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Living in Rome for Digital Nomads: The MEGA Guide (2024)

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This guest post was written by Nausheen Farishta, a digital nomad living in Rome for two months (see full bio below).

Living abroad as a digital nomad is an exhilarating experience, but living and working from Rome takes it to the next level. 

Having visited four times already, I was excited to immerse myself in the local culture and explore one of Europe’s most iconic cities. 

During my two months in Rome, I discovered new secret places to eat, got lost among historic streets, and found some pretty awesome things to do — all while working remotely. 

If you’re curious about living as a digital nomad in Rome, here’s everything you need to know.

My Rome digital nomad experience

I had a really positive experience living in Rome as a digital nomad for a couple months. 

For one, city life in Rome offered me conveniences that I missed in places like coastal Costa Rica. 

I had easy access to grocery stores so I could cook meals at home. 

High-speed internet wasn’t hard to come by, either.

One thing I wasn’t expecting about digital nomading in Rome was the time zones.  

Working from Rome meant I had to adjust my work schedule in order to match Chicago’s working hours. 

So, instead of working from 9am to 5pm, I was working from 4pm to 12am! 

I was nervous about this at first, but ended up loving it.

It actually worked out well since it allowed me to use my days to explore the city and save any evening activities for weekends. 

I loved scratching my wanderlust itch before starting work each evening. 

But of course, this lifestyle of being on all day and night can be exhausting, so make sure you’re up for the challenge.

TL;DR Living in Rome pros and cons

Pros

✅ Incredible food.
✅ Being surrounded by history at every turn. 
✅ As a huge tourist destination, there is always plenty to do. 
✅ Great base for day trips or weekend trips to explore more of Italy.
✅ The option to work evenings and keep weekdays free for exploration.

Cons

❌ Small coffees, albeit delicious.
❌ Not being able to be social on weeknights because I was working.
❌ Can feel a bit chaotic and busy (although this didn’t bother me much).
❌ Bureaucracy. This didn’t affect me as a short-term nomad but can be a nightmare for anyone wanting to stay longer-term.

What type of nomads will like CITY: Rome is ideal for city lovers. If you thrive on the hustle and bustle of city life, if you can see through the noise to the historic architecture, and if you like having endless things to do and people to meet, then Rome is for you. 

What type of nomads should avoid CITY: If you prefer a quieter, slower pace then you might not love Rome as much as I did. 

Living in Rome for a month: How much does it cost?

First, let’s cover the “official” cost of living data from Numbeo. 

This data can be hit and miss depending on your lifestyle, so I’ll also share my own numbers. 

Prices are in Euros, and since exchange rates are constantly changing, it’s best to use Google to convert into your currency using today’s rates. 

Monthly Rome cost of living (Numbeo)

Rent for 1-bedroom apartment in city center:
Basic monthly utilities (heating, cooling, etc.):
Internet:
Meal at inexpensive restaurant:
Domestic beer (0.5 L):
Public transport ticket:
Gym membership:


1,055.47 €

202.89 €
27.67 €
16.00 €
5.00 €
1.50 €
51.47 €

How much my life in Rome costs

While I don’t have exact costs to share with you, I can give you an idea of what to expect if you were to live for a couple month in Rome the same way I did. 

Rent: This is where the bulk of my budget went while living in Rome. While long-term leases can be fairly reasonable compared to many US cities, it’s not so easy to find short-term lease opportunities. 

I ended up staying at two different Airbnbs over the course of my two months in Rome. In total, I spent $3,300 on “rent” during these two months. In exchange, I got space all to myself in desirable parts of the city where I could work comfortably. 

Internet/data: This was built into my Airbnb stays, so I did not pay separately for internet or data. But here are some of the best travel internet options for nomads.

Food: After rent, food was my next highest spending category while living in Rome. Though I can’t tell you how much I spent in total, but groceries were reasonably priced. 

Having access to kitchens in my Airbnbs meant I could prepare some food at home. I didn’t get too fancy here, but I would often make myself eggs or a sandwich with some fruit for lunch or dinner. I’d also keep my fridge stocked with high-protein yogurts. 

I bought between 1-3 cappuccinos daily, which probably came out to the price of buying one Starbucks coffee in the states! I ate out once every day or two. My average spend on eating out was about 10 euros per meal (not counting the occasional splurge when out with friends).

Transportation: My primary form of transportation in Rome was walking, which is not only free but also my favorite way to get around any new city. I only used taxis once or twice — when I first arrived into the city after a long flight and one night after being out late with a friend on the opposite side of town.

In general, a taxi around the center will run you roughly 6 to 8 euros.

Aside from that, I also made use of public buses a handful of times, which costed 1.50 euro per ride. My overall transportation costs within the city were pretty minimal. 

Health: I didn’t join a gym in Rome because Italy is notorious for expensive gym memberships. With my limited time, I preferred to make the city my personal fitness center as I walked A LOT. Plan to spend 40 to 60 euros for a gym outside the city center, or even more within the center. 

It’s also wise to get covered by a good nomad insurance policy, like this one that costs less than $2 a day. 

If you need more specialized coverage, here is a comparison of the top insurance plans for digital nomads

Entertainment: In Rome, I didn’t feel the need to spend much on entertainment beyond going out to eat. The entertainment for me in a city like Rome comes from people watching, aimlessly wandering the pretty streets, and popping into beautiful churches. The city is essentially an open-air history and art museum, as is!

For more practical tips on creating a budget specific to your needs, download this free digital nomad budget cheatsheet:

Best time to visit Rome

The answer to this might surprise you. My first ever visit to Rome was in July/August, and I would never willingly visit during that time of year again. 

It was HOT! 

While May/June are wonderful times of year to visit Rome, my most recent visit as a digital nomad spanned November and December. 

It was positively delightful. 

In fact, the November day that I arrived in Rome they were having a lovely 70-degree (F) day! 

The weather got cooler and rainier as we progressed into December, but overall visiting Rome at this time was a pleasant experience. 

Rome is a constantly busy city, but November and December did did feel a bit quieter than it tends to be in peak tourism summer seasons. 

Best places to live in Rome for digital nomads

I stayed in the heart of the city in the areas surrounding Piazza Navona. 

It was an easy walk to all of the main tourist sites I love, like the Trevi Fountain. 

As someone who had mostly visited Rome on a stricter budget, I loved finally being able to stay in this area. That said, there are plenty of great neighborhoods outside of the city center as well.

Monti is the neighborhood close to the colosseum and is a bit quieter than the city center. It also has some more affordable accommodations. 

Prati is a beautiful neighborhood near Vatican City, and any neighborhoods in this general area are also worth considering. From this side of town, you might need to take a train or bus to get directly to the center of the city. 

Luckily, Rome has a pretty decent public transportation system, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

How to find digital nomad accommodation in Rome

Every digital nomad has their own needs and preferences to take into account when choosing accommodations. 

For me, I valued private space for getting my work done and a central location. 

Airbnb was the best route for me. For someone who is more focused on sticking to a budget and having social accommodations, you might consider staying in a hostel. 

Rome also offers co-living options, for those looking for a sense of community. You can explore options on Coliving.com or Outsite.co if you’re interested in coliving. 

For more tips on find accommodation as a digital nomad, check out this video:

Best places to work remotely from Rome

While in Rome, I primarily worked from my Airbnb or from a particular cafe I discovered. 

However, if you’re looking for coworking spaces or additional cafes to explore, Rome has you covered. 

Best Rome co-working spaces

Office 21

Office 21 is located in Rome’s historic center, close to the iconic Piazza Navona. 

They offer Executive Seats that come with their own desk, or Premium Seats which are ideal for solo freelancers. 

They also have bookable meeting tables for 20 euros/hour. Premium seats start at 25 euros for an 8-hour day. You also have options to book by the day, week or month. 

Ala/34

Ala/34 is a beautiful workspace located in a quieter part of town. 

You can join the shared workstation for between 20-28 euros, and they have daily, monthly or annual membership options to choose from. 

Ala/34 also offers plenty of opportunities for socializing and community building in their snack and relaxation areas. Plus, you can send and receive packages and mail from here. 

SmartSquare

Located close to the Termini station in Rome, SmartSquare is an especially great option for social media creators in need of some studio space. 

In addition to having space and support to record videos, take photos or record audio, they also have standard workstations starting at 20 euros per day. 

Best Rome cafes for work

Barnum Cafe

Barnum Cafe was my personal favorite cafe to work from in Rome. 

It was super close to my accommodation — only a few minutes walk from Campo de’ Fiori. 

They have some communal tables in the back to work from and serve big, delicious lattes and great food. 

That said, hours are limited. I usually arrived early in the morning with plans to switch off by lunchtime because that’s when they need their tables for the lunch rush. 

Ex Circus

Ex Circus is said to have yummy breakfast bagels and is a place where you’ll find both locals and tourists. 

Ex Circus is a nice place to set up for a few hours with your laptop to get some work done. You can find seating ranging from traditional tables and chairs to cozy couches to lounge around in. 

Materia 

Materia is a Scandinavian-style cafe located in Rome’s San Giovanni neighborhood that offers a beautiful place to work from. 

Their menu offerings range from pastries and coffee to poke bowls and roast beef sandwiches, so you’ll find something for any appetite to fuel your productivity. 

Rome digital nomad community

I didn’t go out of my way to join the digital nomad community in Rome. In part, this was because I was working most evenings, which is when groups tend to want to meet. 

I also didn’t want to get swept up in a digital nomad bubble. Instead, I personally made new friends through Bumble BFF (the friendship arm of the dating app). 

My top recommendation for finding fellow digital nomads or expats to meet in Rome is to join relevant Facebook groups like Rome Digital Nomads and Expats Living in Rome

Rome nightlife

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the nightlife in Rome. 

My personal favorite was a visit to one of the world’s best cocktail bars: Drink Kong. 

It has a speakeasy atmosphere, inventive drinks, and delicious food. 

If you prefer wine over cocktails, visit the popular and well-rated wine bar Il Goccetto. And if you’re more in the mood for a nightclub, Sharivari is one of the most popular ones to check out. 

Best things to do in Rome

Rome is a city steeped in culture and history, offering an array of activities to keep you entertained. From exploring the ancient ruins that have been preserved for centuries, to sampling delicious Italian cuisine, to strolling through the charming cobblestone streets — Rome has so much to explore:

✔️ Tour the Vatican. No matter your religious affiliation, visiting the Vatican is a must when in Rome. Join one of these best Vatican tours to ensure a meaningful experience.

✔️ Take a cooking class. Out of all the things I’ve done in Rome spanning five separate visits, taking a cooking class was the best. Highly recommend!

✔️ Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Were you even in Rome if you didn’t toss a coin into one of the most beautiful fountains ever? 

✔️ Visit the Colosseum. Be sure to book a guided tour to fully appreciate the historical significance of this site. 

✔️ Wander along the cobblestone streets – Rome is a gorgeous city, and small enough that it’s easy to let yourself wander aimlessly without getting dangerously lost. 

✔️ Step into different churches. As you’re strolling the streets of Rome, you’ll come across many beautiful churches. You’re welcome to respectfully step in and out of them to admire the interiors.

✔️ Take a day trip to Naples. An easy day trip by train, head to Naples for a day of exploration and pizza-eating.

✔️ Take a weekend trip to Florence. If you’re up for a longer trip, spend 2-3 days in Florence, also accessible by train.

✔️ Eat! You have so many delicious food options when in Rome. Eat all the pasta, pizza, and gelato you can stomach.

✔️ Explore Trastevere. Across the river from Rome’s historic center, you’ll find the charming Trastevere neighborhood which is worth a stroll through.

✔️ Climb the Spanish Steps. Take in the views from the top, then saunter back down and off into the side streets where you’ll find some of Rome’s best shopping. 

How to get to Rome

The most common way to get to Rome is to fly into the Fiumicino airport. If you’re in another part of Italy or even Europe, you might also be able to arrive in Rome via train straight into the Termini station. 

For the best deals on tickets, use the strategies in this video:

Getting around Rome

As I said, my primary and preferred way to get around Rome is always walking. 

Unless you’re going outside of the city center, you’re unlikely to need the metro. Buses can be useful, however. 

It’s most convenient to purchase bus tickets from any local Tobacco shop you pass. When you get on any bus, be sure to find the machine that stamps your ticket to validate it. If you miss this step and get caught, you could be looking at a hefty fine. 

Taxis are easy to come across in Rome, and you’ll see stands at various points throughout the city. They’re not terribly expensive, but you should always ask for the price to your destination before getting in (a good tip no matter where you’re traveling). 

Uber is also available in Rome, but taxis tend to be more affordable. 

Other handy tips for Rome digital nomads

Essential words

Hello: Ciao
How are you?: Come stai?
Thank you: Grazie
Goodbye: Arrivederci 
Bathroom: Bagno
How much?: Quanto?
Yes:
No: No

Yummy foods

With all the good eats in Rome, here are three traditional foods to prioritize — maritozzo, cacio e pepe, and carbonara.

Staying safe

If you’re considering a longer stay in the city, it’s only natural to wonder, is Rome safe

The most common safety threat in Rome is pickpocketing. Be sure to stay alert of your surroundings and your possessions at all times to avoid falling victim to crimes of opportunity. 

You should also avoid common scams, found mostly in the area near the Colosseum. 

One common scam is someone might tie a bracelet to your wrist and then demand payment. 

My best tip for walking in this area, or really anywhere, is to walk with purpose and to say a firm “No, thank you” if a stranger approaches you. 

To minimize your odds of problems, you’ll also want to always follow the safety precautions in this video:

Helpful apps

One helpful app to download for your time in Rome is FreeNow, the local taxi app. Another is Omio, which makes booking trains for day or weekend trips a breeze.

Other Rome tips

In my experience, Italians are generally friendly people and Romans are used to tourists. 

One of the best ways to connect with locals is to make an attempt at the language when ordering at your nearby cafe, for example. 

Another is to search for language exchange opportunities (try Facebook groups), and yet another is to find local friends on Bumble BFF. 

Living in Rome as an expat

If you want to live in Rome as an expat for longer than 3 months, you should look into the Self Employment visa. It takes a couple months to process, but it’s a good substitute for an Italian digital nomad visa, which has not yet been formalized. 

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Going Cheap Flights Newsletter - Get flight deals from your airport up to 90% off sent straight to your inbox.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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