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When in Rome – the realities of living like a local

By October 31, 2018July 25th, 2020FinGlobal

When in Rome – the realities of living like a local

October 31, 2018


Living in Rome sounds like a dream come true for many expats. Unfortunately the dream can be very different from the reality, especially when it comes to affordability. Mercer’s 2018 Cost of Living Index reported that Rome was one of the cities that had climbed up the list by 34 places to position 46. So before you rush off to enjoy la dolce vita (the good life) here are some things to bear in mind.

Guide for expats in Rome


Rome is not just another city

Rome is a major tourist city, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to visit the Vatican and Rome’s other ancient monuments and art pieces. With the influx of tourists comes a strain on the local infrastructure, increasing the levels of pollution and rising rents.

It can be extremely hot

Temperatures in Rome can climb up to 40 degrees Celsius, so if you are moving to Rome and arriving in the summer, you need to take this into account. Expats arriving in the summer months often find they have arrived in a relatively quiet city with the majority of the local population fleeing to the mountains and the beach. This can make finding accommodation and completing your paperwork a challenge – so make sure you plan well ahead.

A melting pot of cultures

One of the advantages that Rome offers expats is that it is home to many sizeable German, French and British expat communities as well as large expat communities from China, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine.

Limited English speakers

Very few Italians are fluent in English and you can find that people are abrupt when you attempt to speak to them in English – this is particularly common in tourist cities like Rome, Florence and Venice where many locals regard tourists as a nuisance.

Expensive amenities

Renting and buying property in Rome is very expensive and as Italy has limited resources, you pay for everything that has to be imported. This means that resources like fuel, gas and electricity can be expensive and limited and add significantly onto the daily cost of living.

High unemployment

Unemployment is high in Italy due to the poor performance of the Italian economy, which is smaller than it was in 2008. Every year thousands of Italians graduate and are unable to find jobs. So if you have not arranged a job prior to your arrival, it’s likely you will find yourself in a very challenging job-seeking environment. Rome offers employment opportunities in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors as well as banking, finance and real estate. For creative expats, there are opportunities in the media and fashion industries.

Be prepared for bureaucracy

One of the other criticisms of Rome are the many layers of bureaucracy that one has to traverse through – whether you are trying to register your children for school, find accommodation or obtain identity documents. Be prepared for many delays and inefficiencies in this year-round tourist destination.

Make the most of the magic

Despite all this, most expats that have moved to Rome are loving their life in this ancient city and insist that all the frustrations are nothing when compared to the amazing food, wine, art, culture and the endless recreational opportunities on offer in this age-old city and its surroundings.


Spread the FinGlobal news in Rome

If you’re living in Rome and part of a South African expat community, you can use your successful experiences with FinGlobal as an opportunity to earn some more money. Simply sign up for our FREE FinGlobal Referral Programme and you’ll receive a 5% commission for every referral that becomes a FinGlobal client. To find out how you can quickly and easily refer your friends using your social media channels, contact us today.

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