For centuries, Rome has been one of the most popular destinations for tourists, drawn to its ancient ruins, Renaissance art, and delicious cuisine. But what would it be like to live in Rome as a digital nomad?

To the untrained eye, Rome may seem like the last place to take on a digital nomad lifestyle. After all, the city’s sweltering summers, huge population (well over 4 million), and high cost of living make it an unlikely choice for digital nomads. But beneath the surface, Rome is teeming with social opportunities and vibrant culture—making it a great place for those looking to combine their love of travel and work.

In this article, I’ll explore what it’s like to be a digital nomad in Rome. I’ll cover the best neighbourhoods and shared workspaces, tips to fit in as a local, and the pros and cons of living in one of the world’s most iconic and historical cities. Get ready to experience “La Dolce Vita” as we delve into the digital nomad lifestyle in the Eternal City.

Is Living In Rome good for digital nomads?

Rome is an attractive destination for digital nomads who love to follow a busy schedule. There’s a reason why it’s called the ‘eternal city’ — it could be your home for an eternity with so many activities to offer. If you’re looking for a long-term stay, there are plenty of accommodations available, though they can be on the expensive side.

When it comes to internet access, not only is the internet connection fast and reliable, but it’s also inexpensive and plentiful. There are plenty of cafes and other public spaces where you can work, making it easy to get online and get things done.

Finally, while the English level in the rest of Italy is not particularly advanced, in Rome it’s far better. Even though I speak Italian, I’ve heard from many English-speaking travellers that it’s much easier to get by in Rome than elsewhere in the country.

My First Impressions of Rome

Full disclosure, my first trip to Rome was when I was a year old, so I can’t tell you my authentic first impressions. I probably just wanted to nap.

But just so you know, if I ever stop travelling around the world, I would like to settle in Rome, so yes, I’m biased. However, I will try to be objective as possible in this article. 

Turnons:

  • Being surrounded by stunning baroque architecture and gorgeous gardens. Even walking through the streets was a treat.
  • Bumping into historical points of interest—from Roman ruins to Castel Sant’Angelo.
  • Eating gelato is a definite highlight. And honestly, it’s hard to find a bad gelateria in Rome. You’ll learn quickly that almost any time is a good time for gelato.

Turnoffs:

  • The summer can be quite hot, and public transportation can feel especially sweaty. 
  • Too many tourists—I know I’m technically one of them, but it can be overwhelming at times.

Everything You Need To Know Before You Get To Rome

If you’re wondering whether I’m excited for you to visit Rome, I’d respond with the classic “Is the Pope Catholic?”

The Pope is Catholic, and in fact, he lives in Rome. Perhaps you’ll catch him on a tour of the Vatican. But first, let’s investigate the arrangements you must make before you get there, including practical tips on neighbourhoods, Visas, and transportation.

When is the best time to visit Rome?

Fall and spring are the best times to come to Rome. Even the end of October can often feel like the middle of summer. Target April, May, September, and October for the lack of crowds and perfect temperatures.

The weather in Rome is distinctly Mediterranean, making it an ideal destination for digital nomads. The winters are exceptionally mild, rarely dipping below 5-10 degrees Celsius, and seldom seeing snow. On the other end of the spectrum, the summers are unbearably hot, with temperatures often reaching the mid-30s Celsius. 

Housing & Neighborhoods

As a Rome digital nomad, you can expect to pay quite a bit for accommodation. One way to reduce the cost is to look outside the city of Rome itself and explore the rest of the surrounding province. Colli Albani is a chill town, but if you plan to visit the city centre, getting there can be a bit of a hassle, even if the train ride is only 20-30 minutes.

The historical centre of Rome is another option for accommodation, but it is often very crowded, and the prices can be quite high. For this reason, staying here isn’t often worth the cost. However, depending on your budget and needs, it may be a good option if you are looking for optimal proximity to tourist sites. Overall, finding affordable accommodation in Rome can be a challenge, but with some research and patience, you might find something that works for you.

That said, it’s a struggle to search through dozens of apartments and analyzing the images to ensure they have a workspace, functional kitchen, and other essential amenities for a months-long stay.

Most rental sites have posed major problems for me, and I know I’m not alone. If you want a more consistent solution, we’re in the process of curating a large database of digital nomad apartments in Rome and beyond. Enter your name and email below to get access to them as soon as they’re released.

Best Neighbourhoods In Rome

Rome is massive and massively crowded. However, if you stay immediately to the North, South, or West of the centre, things become a little more peaceful. Moreover, these areas have more of a local feel.

The best neighbourhoods in Rome are:

  • Testaccio
  • Trastevere
  • Pinciano
  • Pigneto
  • Prati
  • Garbatella

Testaccio

Testaccio is a neighbourhood in Rome that can be a good option for digital nomads. It’s a residential area that offers a local atmosphere with plenty of amenities and attractions for visitors. Here are some of the things that make Testaccio a brilliant place to stay:

  1. Transportation: Testaccio is well connected to other parts of the city by public transportation, with a metro station and several bus and tram lines.
  2. Working spaces: Testaccio has some co-working spaces available for digital nomads, such as Office 21.
  3. Cafes and restaurants: Testaccio has a variety of cafes, bars, and restaurants that cater to different tastes and budgets, including many local options. There are also several outdoor markets where you can buy fresh produce and other food items.
  4. Nightlife: Testaccio is known for its nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs that stay open late. If you leave for the club before midnight, you’re a boomer — or so I’m told.

Overall, Testaccio is a neighbourhood that offers a good balance of work and play, with plenty of amenities and attractions for digital nomads.

testaccio digital nomad
Testaccio is one of the best neighborhoods for digital nomads in Rome

Trastevere

Trastevere is a popular and lively neighbourhood located near the historic center of Rome, just across the Tiber River. It is known for its narrow streets, charming piazzas, and numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists.

For a digital nomad, Trastevere could be a great option as it has many places to work from, such as cafes with Wi-Fi, coworking spaces, and libraries. There are also many parks and green spaces, including the beautiful Villa Sciarra, which could be a nice place to relax and answer calls and emails on your phone outdoors.

One potential downside for digital nomads in Trastevere is that the neighbourhood can be crowded and noisy, particularly during peak tourist season. It is also more expensive than some other areas of Rome.

Overall, Trastevere could be a good choice for a digital nomad who values a lively, energetic atmosphere and easy access to amenities like restaurants and cafes.

Pinciano

You will probably pay a lot to live in Rome, so you might as well live in one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods. Pinciano is an affluent neighbourhood located very close to the historical center and it’s also near Villa Borghese, one of the city’s largest parks. This park is perfect for strolling or jogging, and it’s a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The architecture in Pinciano is some of the best that Rome has to offer; beautiful 19th-century buildings abound. The streets are lined with trees, making for a lush atmosphere. All this makes Pinciano the perfect place to set up camp if you’re a digital nomad looking for a luxurious living experience in Rome.

Worst Neighbourhoods In Rome

The most notorious neighbourhood in Rome is Esquilino, located in the Eastern part of the center. Historically controlled by various Mafia families, it’s best to avoid this area at night. While it doesn’t have a high concentration of Airbnbs, it’s always wise to exercise caution.

You should also avoid the area immediately near Termini station. Since two metro lines run through there, it’s best to take the metro to get there if you need to catch an intercity train from Termini.

The south of Rome also has a bad reputation, though I believe it is mostly undeserved. However, it’s the poorer part of the city and it’s wise to stay away from certain neighbourhoods, such as Via del Trullo.

Entry & Digital Nomad Visas in Italy

EU citizens can enter Italy with just an ID card. However, for non-EU citizens, the process is slightly more complicated. Generally, non-EU citizens can enter Italy every 90 days out of 180. To find out more information about entering Italy as a non-EU citizen, visit the official website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. This website will provide all the necessary information on visas, travel documents, and other important information.

Italy has approved a digital nomad visa for non-EU citizens who work remotely for an employer outside Italy, but it has not yet been implemented. A word of caution before you get excited: Italian bureaucracy makes me want to pull my hair out, and Rome is purported to have some of the worst bureaucracy in all of Italy.

To be eligible for the Italy digital nomad visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Use telecommunications technology to work
  • Have a valid passport with two blank pages
  • Submit an online application form and two passport-sized photos, 
  • Provide a work contract with an employer outside Italy
  • Demonstrate sufficient financial means, 
  • Show proof of accommodation in Italy
  • Provide valid health insurance for the length of your stay
  • Have a clean criminal record. 

Although the Italian administration has not yet announced the required documents, applicants can expect to provide the typical documentation that digital nomad visas require. Italy also offers self-employment visas for freelancers and entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Italy or implement an investment plan. Tax breaks may be available for some digital nomads and self-employed individuals.

Spending in Rome

In Rome, the currency is the Euro and virtually everywhere accepts credit cards. ATMs at banks are also reliable, so you can withdraw cash when needed. However, note that exchanges here typically have very high fees, so it might be best to bring money in with you or use an ATM. This will help to save money and provide you with the best exchange rate.

Getting to Rome from the airport

Being the capital of Italy, Rome is a major hub, so it should be easy to find flights or trains to Rome.

Unfortunately, the airport is quite far from the city center. For those looking to get directly to the center, a taxi ride from the airport is a fixed fare of 50 euros and is usually written on the outside of the cab. It’s important to only take a cab from directly outside the terminal, as other taxis may be unlicensed. If you don’t want to take a cab, you could take the Leonardo Express bus for about 14 Euros; the bus takes about 30 minutes to get you to the center. As a final alternative, you could take the train from the airport to the central train station, Termini, which is right in the center. Whichever option you choose, keep in mind that you’ll still need to take a taxi from wherever the bus or train drops you off.

What a digital nomad should do… when in Rome

Now that you’ve arrived in Rome, you must do as the Romans do. Or else.

Just kidding, you’re a digital nomad with specific needs. Your first order of business should be to get some rest if you’re arriving at night. Otherwise, follow these steps for the big first day.

What to do the day you arrive in Rome

One of the first things you should do when you arrive in Rome is purchase a SIM card. TIM offers an affordable option with 70GB of data for just over 30 euros, with a 10 euro per month renewal fee. You can easily purchase a pass for public transportation like the bus or metro from a Tabaccheria or at the subway station; these passes are reasonably priced at 1.50 Euros for a 90-minute ride. Keep in mind, however, that the bus system isn’t the best and the metro can be crowded. Thankfully, your alternative is to walk the beautiful streets of Rome. 

You’ll see people all around the city hawking water bottles on street corners. However, purchasing from these individuals is unnecessary given the quality of Rome’s tap water. It comes from ancient Roman aqueducts and is the most delicious tap water you’ll ever taste in your life.

How to work remotely in Rome

Fortunately, most coworking spaces are located near the centre, and they are spaced out decently so that you have a few options to choose from, no matter where you live. Office 21 in Testaccio is one of the most popular ones. 

Alternatively, you may be able to work in a cafe, but this is typically not polite in Italy. If you do choose to work in a cafe, make sure to look for large tables or other people using laptops inside. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to a coworking space for your remote work needs.

Eating Your Heart Out

Good lord, I could probably write several articles on the food.

Dining in Rome is truly a pleasure. There are several delicious local specialties such as Bucatini all’amatriciana, Saltimbocca, pizza, Carbonara, and Cacio e pepe. Of course, there are plenty of other dishes to try. You might find more modern plates in one of Rome’s several Michelin-star restaurants.

Although dinner at a decent restaurant will cost you more than 15 euros, which is a reasonable price, you should find a way to get invited to someone’s home. Restaurants don’t even begin to compare to the quality that you get from a homecooked meal. 

As a general rule, it’s best to stay away from tourist restaurants and instead seek out the local restaurants that serve high-quality food at prices much lower than what you’ll find near the busy streets. Don’t be afraid to venture a few blocks away from the tourist areas. 

For example, if you go into the suburbs of Rome, you can find a taglio of pizza for just over 1 euro. Grocery stores are also plentiful and offer good quality produce, so it’s easy to eat in if you prefer.

Vibes

The Social Life In Rome

Rome is an incredibly vibrant city, and its social life is nothing short of amazing. Italians from big cities like Rome are quite friendly and open, making it easy to make friends and get involved in activities. With plenty of university students and tourists, there is never a shortage of interesting people to meet and hang out with. 

For nightlife, Testaccio and Trastevere are two of the best neighbourhoods in all of Italy. Here you can find a mix of locals and tourists enjoying the numerous bars and nightclubs. There is something for everyone, whether you are looking for a wild night out or just a place to grab a few drinks. From lively bars to intimate taverns, there is always somewhere for you.

If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, Rome has that too. Whether it’s taking in a show at one of the many theatres or enjoying an art exhibit, you can always find something intriguing.

The Street Life In Rome

Rome’s street life includes a mix of locals and tourists. During the day, you might find Romans enjoying a cup of coffee in cafes or going about their daily activities. However, during the summer months, most locals will try to avoid the city and instead head to the beaches to escape the throngs of sightseers. Despite this, the streets remain lively as tourists explore the city and take in all of its sights and sounds.

Activities in Rome

By now, it should be clear that there is no shortage of cultural events and activities to explore. There are a variety of musical acts and plays, operas, and other performances to take in. There are also hundreds of galleries, art exhibitions, museums, mansions, and ruins. I advise you to book tickets to these places in advance, as reservations tend to fill up quickly.

Churches are among the greatest sights in Rome. My personal favourite is Sant’Andrea Della Valle. These churches are mostly free, and they offer a stunning assembly of architecture, artwork, and sculptures. 

For a truly unique experience, you should consider taking a tour of the Vatican gardens for 50 euros. This will give you an inside look at what goes on between those walls.

If your daily routine includes physical activities, it can be hard to find sporting centres in the city due to its crowdedness. You may need to venture to the suburbs for more options. Gyms are also quite expensive in Rome. Moreover, if you don’t live near a park, running could be challenging due to the lack of open spaces. However, there are plenty of walking trails. For instance, the Aventino offers great views of the city.

My Lasting Impressions of Rome

You already know how I feel about Rome, so I’ll try to generalize my experience to help you out.

Why You Might Come Back:

  • I can confidently say that you won’t manage to see everything you want to do during your stay.
  • The food in Rome is a huge highlight, and every meal is a delight. From the simple pasta dishes to the pizza and seafood, you will never go hungry here.
  • Every moment here is replete with history and culture, making it a truly memorable experience.

Why You Might Never Return:

  • It is hard to overlook the sheer number of tourists that flock to the city. There are often long lines and crowds, making it difficult to enjoy the sights. 
  • The city can be expensive for digital nomads, especially when it comes to Airbnb rentals. However, for locals locked into longer rental contracts, it is surprisingly affordable.

The Final Word on being a Digital Nomad in Rome

Every trip I’ve taken to Rome has only made me more desperate to return. 

Of course, that’s a matter of taste. You might be put off by the mobs of tourists or the ridiculous prices for lodging, and that’s fine. But to me, living so close to Rome’s cultural monuments would make me accept practically any tradeoff. 

Rome is a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it type of place. If you have the budget and the will, then go nomad there! Few people outside Italy will ever get the chance to say they lived in Rome, even if it was only for a few months.

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