious with terraces and views.
►Cons: Furnished apartments may be hard to find, not many restaurants or shops, difficult for those who rely on public transport.
Areas in Rome for art lovers
For artists and art lovers, the only place to live in Rome is in the historic centre, which, unlike other major European capitals, is not especially vast. Within this nucleus are a few quarters that are particularly inspiring, such as the areas around Via Giulia, Via Margutta, Via Coronari, the Jewish Ghetto and Monti.
These Roman neighbourhoods will make expats feel like they’re living in a postcard, but it can be inconvenient in the long term.
For one, it is almost impossible to have a car here. Though traffic is limited to residents for the better part of the day, resident permits are notoriously difficult to get. Parking in this areas is also extremely limited. The best mode of transportation in this area is bicycle or scooter, but expats should keep in mind that this is more dangerous in Rome than most European cities, and definitely not for the faint of heart.
►Pros: Visually stunning and inspiring, close to shops, restaurants and cultural attractions, served by many bus lines.
►Cons: Nearly impossible to have a car, apartments often cramped and in bad condition (spacious and renovated apartments can be extremely expensive), not all areas are close to the Metro, area is very touristy.