Rome is undoubtedly a beautiful city, rich in history and culture, and while this is true, expats living in Rome share a broader experience, including various ups and downs.

It’s worth considering a range of factors before deciding to relocate to Italy’s capital. Here are some of the main pros and cons of expat life in Rome.

Culture shock in Rome

+ PRO: Friendly locals

Italian people tend to be warm, friendly and generous. They are also family-orientated, so it’s common for new arrivals in Rome to be invited for home-cooked meals with local families, which certainly helps one settle into life in a new place.

- CON: The language barrier

There is no real way to avoid the language barrier, and this can cause some culture shock in Italy. As the capital of Italy, Rome is likely to have large numbers of locals speaking English fairly fluently. Taking the time to learn a few key phrases in Italian will help make life easier though. Those who speak other Latin-influenced languages like French or Spanish shouldn’t find Italian too difficult to pick up.

Working in Rome

- CON: The job market is highly competitive

The largest expat population in Italy is concentrated in Rome, so expats need to be suitably qualified to secure a job in the Italian capital. While it isn’t necessary for every field of work, the ability to speak Italian fluently will give expats an edge over their peers when it comes to securing a job.

Accommodation in Rome

+ PRO: Wide range of housing options

Rome offers a diverse array of accommodation options, catering to different budgets and preferences. From historic apartments in the city centre to modern flats in the suburbs, expats can find a place that suits their lifestyle. Additionally, many of these accommodations are close to essential amenities, making daily life convenient.

- CON: High rental prices in central areas

Living in the heart of Rome can be expensive, with rental prices significantly higher compared to the outskirts. Expats looking for accommodation in central Rome may have to compromise on space and amenities due to the high cost of living in these prime locations and may have more luck choosing different areas or suburbs in Rome.

Lifestyle in Rome

+ PRO: Italian food

Italian food needs no introduction, and expats moving to Rome will certainly be in for a treat. New arrivals will find beautifully prepared home-cooked dishes at local trattorias. Produce in local supermarkets also tends to be fresh and organic.

+ PRO: Family-friendly city

Expats moving to Rome with children will find there are a lot of family-friendly activities on offer. Most museums offer free or discounted entry for kids, and spending time outdoors at one of Rome’s many parks or gardens is a great summer activity for the whole family. 

- CON: Lots of tourists

Rome is a tourism hotspot. In the summer months especially, throngs of people, both from abroad and other parts of Italy, descend on the Italian capital. While tourism is an important income-generator for Rome, the masses can become an annoyance to locals (and expats) because major attractions become incredibly crowded and prices are driven up. 

Cost of living in Rome

+ PRO: Reasonable cost of living

While living in Rome is by no means cheap, it’s certainly less expensive than other European capital cities such as Paris or London. The country’s relatively stable economy also means that prices don’t fluctuate too much.

Education in Rome

+ PRO: Access to affordable public schools

Public schooling in Italy is free until the age of 16, when parents will need to pay a negligible amount for enrolment. This option is viable for those who speak Italian fluently or families who are looking to settle down in Rome for a longer period.

- CON: Fees at international schools are remarkably high

Rome has long been a popular expat destination. There is a range of international schooling options to support the expat population and Italians who opt for these schools. That said, fees at many of these institutions can be extremely high, so expats should try to negotiate an allowance to cover the costs as part of their employment package, if possible.

Healthcare in Rome

+ PRO: Healthcare options to suit a broad range of budgets

Expats living in Italy do have access to a solid public healthcare system. That said, despite doctors being highly qualified, the service at some hospitals is undermined by bureaucratic issues. Most people prefer to use a mixture of private and public healthcare options. Having a broad range of options allows expats to use the facilities that best meet their circumstances. 

Public transport in Rome 

+ PRO: Excellent public transport

Getting around in Rome is simple, thanks to the city’s extensive public transport network that gets commuters where they need to be. Whether it's by bus, tram or metro, expats will be well-catered for.

- CON: Traffic is a nightmare

If possible, expats should avoid driving as traffic in Rome is terrible. The narrow streets can be difficult to manoeuvre around, and the behaviour of local drivers can be quite aggressive. Parking, especially in central parts of the city, is pricey and difficult to find.

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

  • Comprehensive Family coverage, wherever you go
  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
  • Access to dental and orthodontic care
  • 24/7 multilingual Customer Service

Get a quote from Cigna Global

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