The best places to live in Rome
With so many beautiful areas and suburbs in Rome, expats are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing an area for accommodation. On the other hand, sometimes too many possibilities can make the process of finding an apartment even more difficult.
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’ll get around when selecting an area, as some neighbourhoods have little access to public transport, while others have virtually no parking.
Areas in Rome for young expats
Many young 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 allows expats to 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 choice for young expats. 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 and parking is difficult to find. There isn’t a nearby metro station, so one might have to take a tram or bus.
On the same side of the river as Trastevere, Prati is another choice popular with expats. Located northeast of the Vatican, this neighbourhood is within easy reach of the heart of Rome, either by foot or public transport. Prati has many good restaurants, although the nightlife is not as vibrant as in Trastevere and Testaccio. That said, Prati boasts some of Rome's best and most versatile shopping opportunities. While the area is filled with tourists, this potential 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 become a modern art museum. Its proximity to Trastevere and the rest of the historic centre has made it popular among young professionals and expats. A bit grittier than other areas in 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 somewhat 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. 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 ideal 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 the Eternal City's best views. The area has a substantial expat community thanks to its proximity to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, as well as several international schools. The area is peaceful, centrally located and culturally rich, but it also lacks nightlife, has fewer restaurants and is pricier than Monteverde and Balduina.
Situated 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 advantage 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 is not exceedingly vast – unlike other major European capitals. Within this nucleus are a few particularly inspiring quarters, 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 own a car here. Though traffic is limited to residents for the better part of the day, resident permits for driving are notoriously tricky to get. Parking in these areas is also minimal. The best mode of transport to use in this area is by bicycle or scooter, but expats should keep in mind that this is more dangerous in Rome than in most European cities. It's definitely not for the faint of heart.
Where should expats settle in Rome?
"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.
►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
Photo credits: Roman Rooftops by Anna Church; Rome by Tobias Tullius; Rome by Mike Nguyen. All sourced from Unsplash.
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