Expats FAQ in Italy

What city are you living in ?

Bank

Q: Is there a daily withdrawal limit for ATMs in Rome?

A: Yes. In most cases, it's 250 euros, but there are other banks like Credem and Banca di Roma which allow you to withdraw more.

Q: What are regular banking hours in Rome?

A: Banking hours are a bit unique in Rome. Banks open at 8:30 am, close at 1:30pm, and reopen at 2:30 pm and then finally close for the day at 4:40pm.

Q: How much do banks in Rome charge for travellers' checks?

A: It depends on the bank, but the range is between 4 and 6 euros per check.

Business

Q: What are typical business hours in Rome?

A: Business hours in Italy can be odd by most expats' standards, with establishments opening at 8am and closing at 1pm, with a two-hour lunch break. However, there are plenty of multinational companies in the capital city and these establishments instead follow the typical Western business schedule of 8am to 5pm or 9am to 6pm, with a one-hour lunch break.

Q: What language is often used in business transactions in Rome?

A: Rome is Italy's capital city and home to the country's biggest expat population. Multinational corporations in the city are also known to employ a lot of English-speaking expats. However, the business language in Rome remains to be Italian.

Q: Where are major business events like conventions and trade fairs held in Rome?

A: Rome has a huge reserve of venues hosting various business events, and most of them are clustered around the city centre. However, a consistent favorite is a modern suburb called EUR which is located around four miles south of the capital's central area. This is where the biggest business conventions, trade fairs and the like are usually held.

Children

Q: What sports are commonly played by kids in Rome?

A: Most young boys in Rome are into soccer, tennis, cricket or rugby. For the girls, there are lots options as well, from swimming to gymnastics and many more. Sporting Palace on Via Carlo Sigonio is a great place for parents to take their kids and ""shop"" for a good sport to engage in during the weekends.

Q: Are there English language movie theaters for kids in Rome?

A: Yes, and two expat favorites are Baberini and Alcazar. Additionally, there are English puppet shows held at Teatro San Carlino and Teatro Verde, as well as entertaining and educational DVDs that may be purchased at the Little Library (Via Festo Avieno) and the Central Children’s Library (Via San Paolo alla Regola).

Q: What's the curfew for teenagers in Rome?

A: Expats moving to Rome with teenagers should know that there is no curfew for young people in the city, and those under 15 can easily drink at clubs or watch films that are normally restricted for this age group.

Q: What's the curfew for teenagers in Rome?

A: Expats moving to Rome with teenagers should know that there is no curfew for young people in the city, and those under 15 can easily drink at clubs or watch films that are normally restricted for this age group.

Cost of living

Q: What costs are higher in Rome than in other world capital cities?

A: Energy and fuel cost higher in Rome than New York and London, but there are more things cheaper in the Italian capital, like wine and food which are also higher in quality based on expat testimonies.

Q: How much does a single expat usually spend on accommodation in Rome?

A: Single expats in Rome usually rent a studio apartment which costs around 900-1100 euros monthly, inclusive of utilities. Sharing a two-bedroom apartment with a pal can reduce the cost to 650-700 a month. Rents do vary depending on the area. For instance, in San Giovanni and Piazza Bologna, the apartments are cheaper compared to those in via Veneto or Piazza Navona.

Q: Where's a cheap place to live in Rome that's still close to the city center?

A: Pigneto is a trendy but affordable area that's becoming more popular among newly arrived expats. San Lorenzo is another place to find cheap housing near the city center, but it's more popular among university students and creative professionals who like to keep nightlife accessible.

Health

Q: Are there pharmacies in Rome that are open at night?

A: Yes, all pharmacies post a sign outside that indicates whether or not they are open at night. Some pharmacies in Rome that are open late into the night are Piazza dei Cinquecento, Via Nazionale and Via Cola di Rienzo.

Q: Which hospitals in Rome have English-speaking staff?

A: The International Medical Center is one hospital in Rome that has English-speaking doctors. The Salvator Mundi International Hospital also has English-speaking staff, but their bed capacity is rather limited. Expats can ask their embassy or consulate for a list of English-speaking doctors in the city.

Q: Which hospitals in Rome have English-speaking staff?

A: The International Medical Center is one hospital in Rome that has English-speaking doctors. The Salvator Mundi International Hospital also has English-speaking staff, but their bed capacity is rather limited. Expats can ask their embassy or consulate for a list of English-speaking doctors in the city.

Q: Do expats in Rome get public healthcare benefits?

A: Expats with a residence certificate in Rome have access to all healthcare benefits accorded to Italian citizens. However, they need to register with the local health authority in their particular area. There are 8 Azienda Sanitaria Locale or ASLs in Rome's metropolitan area, from ASL A to ASL H, and the official website provides links to the particular requirements for registration per ASL.

Housing

Q: How much is the security deposit for renting a house or apartment in Rome?

A: This depends on the landlord but the norm is two or three months' worth of rent. Note that in Rome, the housing market tends to favor landlords such that negotiations are hardly practiced, no matter how high the prices involved may be. Landlords are also known to require bank references to serve as security in case a tenant misses a payment.

Q: What kind of housing options are available in Rome?

A: Apartment blocks are very common in Rome, and so are apartments housed in historic buildings. It is common for buildings in Rome to have the ground floor and the basement reserved for commercial use.

Q: How much do expats pay real estate or relocation agenciies when looking for a rental property?

A: This depends on the cost of the property itself or even the agent. In most cases, the fee is equivalent to a month's rent on top of a specific percentage of country tax.

Leisure

Q: What's a favorite area for clubbing and nightlife in Rome?

A: Rome has plenty of hotspots for partygoers, but one that is popular among expats and tourists is Campo de’ Fiori, which is like a huge compound right at the center of the city close to Tiber's banks. Another is Piazza degli Arurunci which is located in the San Lorenzo university district. Here, the atmosphere is a bit more relaxed and prices are more affordable, too.

Q: Where in Rome do people go for the best authentic Italian cuisine?

A: When it comes to authentic Italian food, both locals and expats troop to a neighbourhood called Testaccio, which also happens to be one of the city's hippest clubbing districts. People here are often seen dancing the night away, or just chilling to live acoustic music in some of the area's more laidback venues.

Q: Where can people buy ticket to professional football games in rome?

A: There are plenty of vendors online, but the safest way to avoid scams or overpricing is to buy tickets from TICKET ONE, which has an outlet near the Vatican. To buy a ticket, one must present an ID (one ID for each person watching) and pay in cash.

Looking for a job

Q: What educational qualifications are most sought after by employers in Rome?

A: Expats who have a degree in marketing or communication will have a good chance of getting a job in the Italian capital, along with those who have experience in the tourism industry and those with proven skills in search engine optimization, marketing, and social networking.

Q: Is it important for expats to be fluent in Italian before they can be hired for a job in Rome?

A: Expats don't have to be fluent in Italian to get a job in Rome, but they do have to know at least the basics of the language, especially when applying for jobs like bartending, waitressing and other related positions in tourism-oriented establishments such as like resorts and hotels. Proficiency in another language like French or German is also a plus.

Q: Is it important to have a university degree when applying for a job in Rome?

A: University education is very serious matter for people in Rome. Hence, even expats who aren't proficient in Italian may be able to get a job if they have a sought-after tertiary degree. Multinational companies are also fond of hiring expats who are proficient in English.

Money

Q: Where is the best place to exchange currencies in Rome?

A: There are lots of places to exchange currencies in Rome. Those at the airports should be avoided though because they offer lower rates and higher fees. The Termini Train station area has the biggest concentration of money exchange centers in Rome.

Q: What is the so-called unique practice of writing checks in Rome?

A: In Rome, checks are written with a decimal point to indicate thousands, and a comma to indicate cents. For instance, 1,500.00 would be written as 1.500,00.

Q: Why do ATMs in Rome close on Sundays?

A: They don't actually close on Sundays, but they do usually run out of cash over the weekend and only get restocked on Monday mornings.

Moving

Q: How big is the expat population in Rome?

A: Rome's expat population is ever increasing. According to the last official city census, there are currently over 220,000 residents in the city who were born outside Italy and registered in the Rome municipality. There are particularly large communities of migrants coming from Poland, Albania, China, the Philippines, Romania, and Bangladesh.

Q: What are some good neighborhoods to consider for young and single expats planning to move to Rome?

A: By far, Trastevere is the most popular neighborhood for younger expats in the city, along with Prati which is on the same side of the Tiber River northeast of the Vatican. Prati is mostly appreciated for its accessibility, being easy to reach by public transport or even by foot from the city center. A less expensive alternative is Testaccio which is generally quieter but has a great nightlife.

Q: Are there schools in Rome where newly arrived expats can learn or polish their Italian?

A: Yes, and there are plenty of options. If you want to be sure you're learning good Italian, look for a school that has an ASILS accreditation. ASILS is short for Associazione delle Scuole di Italiano come Lingua Seconda (Association of Schools of Italian as a Second Language). Note that there are only six language schools in Rome that have this accreditation, and the most popular among these is Scuola Leonardo da Vinci located at Palazzo del Bianco di Santo Spirito near Piazza Navona.

Pets

Q: How much does does dog daycare cost in Italy?

A: There are more than 50 dog care centers in Rome and their rates certainly vary, depending on various factors such as location, quality of facilities, etc. However, on average, dog daycare services would cost around 9 euros per hour, and in many case, these services are not just limited to dogs but may also cover a whole variety of pets, from cats to goldfish.

Q: Are there restrictions on where dog owners may walk their dogs in Rome?

A: Dog owners can freely walk their dogs in almost every part of Rome. In fact, there's a city ordinance (though rarely imposed) that fines pet owners 625 USD if they fail to walk their dogs daily. There are plenty of parks in the metropolis that are perfect for dog-walking, including Villa Pmaphili, Parrco della Caffareila and Villa Borghese, among others.

Q: What kind of pet services are available in Rome?

A: There are various kinds of pet services in Rome, from animal sitting to funeral services to spa services and many more. Usually, a pet center would specialize in a particular service, but there are those that serve as a one-stop destination for pets and their owners. Master Dog, located at 45 Via Vitellia, is a popular example of a pet shop in Rome that offers a comprehensive line of pet services.

Schools

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of sending expat kids to Italian schools over international schools?

A: Italian schools are free and have an impressive reputation, but expat kids usually have the language barrier to deal with. For kids who have no problem learning other languages, this barrier may be easy to overcome. Those who are staying for a limited time may well study in international schools like the American Overseas School of Rome, Rome International School, and Scuola Giapponese di Roma.

Q: What are popular schools for adult expats who want to further their educational pursuits in Rome?

A: There are four public universities and many English-language universities in Rome. The NATO Defence College and the LUISS School of Government offer military and civil service courses, respectively, while the John Gabet University and the American University provide mainstream educational opportunities for the rest of the population.

Q: Are there schools for children with special needs in Rome?

A: All primary and secondary schools in Rome have special facilities and programs for children with special needs (in keeping with national education policies), but not all schools provide the same quality or level of special care to special students. There are schools that stand out in this department, such as the Marymount International School of Rome in Via di Villa Lauchli.

Shopping

Q: Which stores in Rome are known for going on sale?

A: Almost all stores in Rome go on sale or "saldi" once in a while, though more frequently between the months of January and July. For the rest of the year, prices are usually on an uptrend.

Q: Is it also good to shop in Rome, considering that Milan is the shopping capital of Italy?

A: Milan is considered the shopping mecca of Italy, but according to Rome residents, especially women, the Italian can easily match what Milan has to offer and at far better prices too.

Q: Where do people shop for all those famous Italian designer shoes and bags in Rome?

A: Rome is actually divided into different areas in terms of the types of goods they offer to shoppers. For example, Via Condotti and Via del Corso are two of the biggest shopping districts in the city, and these are where people find retail outlets for Fendi, Gucci, Prada and many other iconic Italian bag and shoe brands. For vintage and art-inspired shops, people usually troop to Piazza Navona or Trastevere.

Telecommunications

Q: Are there public phones in Rome?

A: Yes, but there's rarely one that accepts coins. Instead, most public phones are used with a scheda telefonica or phone card which is sold in denominations 7.50, 5, and 2.50 euros at various places, like cigarette shops, newspaper stands, and post offices.

Q: Are there Internet stations in Rome?

A: Yes, and they're called "Internet points.” There's plenty of these stations scattered around the city, especially around Termini station. Most hostels also provide computers for guests to use at around 2-4 euros per thirty minutes.

Q: What types of cellphones can be used in Rome?

A: Tri-band phones that work at 900MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies are used in Rome, and international brands include Nokia, Samsung, and iPhone are the most popular.

Transport

Q: Do buses in Rome have a regular timetable?

A: Buses in Rome generally do not follow a fixed schedule, with the exception of the linea espressa bus which has the red sign at the bus stop. A green linea bus is considered the express bus because it makes a few stops so that passengers arrive at their destinations faster. Other buses in the city include the autobus urbano, which provides regular services, and the bus notturno (with the owl symbol) which pies its routes at night.

Q: What do licensed taxis in Rome look like?

A: Licensed taxis in Rome are those that are painted white or yellow with a sign on their doors reading SPQR. Note that unlike in other cities, hailing a cab in the middle of the street won’t get you one. You have to actually go to a designated taxi station of sort or request a taxi directly by calling the taxi operator.

Q: Where can people buy train and tram tickets in Rome and how much do these cost?

A: Both train and tram tickets can be purchased in advance in a tabaccheria or at the metro station, or on board a tram through an automated machine. The price of a daily ticket is 6 euros, a weekly ticket is 24 euros, and a single ticket costs 1.50 euros.

Travel

Q: How much cash must one keep in handy when traveling to Rome?

A: It's always good to arrive in Rome with at least 100 euros. There are no ATMs in both of the city’s airports, and cash will be needed in taking the train or bus to the city center.

Q: How much does a taxi ride cost from the airport to the Roman city center?

A: From Ciampiano airport, the flat rate is 30 euros and that includes all passengers and their luggage for one stop in the city. From the Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci airport, the flat fee is higher - 48 euros - since it is located farther from the center than Ciampiano. Note that it is illegal for drivers to charge higher than these government-imposed rates.

Q: What are some of the best budget hotels in Rome?

A: Rome is considered a tourist-friendly city not only because of its spectacular attractions, but also its long line of high quality yet affordable hotels. Suite Dreams at Via Tacito 7, Daphne Inn at Via di San Basilio 55, via degli Avignonesi 20, Sant'Anna at Borgo Pio 134, and Grand Hotel Gianicolo at Viale delle Mura Gianicolensi are some of the most popular budget hotels among tourists, with rates going as low as 100 euros a night for a ""doubles"" room.

Visa

Q: Where do people report lost or stolen immigration-related documents like passports, etc.?

A: Losses must be reported to a Carabinieri or Polizia station near the Termini station, at the carabinieri in Via Montana, 6 (north of Termini) or Plazza Venezia, or at Piazza del Collegio Romano, 3 (near Piazza Venezia), the Policia at Via Farini, 40 (south of Termini), Via S. Vitale, 15 (off Via Nazionale to the north), or Piazza del Collegio Romano, 3 (near Piazza Venezia). After filing a report with a carabinieri or polizia station, the expat's embassy must be informed of the loss as soon as possible.

Q: Where is the Ministry of Immigration located in Rome?

A: It is housed in a government building called Palazzo della Farnesina found between Monte Mario and the Tiber River in the Foro Italico area.

Q: What are some of the best immigration consultancies in Rome?

A: There are plenty of professionals advertising themselves as "immigration consultants" or "immigration experts." However, the best advice will always come from an immigration lawyer, as immigration is essentially a legal process. There are many immigration law firms in the city, and two of the most popular are Giambrone, located in Largo Antonio Sarti n. 4 and DLA Piper with its office at Via di Due Maceli 66.