The 12 Best Places to Live in Rome
Rome has been called many things over the years – the City of Marble, the City of Illusions, even the City of the Soul. However, its most recognised nickname is the Eternal City. It is said that poets coined the term to show the world that Rome is a city that will last forever:
Imperium sine fine, an empire without end. And it has indeed lasted.
Rome is one of the most unique capitals of the world. This metropolis is steeped in art, music, and poetry that’s begging to be explored. It’s one of the only cities where you’ll find ancient historical monuments resting alongside your favourite spot to buy your morning caffé. The romance, the mythology, and the excellent food are just some of the elements that attract a multicultural expat community to this city.
As the wise proverb says: all roads lead to Rome! Want some guidance on finding the right place for you? Keep reading to discover the best neighbourhoods to get the most out of your experience in Rome.
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The best neighbourhoods in Rome for cheap property
San Lorenzo is known as one of the best neighbourhoods for a budget-friendly lifestyle. The expenses of city living can build up over time, and this borough offers the excitement of the Roman way of life without the strain on your pockets.
The area is crawling with inexpensive coffee shops, vintage record shops, and decent nightlife spots. It’s a social neighbourhood, especially on the weekends, so avoid this area if you prefer a more peaceful vibe. The population is youthful and laid-back, with many artists and culturists flocking to these buzzing streets.
San Lorenzo is a public transport hub, so getting around will never be an issue. Previously up-and-coming, the word is out, and the area has exploded over the past few years. Rent remains very reasonable, but this may change as popularity grows.
Top tip: Two-bedroom apartments are more abundant in the area than a one-bedroom, and you will get more value for money. The average price of a spacious two-bedroom varies, but you may find one as cheap as €1,000 per month.
Rome is so stunning, it often looks like a painting
Once rundown, gentrification has led to a boom in popularity here. Pigneto is now known as the rainbow (or alternative) district and is one of the funkier and more stylish places to live in Rome.
Teeming with art deco coffee shops, minimalistic bars and eclectic art studios, Pigneto has a healthy mix of young expats and locals. It’s also popular with students, due to its cheap housing.
Some locals say it lacks the same feel as inner-city Rome, with the overwhelming variety of architectural styles meshed into one. Atypical colourful houses scatter the area, with traditional facades in between. However, the cheaper housing prices attract newcomers again and again.
You will find an abundance of studio apartments to rent for an affordable €700 per month.
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The best neighbourhoods in Rome for culture
Found on the western side of the Tiber river, this neighbourhood has an international community that enjoys the blend of old and new culture spots in the area. Think medieval churches and piazzas mixed with trendy cafes and boutiques. This neighbourhood is a mass of winding cobblestone streets that are thriving with life.
If you want to surround yourself with authentic Roman culture, Trastevere has been called an open-air museum. Spend your days lounging in the Orto Botanico, the resident botanical gardens, or head over the bridge to Tiber Island on the weekends and immerse yourself in the history of the endless temples and shrines.
The area is central and well supported by public transport, with most locals preferring the tram over the buses, which can be unreliable at times. It’s also within a half-hour stroll of the city centre, for those who like to walk.
The bohemian and carefree nature of this neighbourhood has given rise to diverse nationalities settling here. However, the popularity of the area does mean that you will pay the price to become one of the locals. A cosy one-bedroom apartment will set you back €1,400 per month.
Just to note: If you are looking for a quiet area, this is not the one for you. The nearby universities mean the local nightlife can be lively, and streets are boisterous on the weekends.
Monti is located in the very heart of Rome, so much so that if you decide to live here, you may even be able to see the Colosseum from your apartment. The traditional facades of the old buildings complement the pop of colour from Instagram-worthy cocktail bars and vintage shops.
Hipsters will be very comfortable here. The backdrop of beautiful ruins scattered among the skilled artisan coffee shops will add romance to your everyday commute, short as it may be. Spend your weekends at the Mercato Monti, an indoor market where you could devote hours to scoping out the best vintage records and second-hand designer clothes.
Word of advice: If you want to meet new people and find somewhere great to live, you can find a shared apartment for a reasonable €850 per month. Otherwise, a one-bedroom apartment will cost upwards of €1,300 per month.
The best neighbourhoods in Rome for food
When in Rome, eat like a Roman! But cheesy sayings aside, the rich culture is not the only reason expats flock to the city. Rome is notorious for having one of the best cuisines in the world.
Across the river from Trastevere, Testaccio is synonymous with excellent food in Rome. Historically, this area housed the port that received the majority of Rome's food imports. Today, it is home to some of the best eateries the city has ever seen. It is also known to have vibrant nightclubs and good bang for your buck.
While Testaccio may look antiquated, you will get more than you can handle as a foodie. It's not all carbonara and un caffé per favore – the district possesses a melting pot of international cuisines.
If you settle in this area, the Testaccio market will become your local haunt. Residents can't deny the low prices and fresh produce of the bustling market that houses hundreds of gourmet food stalls where you can grab a quick bite or spend hours tasting at your leisure.
It’s more than just a culinary hub though, with incredible street art and a central location that means competition to secure housing in this neighbourhood is high. Apartment prices are more affordable, from around €1,000 per month for a one-bedroom, but you will need to act fast if you want to live here.
Prati doubles as a foodie district and an upper-class setting. Home to the Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica, this area is known for broad sweeping streets and modern high-rise buildings. Many consider Prati to be white collar, pointing to the corporate sector at its upper end.
Don't let the modern surroundings fool you, though. Prati is no stranger to traditional, local cuisine – though you will pay for it! High-quality ingredients and some of the best chefs the city has to offer produces some of the highest-rated restaurants in Rome. There is also a significant shopping district here, and public transport is plentiful, though the area is very walkable to the city centre.
Due to its upmarket nature, this is not the area to live in if you are looking for budget housing. A modern one-bedroom apartment will cost upwards of €1,500 per month, but the elegant feel of the neighbourhood will more than make up for it.
Top tip: You will be less likely to find tourists in this high-class area but avoid Vatican City on Wednesdays and Sundays as this is when the crowds gather to see the Pope.
The best neighbourhoods in Rome for green spaces
If you want to escape the busy, winding streets of the city centre, Monteverde is the calm oasis you are seeking. This leafy green suburb is as peaceful as it gets, without being too far from central Rome.
Located just south of Trastevere, Monteverde is known for a slower pace of life and generally has an older, more relaxed community. The area is ideal for families and those who enjoy nature. Classic and elegant, this rione (neighbourhood) consists of beautifully curated gardens and parks.
The metro is lacking, but it is more than made up for by the bus and tram lines to connect you to the city. It is more realistic, but not necessary, to own a car here, as parking and traffic are well controlled.
The beauty of Monteverde’s suburban location means prices are that much lower. You can find a spacious one-bedroom apartment for €900 per month or a two-bedroom for €1,100 per month. You may even be lucky enough to have a garden included!
Keep in mind: This is a hilly area and getting around by foot is not for the faint of heart.
Parioli is a residential gem that embodies the Italian practice of la vita lenta – slow living. A northern suburb on the city's outskirts, this is not the area to find a buzzing nightlife. Instead, the locals value a lazy weekend coffee in one of the many public parks and family-orientated activities.
The locals know it as a clean and elegant neighbourhood, separated from the nitty-gritty of the inner city. The secluded location comes with tree-lined streets and architecture that will impress all expats.
The fairytale stylings of the Quartiere Coppedè is right on your doorstep, as is the sprawling lush estate of the Galleria Borghese. The best parks in the area are the Villa Ada and Villa Borghese.
Easily one of the more exclusive areas, housing is in high demand. A one-bedroom apartment will cost you an average of €1,300 per month, but you will find they are more spacious than those closer to the city centre.
The best neighbourhoods in Rome for nightlife
One of the quirkier areas in Rome, Ostiense is off the beaten track and well worth considering for people seeking a more alternative nightlife. Originally considered a working-class area, over the years this neighbourhood has succumbed to hipster and counterculture trends to form the weird and wonderful region it is today.
While traditional and modern bars have a home here, most of the nightlife focuses on unusual settings such as warehouses and abandoned factories.
The expansion of this district is down to word of mouth, and the expat community has grown significantly over time. The new hipster character has led to some of the most famous street art in Rome. You will find awe-inspiring murals on derelict buildings, the train underpass and even apartment blocks.
Though it is welcoming to families, the population is typically younger and lively, so keep that in mind. The fact that the area is still growing means you can find a cosy one-bedroom apartment for around €900 per month.
Chances are, if you're not actually Italian, you won't have heard about this area. Ask any local, and they will tell you Ponte Milvio has a vibrant, albeit lesser-known, nightlife. If you want the buzz of a dynamic neighbourhood without the tourist traps, this hidden gem is the place for you.
Located north of the city, Ponte Milvio is the name of one of Rome's oldest bridges that inhabits the area. Just over a decade ago, this area was wilting. However, the release of the noughties romance movie “I Want You” in which two lovers professed their feelings on the bridge has given new life to a neighbourhood that now rivals the bar districts of the inner city.
You will find a healthy mix of casual bohemian bars with popular happy hours and elegant cocktail bars that host only the most exclusive clientele. Catch up after work at the laid back Jarro or try the local speakeasy Interno 2 (if you can find it!).
Just to note: Apartment prices can vary as you get further away from the city centre, but typically range from upwards of €900 per month.
The best neighbourhoods in Rome for schools
This is the first area on everyone's mind for schools. Popular yet peaceful, Via Cassia boasts broad residential streets and colourful terraced housing.
Rome has an excellent educational system – public schools are free, and there are plenty of international schools located in the area. Via Cassia is home to the American Overseas School of Rome and Kendale Primary International School. This makes the location preferable to families and expats alike.
You can easily find a small studio apartment for a reasonable €800 per month. However, if you’re seeking a larger family apartment, it may take more time and cost upwards of €1,200 per month.
Top tip: This area is ideal for those who plan to drive a car. Public transport is available but not very reliable, and the local amenities are spread out.
Aventino is another quiet and peaceful neighbourhood, but its central setting is very popular among expats hoping to bring their families with them.
The location is well-served by public transport, and the international community is substantial. There are plenty of early education schools in the area, and it’s close to several universities. Aventino is also culturally rich, with an abundance of medieval churches and sweeping views that punctuate the tranquil backdrop. Still, it lacks nightlife and restaurants, so keep that in mind if you prefer to be close to the heart of the action.
Perched on one of Rome's infamous seven hills, Aventino offers picturesque views. You can bring your family to Savello Park after school and enjoy panoramic views of the entire city. It’s easy to feel like a local here, as the Romans value their time spent relaxing outside of work and education.
You can find a lofty one-bedroom apartment for around €1,300 per month and a two-bedroom for upwards of €1,800 per month.