Moving to Rome

Your lifetime dream is to move to Italy and you are opting for the capital? Here are some things you should know before moving to Rome. Cost of life, cleaning, strikes and “sampietrini” cobbles are part of the Roman routine. To make them easier to remember, a Roman hill was associated with each one of them.

1. Cost of life in Rome – Caelian hill

Milan and Rome are the most expensive Italian cities. If you are on a budget or need to value a job offer, consider that minimum expenses are 1200 euros per month. 200 euros for food. 300-450 for a room. 650 or more if you want to rent a whole apartment in a semi-central area, 100 for bills, and so on.

Luckily social life in Rome is very affordable. You can enjoy an aperitivo or free museum entrances once a month. If you are a Roman resident, you can enter Civic Museums for 5 euros a year. The whole city is an open-air museum available anytime.

The cost of life matches the Caelian hill because Colosseum stands here. The proximity to the symbol of Rome increases the prices.


Colosseum, located next to the Celium hill


2. Banks – Palatine hill

Opening a bank account as a non-resident may be quite difficult. Consider this if you can’t rely on an account in your home country. Study your options before arrival. If you want to buy an apartment, consider that few banks will give you the mortgage for the whole amount. You will have to provide guarantees that you will be able to pay, as a stable job in Italy. If it can comfort you, Italians are not treated better when it comes to money.

Banks stand with the Palatine hill. Leadership used to live here, starting from Romulus.


palatine hill rome

3. Bureaucracy – Capitoline hill

Some documents you need might get lost in the bureaucratic circles of hell. After long research, you might discover it’s due to a violent fire in the place in Albania. But wait, why were they in Albania, in the first place? A shrug from the employee is all you will get for an answer. Yes, I’m citing an extreme yet painful real case here. Expect to receive two different answers to your question, depending on the mood of the employee.
You will eventually receive the paper you need but the procedure is unlikely to be straight and logical. The last example: to reduce queues the municipality introduced an electronic system. This made the waiting list of people who need to renew their ID cards in some parts of Rome raise up to 6 months. Before the smart system, you went to the office, queued and got it solved in one morning.
Rome Mayor’s office and the Municipality are on the Capitoline hill, the local bureaucracy cradle.

4. Strikes – Esquiline hill

One of the first words foreigners learn in Rome is “sciopero“. There is at least one public transport strike per month, usually on Fridays. The good thing is that even on strike days public transport runs from 5.30 to 8.30 am and from 5 to 8 pm. The bad news is that everyone who owns a car takes it on that day making traffic insane. Drivers increase exponentially also when it rains. Heavy rains cause flooding in some metro stations that close every single time. “There is no such thing as bad weather” definitely doesn’t work in Rome.

Esquiline Hill is close to Termini station, the place where lots of crowds form on strike days.

esquilino tram moving to rome

5. Romans – Viminal hill

Probably the most important thing to know before moving to Rome is the language. If you don’t know it, you may think locals are rude sometimes. As you learn some Italian and Roman dialect, you will start to appreciate their genuine humor and sharp dialogues. You will also know whether Roma or Lazio soccer teams scored. How? By your neighbors’ exultations, even if you are not interested in sports.
The Minister of Interior is located on Viminal hill.

6. High heels and nice dresses – Quirinal hill

If you can’t imagine your life without high hills, coming to Rome will change that. You will give up in a couple of months. The most stoic ones resist for a year or so. Cobbles will ruin your best shoes and will make every walk difficult. Nice dresses will cause inevitable attention from local men. The macho tradition is still very strong here. Even a 70-year-old Italian man will tell you how beautiful you are and will compliment you on your dress.
Quirinal is the fancy area near Trevi fountain with a lot of “sampietrini” cobbles. Via del Corso, where people still go for a walk on Sunday showing their best outfits is nearby.
sampietrini moving to rome

7. Cleaning in Rome – Aventin hill

If you are used to spotlessly clean streets, Rome may sometimes shock you. Unfortunately, cleaning is not its best part. Locals love dogs but apparently find that cleaning dog poo is beneath the Roman Empire’s successors’ dignity. Tourists contribute to the mess throwing cigarette stubs and paper on the ground. All these actions are illegal but almost nobody actually gets fined because of them.
The surprising thing here is that the apartments of most Romans are very clean despite the fact that Italians generally don’t off their shoes indoors.
Circo Massimo – an ancient racing stadium now used for jogging and walking the dogs is in the area is on the Aventine Hill. The famous keyhole with the Vatican view from which you can see through three different countries is also here.
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