The expat’s guide to finding an apartment for rent in Rome Italy


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Living in Rome is like moving to a living museum. Cobbled roads, historical monuments, art galleries, and other cultural interests meet you around every corner. The Italian capital is a hot spot for historians, architects, and those who are seeking la dolce vita, or “the sweet life.”

If you’re lucky enough to stay in the city for an extended period, then finding apartments in Rome to rent is ideal compared to relying on short-term vacation rentals. But apartment hunting is probably the most complicated and intimidating process you’ll go through as a foreigner moving to Rome.

We’ll break down everything you need to know to start your apartment search journey in the Eternal City.

Challenges of finding an apartment in Rome

The biggest challenge you’ll face with renting in Rome is the language barrier. You’ll need to either find a realtor or program that will help you with every step of the process, which could be expensive, or try your luck on the apartment searching websites and hope the realtors have the patience to deal with a foreigner.

If you plan on staying in Rome for a while, you really want to be picky with where you settle. Realtors get paid by renting these apartments (more on this later), so it’s best to find somewhere you can see yourself living for several years. Otherwise, this fee will add up significantly.

There are also other things you should consider when thinking about your budget. For example, apartments may charge additional fees outside of the regular rent, internet, and utilities. It’s common that apartment complexes charge a condominium fee, which pays for cleaning the hallways and sometimes natural gas heating.

Of course, these fees are commonly listed on the apartment listing, but exactly what you’re paying for and how much it will be is often a mystery.

If you find an apartment in Rome that includes all expenses, though these may cost more monthly, it takes a lot of the burden off of your shoulders. Switching the electricity to your name or even getting internet access is a chore, especially if you don’t speak the language. Finding an apartment that includes everything would be an amazing deal for you.

Types of rental apartments in Rome

When you’re moving to Rome, you’ll have the option of searching for furnished or unfurnished apartments. Depending on how long you’re staying in Italy, furnished is the best choice for you. It will save you a huge amount of money and time picking out furniture, and is especially ideal if you don’t plan on living in Rome for the long run.

When looking through apartments, don’t be too picky if you don’t like the furniture. Even if you don’t like the way the apartment looks, you can change a few things around and make additions to make it feel like more of your own place.

You should also ask about what the apartment comes with, if it is furnished. To be considered “furnished,” all the apartment needs is a bed and kitchen appliances. However, some come with desks, couches, kitchen equipment, and other random things. The more the apartment comes with, the less you have to buy.

Paperwork requirement & contracts

One of the most frustrating things that you have to go through in Italy is their bureaucracy. For a country whose unofficial motto is “the sweet life,” they certainly love their paperwork.

To sign a contract with a landlord, you’ll need a Codice Fiscale, or “Fiscal Code,” which is basically the Italian version of your Social Security Number or tax code. However, it really feels like you need this for literally everything. Ordering a big purchase from Italian Ikea? You’ll need a Codice Fiscale number. Want a phone plan with an Italian company? Codice Fiscale. I think you get the point.

If you don’t have a Codice Fiscale, you’ll have to rent from short-term rental websites, which are often costly and inconsistent. You can also look at expat websites for open rooms or other short-term apartments, but again, those won’t be as good as the apartments you can get in the city.

If you go with an English-speaking service, you’ll often only get a year-long contract. Apartment leases in Rome go by the 3+2 rule. They start at three years, and if you’re settled and happy with your living situation, the contract automatically extends for another two years.

That may sound like a long time, and it is. If you do want to move, you simply have to give your landlord three months’ notice, and you’re free to leave.

But do remember that if you are moving within Rome, you’ll have to pay a realtor’s fee. Many contracts look like this: 10% of the rent for the first year plus 22% tax. $1000 a month = $1200 plus tax to your realtor out of pocket. So be sure it’s worth moving before you decide to do it.

Prices of apartments in Rome

One of the best parts of living in a place like Rome is the comparatively low cost of living. If you compare Rome, the capital of Italy, to living in Paris, Washington D.C. or London, you’d be blown away by how cheaply you can live there.

Apartment prices in the city center are going to be more expensive, obviously. A one-bedroom in the Monti or Trastevere neighborhoods will cost you over €1,200 in most cases, unfurnished. Outside the city center, though, you can get one-bedroom or studio apartments for under €700. It may be more realistic for you to plan on spending at least €900 for rent.

Living with roommates, however, will also significantly lower the monthly cost for you, too. Additionally, if you play your cards right, you may not have to worry about loads of paperwork involved if you signed your own lease. You can expect to pay around €600 a month for a private room.

What’s the best way of finding an apartment in Rome: tips & tricks

The first thing you should do is figure out your priorities. For example, my wife and I have a dog, so we wanted to be close to somewhere he could stretch his legs. We also wanted to live near reliable public transportation (something not very common in Rome).

We chose the quiet neighborhood of Monteverde because it is near a huge park called Villa Pomphilli and along the tram line (which, ironically enough, shut down for construction when we moved here a year ago and hasn’t opened yet…).

You may want to live closer to the heart of Rome so you can easily meet up with visiting friends and family for aperitivo or be near the hustle-bustle. In this case, take a look at Monti or Pigneto.


Rome’s public transportation is quite inconsistent, especially if you’re relying on the bus. The means of transportation that are consistent, though, are the trains, metros, and trams. They stay off the roads, away from heavy traffic, and come (mostly) on time. Searching for a rental along the metro line or around major train stations is a great place to start when looking for neighborhoods to live in.

Roman neighborhoods all offer unique attributes. Doing a little bit of research on the best neighborhoods in Rome is a great first start to looking for apartments.

Best websites for foreigners seeking apartments

If you choose to apartment hunt on your own without a service, then quantity over quality is your best bet. I used several different websites when apartment hunting and sent out 30 or more inquiries. In the end, I only got two responses back (luckily the second apartment was perfect for us).

With that in mind, patience is also key, so make sure you give yourself plenty of wiggle room when you’re looking for your apartment.

1. Spotahome – This website is a great option if you’re looking to get an apartment without visiting the property. In fact, the concept of the website is that you can’t actually visit the properties you’re interested in. The realtors who work for Spotahome have extensive video tours that show you the ins and outs of the apartment, and they’re usually done in English too!

2. – A great website for finding a huge range of apartments, but this is definitely a website where the quantity comes in. You can conveniently filter them by neighborhoods, prices, and more. It’s also easy to contact the realtors through the website’s messaging function, but getting messages back is unreliable.

3. Portaportese – This is a site similar to Craigslist that sells goods and advertises apartments for rent. This might not be the best place to start because it will be all in Italian and the website is a bit low-tech. You can get overwhelmed quite quickly.

4. Subito – More an eBay-style website, Subito is another place you can easily look at available apartments. However, you may run into similar difficulties as with Portaportese.

Final thoughts on finding an apartment for rent in Rome

With all the comforts of the modern age, a huge amount of cultural and historical significance, and a low cost of living, Rome is an ideal place to live. But finding apartments for rent in Rome may be difficult when the process and places are unfamiliar.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you get started and feel less intimidated. The beginning may be stressful, but once you settle in, you’ll love living in the Eternal City.

​​This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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