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 transport situation and how they willw get around when selecting an area to live in Rome, as some areas have no access to public transport, while in others, it's virtually impossible to find parking.
Areas in Rome for young and single expats
Many single expats or expats with young children prefer to stay as close to the city centre as possible. This is especially true for those 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.
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 cafés means expats will never be without something to see and do. Although this area is trendy, colourful and central, it can become noisy at night, parking is difficult to find and there isn't a metro station nearby.
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. While the area is filled with tourists, this downside is offset by its position close to Rome's historic centre.
Testaccio was once one of Rome’s working-class districts 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 with edgy bars and street food. Although Testaccio is less expensive than Trastevere and Prati, it is less picturesque.
Areas in Rome for families
For those relocating with 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 neighbourhoods are particularly ideal for expats with young children.
This is the only quiet area in the historic centre, so it can be an ideal 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 as well as a number of international schools. The area is peaceful, centrally located and culturally rich but it also lacks nightlife and restaurants, and is more expensive than Monteverde and Balduina.
Situation 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 landscaped public park, Villa Pamphili. Parking is much more easily found here, but it is not necessary to have a car. The area provides the advantages of being close to many good restaurants and schools, but the area is very hilly and getting around may be tricky.
This peaceful neighbourhood is just up the hill from Prati, northwest of the historic centre. Expats can easily walk to Prati and the Vatican from here, although getting to the historic centre 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. The area is quiet and it is easy to find parking but furnished apartments are rare, there aren't many restaurants or shops nearby and Balduina is not as well connected to public transport as other areas.
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 and there's always something going on, 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 for driving are notoriously difficult to get. Parking in these areas is also extremely limited. The best mode of transport in this area is to use a 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.
►To find out more about renting an apartment in the city, read Accommodation in Rome
►Lifestyle in Rome can give you a sense of what living in Rome is actually like
"Depends of course what your budget is, but the Aventino, Piazza Navona, San Giovanni, Trastevere and Testaccio are the ones popular among expats in the central parts of Rome." Camilla's interview gives some great insights into specific neighbourhoods in Rome.
Photo credits: Roman Rooftops by Anna Church; Rome by Tobias Tullius; Rome by Mike Nguyen. All sourced from Unsplash.
Are you an expat living in Rome?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rome. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Seven years ago, I packed up my life in the states, and moved to Rome, for no other reason than that it felt like where I was supposed to be. I haven't looked back yet. I never cease to be amazed by Rome's endless beauty, delightful curiosities and fascinating mysteries. Every day I am astounded anew by this glorious town, unless of course I am too busy complaining about the bureaucracy that day. Blog: www.thepinesofrome.blogspot.com
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