It’s not hard to let the beauty, culture, and cuisine of Rome catch you and keep you here forever as an expat.
Many members of the staff at Rome Accommodation – past and present – are expats who came to settle in Rome for various reasons. Whether it was a strong passion for Italian culture, a love story, or the tantalizing flavors of Italian food, the city has a way of embracing you from the moment you arrive that makes it hard to leave.
How can you experience the Eternal City like an expat? Below we dish on where to stay, where to explore, and how to best see the city through the lens of an expat.
Stay in Trastevere, Monti, or Prati
For expats it’s all about location, location, location. Neighborhoods like Trastevere, Monti, and Prati are becoming increasingly discovered by tourists but still remain densely populated by locals and expats alike. They offer the charming dolce vita experience that people seek when they move to Rome: ivy covered buildings, espresso bar sounds and aromas, and narrow streets lined with vintage Vespa scooters and Fiat 500s.
Trastevere, located across the river and adjacent the Vatican, is a charming, bustling part of Rome – full of markets, trattorias and locals. If you’re traveling in a couple, stay at this cosy apartment in the heart of Trastevere. All the flavors, aromas, and sounds of this exciting neighborhood are at your doorstep – not to mention the Tram 8 is just a few minutes by foot to connect you with the rest of the city.
Monti is tucked behind the Colosseum and was originally known as the densely populated and shady Suburra neighborhood during ancient times. Today this up-and-coming part of the city is home to cute restaurants and shops and a bustling nightlife. Experience the pulse of the Monti neighborhood staying in a trendy apartment near the colosseum that can accommodate up to 7 guests.
The Prati neighborhood sets itself apart by being simultaneously local and unassuming but also elegant and refined: massive facades, wide tree-lined streets and elegant shopping along Via Cola di Rienzo. For a large family or group of friends, the popular Mazzini apartment near the Vatican is the perfect solution for accommodating up to 14 guests in 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. Reach the Vatican by foot in 10 minutes or hop on the nearby Tram 19 to move even further.
Read our past blog post that explores all of the neighborhoods in Rome’s historic center to find the one that suits you.
Explore local haunts frequented by expats
Truth be told, local haunts are often not purely Italian because after assimilating into Italian culture on all daily fronts, a pub or a coffee shop might be just the home comfort you need. Barnum Cafe (Via del Pellegrino, 87, barnumcafe.com) near Campo de’ Fiori is a mecca for local expats to grab a coffee or cocktail for a chat or business meeting. Any number of English or Irish pubs play host to foreigners living in Rome, especially when there’s a big game on. Check out Abbey Theatre (Via del Governo Vecchio, 51, abbey-rome.com ), Scholar’s Lounge (Via del Plebiscito, 101b, scholarsloungerome.com), and Trinity College (Via del Collegio Romano, 6, trinity-rome.com) to name a few.
There are many well-established blogs and online resources for finding out more about the expat community in Rome. One of the most popular is Wanted in Rome (wantedinrome.com), an online and print magazine that’s been a staple of the Rome english-speaking community since 1985. Check out their website for more local places to dine and events going on during your visit.
Unless (s)he is completely isolated, every expat in Rome needs to learn Italian for all sorts of normal daily activities. Whether it’s stopping at the post office, purchasing groceries at the market, ordering a coffee, or asking directions – speaking Italian is crucial. Brush up on your Italian skills by yourself with a free smartphone app like Duolingo or participate in a casual bilingual conversation event. These events find Italians looking to hone their English speaking skills and English-speaking expats looking to improve their Italian for an aperitivo just to chat. Check out the Expats in Rome website (expatsinrome.com) for times and locations for these free events open to all.
Dine at home
Perhaps nothing marks the experience of a local like shopping at the local market for dinner ingredients and preparing a meal at home. In Rome the number of daily open markets available is remarkable. In nearly every corner of the city on any given day you’ll find a veritable farmer’s market with fresh ingredients, and no doubt you’ll meet an expat or two.
Don’t have time to cook? Rome Accommodation offers a delicious Chef@Home service designed to give you the experience of an authentic Italian meal prepared and enjoyed in the comfort of your vacation apartment. A local Roman chef will come to your place with all the ingredients and prepare a 4-course meal. Jump in and learn a few things for your own personal lesson or show up when dinner’s ready for a special evening with friends. For more information, read our past blog post on our chef@home service.
Are you an expat living in Rome? What would you add to this post? Share your tips and advice in the comments below.