A Hassle-Free Guide to Find an Apartment in Rome

The single most difficult thing I had to do before moving to Italy was not the visa or the application to graduate school – it was finding an apartment in Rome.

Trying to understand the rental market and move into your dream home is difficult in any new city. However, that challenge can be made nearly impossible if you don’t know where to even look. Luckily, there are non-craigslist options that can help you find an apartment in Rome – with the help of Nestpick, an aggregator site for flat rentals, I have put together a guide to walk you through the flat hunting process in the eternal city.

Free services:

If you are a bit internet savvy, it is possible to find some good leads for Rome apartments online. Specific to the Eternal City is Portaportese (in Italian), which is a free site for selling goods and advertising homes. It is, however, a bit low tech and might require you to become well-versed in Italian rental slang ASAP.  Another option is Kijiji (also in Italian), which also sells just about everything because it is associated with eBay. Here you can usually find longer term apartment options that will come with a formal lease (often 5 or 8 years in total duration).

There are actually a ton of free sites: Nestpick is a great option because it aggregates offerings in English across multiple free sites for apartment searching. It saves the time because you can set filters to see the kinds of apartments (size, location, price) that you want to see across a range of websites, instead of searching through each one individually.  Another bonus is that sometimes a real physical person from the partner sites has visited and photographed the apartment – a great way to ensure that the flat is as described and avoid any scams. Nestpick also allows you to search both for individual rooms within apartments, or entire flats, all filtered based on the date you need them by.   

Paid services: Every neighborhood in Rome and the rest of Italy has a private real estate office that handles both sales and rentals.  In this case, a representative will accompany you to visit various listings that meet your requirements to help to narrow down the search. I have personally never used a paid apartment service due to the cost, which is usually equivalent to one month’s rent. Keep in mind that you may be asked for two months of rent as a deposit, plus be on the hook to pay the first month’s rent right away – making that four months of rent due at the same time. Some of the larger real estate companies in Rome include Technocasa and Immobiliare. However, these are usually only for entire unfurnished apartments, rather than roommate or furnished options.

There are also individual private brokers who cater to an expat market. On the plus side, you often don’t have to pay these brokers directly because they take their fees from the apartment owners. BUT, I can promise with a good amount of certainty that the rent on these apartments is significantly higher than average – meaning the cost is passed on in another way that could be more expensive over time. I personally tried this once and stayed for only 6 months because I realized that I could have a flat that was double the size for the same price by using free apartment search services.

In addition to actually searching for flats, there are several other things to keep in mind when trying to find an apartment in Rome:

Think short or long term: The number of kinds of rental agreements can be a bit overwhelming, so you should certainly consider if you want a short or long term lease.  Free services are usually better options for shorter term, which in Italy means less than five years! Using a service can also help to protect you should any misunderstandings arise because you will have a third party on your side. If you prefer longer term, I suggest having a trusted and experience Italian friend (or better yet an Italian lawyer) review the lease agreement before you sign it.

Consider the neighborhood: In Rome, neighborhoods can be like a tiny village in the middle of the big city. Walk around and see if your potential new quartiere has everything you need. Is there a supermarket nearby? A bus stop? Or is it easy to catch the metro? What about a butcher or a market? Or a café that you can imagine yourself working in?  

Ultimately, being comfortable at home means not only finding the apartment, but also finding it in the right location so be sure to explore the area outside your four walls as well.

Ask about the extras: There is plenty you can see when you visit an apartment during your hunt for a flat in Rome. However, there are other potential “extras” that you should ask about directly. Do you need an elevator? That can be hard to find in some older buildings. Or do you run hot and cold? Then you want to be sure your future apartment has autonomous heating rather than central heating. If you need parking, this is also the time to ask about if there is a space or permit included with the rent.

I hope that helps you get started on your hunt for a new flat!

Do you have any other suggestions about how to find an apartment in Rome?


11 thoughts on “A Hassle-Free Guide to Find an Apartment in Rome

  1. Rachel Yacapraro says:

    Great post! I used Immobiliare in 2015 to search for apartments near Piazza Navona, but I wasn’t that impressed with their services or response time. So I turned to local rental offices and had better luck scheduling tours. I have since put this project (finding an investment apartment in Rome) on pause, though something my husband and I want to tackle over the next couple of years. I will research the other options you referenced. Thank you for sharing. We’re planning a quick trip to Rome in January!

  2. Vanessa says:

    super helpful post thank you! If you sign a 5 year contract are you able to sublet usually? I like to travel a lot maybe a month or three at a time. I’m not talking about putting it on Airbnb but maybe renting it to a friend of a friend while I’m away.
    Also I am an American stuck within the confines of the Schengen Visa unfortunately. I would die to even get a 3 year Visa!! But I want to spend more time in Italy without the hassle of looking for a long term apartment every time I arrive.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Vanessa! Subletting probably depends most on your relationship with your landlord, but if you end up needing to leave, then there is always a break clause written into the lease. It is most typical to be asked to give 3 months notice.

      • Susan Dixon says:

        Hello Natalie, I am pursuing an elective residency visa and I’ll need a rental contact to apply for it.
        Can you say how long it might be between finding an apartment (using a service), having the contact in hand, and being able to move in? Thanks,

        • Natalie says:

          They are typically available within two months if they are being shown for renting but you can always negotiate the move in date

  3. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia says:

    Great advice! I can’t imagine how difficult it must be finding a place in Rome, I know when I moved to Cosenza it was quite difficult to find a place. There are slim pickings here. I moved into my current apartment a couple yeas ago and I hope I don’t ever have to leave it. It is by far my favorite of the three places I’ve lived in here in Cosenza.

    • Natalie says:

      We feel the same way! There are lots of options in Rome but it can be a challenge to find an apartment that meets your budget and your lifestyle. We are in no hurry to move!

  4. Susan Vaughn Grooters says:

    Agreed, that it was a huge challenge. Although our visas were a huge headache. Bringing our dog over also challenging. Great blog, Natalie. Thanks for maintaining it.
    Anyways, my husband and I are here in Rome, as he is at FAO on a university sabbatical. Thought I would share the two sites we used to find our apartment in Monti. https://www.sabbaticalhomes.com/ We love it and are very sad to be moving, soon. If anyone needs a place, it will be available starting in Feb. and I highly recommend our landlords, and the location. Pet friendly – this can sometimes be a challenge.
    There is also a listing on FAO’s site http://www.faostaffcoop.org under the “accommodation” for short or long term. Strong runner ups here, but I fell in love with Monti and feel I got lucky with finding our place.
    Would love to know what other expats are doing for Thanksgiving. Even a hint on where to buy a Turkey would be great!

  5. Jane and Robert says:

    Hi Natalie,
    Great article. You should mention http://www.cribmed.com
    They have a small portfolio of furnished monthly rentals. They have really selected only nice apartments and their customer service is excellent, helping us though the relocation process. Highly recommended

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