Rome is a unique and very old city, because it was founded about 3,000 years ago. This means that you can admire palaces and monuments from the time of the Roman Empire to Neoclassicism. At every corner you can admire ancient ruins, ancient churches, huge fountains, majestic palaces and magnificent theaters. Western civilization as we know it today was born in Rome. Every year millions of tourists flock to the city to admire its remarkable historical and artistic heritage. However, living in Rome as an expatriate is a different story.
It is the capital of Italy and the only city in the world where another state, the Vatican, has its headquarters. The city is built on the famous seven hills, so everything is up and down. It is crossed by the Tiber River and is one of the European cities with the most parks and green spaces.
Being a very old city, its centre was not planned for today’s population (almost 3 million inhabitants) and especially not for the number of cars. Therefore, you will be stuck in traffic jams at all times of the day, unless you leave at 5 am. Public bus service is largely inadequate and prone to congestion, so buses are never on time. Unfortunately, the metro has only two lines, which is nothing compared to other European capitals.
So if you do not have the option of taking the subway to work, be prepared to spend hours stuck in traffic on a bus, as busses rarely have dedicated lanes reserved for them. And do not think that it is better to use the car, quite the opposite. Besides the traffic problem, you will also have to deal with the parking problem, which is practically non-existent in Rome. The only solution could be to use a bicycle or moped, but keep in mind that riding these vehicles is extremely dangerous due to the high volume of traffic, the lack of bike lanes and the unruly driving style of the Romans. The only way to enjoy Rome would be to live in the center and walk to work. But this option comes at a high cost.
Public services in general are largely inadequate. While they are gradually improving, they are far from what other cities in northern Europe provide. Bureaucracy in Rome, as throughout Italy, is very slow, and every procedure requires time and patience. Cleanliness, as in all of southern Italy, leaves a lot to be desired. Garbage collection does not work well, the streets are dirty, and in general all public spaces are poorly maintained and in poor hygienic condition.
As for the cost of living, it can be said that living in Rome is not expensive when compared to the cost of other European capitals such as London or Paris. Later, if you move to the outskirts, you can also find accommodation at a reasonable price.
Romans are nice, friendly and above all have an innate sense of humor. This sense of humor and playfulness sometimes makes them seem rude and unfriendly, especially in the eyes of Northern Europeans.
As for the job market, Rome is not an easy city. It is already hard to find a job, and when you do, it is often underpaid, so you can barely live on the salary you receive. A good knowledge of Italian is required for most jobs. If you know foreign languages other than English, such as: Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, etc. You will have a good chance to find work in the tourism industry.
In short, if you do not have good professional qualifications and extensive experience in your field, you will only be able to work in the hospitality industry (waiter, receptionist, etc.) or in commerce (clerk, bellman, etc.)
For those interested in finding a job in Rome, I recommend reading the article: Finding a Job in Italy
Living and working in Rome pros and cons
Living in Rome, pros
- Incredible variety of landscapes and history (lakes, sea, archaeological sites, monuments, parks, etc.)
- The greenest city in Europe
- Good weather
- Exceptional food
- Open and friendly people
Living in Rome, cons
- High bureaucracy
- Heavy traffic and congestion
- Neglect of public spaces (dirt, lack of hygiene, potholes in the streets, etc.)
- Few employment opportunities
- Low wages
Living and working in Rome, conclusion
Life in Rome can be very pleasant if:
- You have the opportunity to rent/buy a property in the center overlooking the impressive panorama of the city center
- If you do not have to travel to your workplace by car every day
Life in Rome cannot be very pleasant if:
- You have to live in one of those ugly neighborhoods on the outskirts of Rome
- Being crammed in a bus for several hours a day in a traffic jam to get to work
Rome could be a perfect city for those who have free time and money and do not have to work. If, on the other hand, you are forced to live on the outskirts of the city and have to take public transportation to work every day, your life may not be so pleasant, despite the undeniable beauty of the city.
So, if you are looking for a city in Italy that offers a quiet life with good services and reliable public transportation, Rome is not for you. In this case, it would be better to look at a medium-sized city in northern Italy that has less charm, but is cleaner, has a more reliable transportation system and better services, and also offers you more employment opportunities.