View of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Living in Rome: a short practical guide

What’s it like to live in Rome? Get your bearings on the Eternal City with our quick guide.

5 min read

Oh, Rome. Geographically and beyond, Rome is the heart of the Italian peninsula and its beauty is renowned all over the world. From art to history and cooking, the city’s fascinating personality tends to inspire and win over even the least romantic tourists. Yet visiting Rome for a few days is very different from living day-to-day in its hectic reality. What’s it really like, then, to live in Rome as a "Roman"? We rolled up our sleeves and wandered down the cobbled streets to find out for you. Let’s take a look.

Living in Rome: pros and cons

What’s it like to live in Rome? Local residents seem to have mixed opinions. There are those who say it’s fantastic, while others describe it as a frustrating and unsatisfactory daily experience. So what’s the truth?

On the one hand, Rome is a cosmopolitan metropolis made up of more than 3 million people. The city is well connected to the rest of Italy, and it’s easy to reach due to its international travel connections. In fact, the international airport of Fiumicino is the largest airport in the entire Italian territory in terms of the number of passengers, and the second largest airport in terms of freight traffic. That’s why many companies with the highest revenue turnover in Italy are based in Rome—such as Eni, Enel and Poste Italiane. Plus, its historic center is home to major national institutions, such as the four political headquarters. There’s the Quirinal Palace (Palazzo del Quirinale), one of the official residences of the President of the Italian Republic—and there’s Chigi Palace (Palazzo Chigi), the seat of the Council of Ministers and the residence of the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi. Not to mention Montecitorio Palace (Palazzo Montecitorio), which brings together the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and Madama Palace (Palazzo Madama), home to the Senate of the Republic. 

There are also multiple embassies and branch offices of world intergovernmental organizations in Rome, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Program (WFP). All to say that in the bustling capital of Italy, there’s a lively international atmosphere wherever you go.

The beauties of Rome from an artistic and cultural point of view are, of course, incomparable. The Eternal City enjoys more than three thousand years of history, so it’s no surprise if the impressive monuments around the city take your breath away as you walk past them after a long, satisfying lunch. There’s the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain—and world-famous museums, notably the Vatican and Capitoline, among many others. The real joy, though, is to simply walk through the neighborhoods, among the locals going about their everyday lives. Every corner of this city is a small reinterpretation of a multiethnic and modern Italian reality—one that’s rooted in traditions. As for leisure activities, those who live here are spoilt for choice when it comes to courses, recreational activities, or gastronomic experiences. With an international city that’s accepting of the old and the new, everyone can create their own unique adventure in Rome.

Yet Rome is also a city that’s known for its congested traffic in the streets. What would—in theory—require a very short amount of travel time, can often be stretched into hours due to the intense congestion, no matter if you’re driving or taking public transport. The lack of green spaces within the urban setting and some not well-maintained areas often contrast with the beauty of the city, and can make everyday life somewhat unpleasant at times. And as for work? Life here isn’t the simplest. Although Rome hosts the headquarters of many international companies with high revenues, working in this metropolis can be a frustrating experience, due to its inexplicably slow pace—quite similar to Milan. 

So, what’s our verdict? Rome is an international city—one that’s very human and culturally rich. At times, parts of living in Rome can also feel very complex, intricate and confusing. But if you let yourself be conquered by its contradictory nature, you’ll learn to love it.

Where to live in Rome

If you’ve decided to live in Rome, the first thing you’ll have to think about is finding a home. But how much does it cost to live in Rome? The cost of living in the Italian capital is not extremely expensive. Compared to Northern Italy, you can often expect to spend less in restaurants, shops and on leisure activities. Even rent in Rome is usually around 16% cheaper than the second most-populated Italian metropolis, Milan—between €700 and €800 for a two-bedroom apartment. Yet, as in all cities, living in the popular historic center may push you over your budget if you’re trying to save. Areas such as Campo de 'Fiori, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and Barberini offer many amenities close by, but finding a home here is not sustainable for most people. For the same reason, moving to the refined and elegant area of Roma Nord (such as, for example, the Trieste District) could force you to drain most, if not all, of your salary on rent and expenses. Roma Sud, on the other hand, with its lively-spirited areas such as the Garbatella area (Ostiense district), represents a good compromise between the cost and quality of living.                                                                                                                       

For those looking for university accommodation, student rentals in Rome can be convenient in neighborhoods like:- Pigneto—a stone's throw from the Sapienza University- San Lorenzo—halfway between Termini station and La Sapienza, or- Garbatella—the aforementioned district which is well connected to the Roma Tre and Tor Vergata universities.You can expect to pay around €400 for a single room, and €200 for a shared room.

Wherever you go, N26 goes

We hope you’ve picked up some useful tips on what to expect when moving to the Eternal City. Moving to a new city can often be stressful—and if you’ve ever tried, you’ll know that unexpected surprises can always happen, even if you’ve planned everything down to the last detail.So, why not switch to beautifully simple, 100% digital banking that just works? N26 is The Mobile Bank, so you can manage your money from anywhere, anytime—with zero hidden fees, no paperwork, no queues at the bank, and no surprises. Discover our bank accounts now and open yours in 8 minutes—right from your phone!

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