Coming to Rome as a student is insanely exciting.
The city! The language! The food! The… lease?
Unfortunately, Roman leases are not exactly short-term friendly. Jimmy and I currently have a 3+2 lease, meaning a three-year lease that automatically renews for two additional years if neither party objects. But the most common lease in Italy is a 4+4 … an EIGHT YEAR lease. Honestly, signing this was one of the most stressful things we have ever done as a couple.
When I first came to Italy for graduate school, and I was only planning to stay for a year, I had no idea how the rental market worked and definitely didn’t know how to find student accommodation in Rome.
In addition to the problem with the length of the lease, I also didn’t speak Italian and I couldn’t travel to see places in person.
Then, add to that that I had no idea how to pay bills in Italy (spoiler: it is terrible and requires long trips to the dreaded Italian post office). PLUS, I was going to have to set up new things like internet?? More contracts!
After all the visa hoop jumping, finding student accommodation in Rome was literally the most stressful thing about moving to Italy.
Here’s what you should know about finding student accommodation in Rome:
- Short leases are not the norm. You have to be able to find a landlord who is will to do a short term let. For example, all of the rooms on Uniplaces includes the details of the rental terms, including if the property will accept stays as short as two weeks! But you can obviously stay longer. On the website, each property has a calendar where you can see the availability of that room/apartment, according to the landlord, so you don’t waste time contacting people about rooms or apartments that don’t fit with your timing.
- Some apartments in Rome come completely unfurnished. Browse photos so you know what you are getting into. If you are coming to Italy to study, you probably don’t want to spend time (and money) tracking down furniture for a shorter-term stay. Try to limit your search to fully furnished rooms/apartments to make the settling in period a whole lot easier.
- If you are on a budget, look for a double room. Coming with a friend? Or willing to share a room with someone else to save on rent? It is pretty normal for some student accommodation in Rome to come with two double beds (almost dorm style). However, if you prefer your own room, that’s totally doable too. A shared room can start around €350, and the budget for a single room is closer to €550 on average. Of course, this depends on where the student housing is located because…
- Location matters. As with all things, housing location is going to impact the price of your student accommodation in Rome. When I moved to Rome, I took an apartment near the main university. Smart thinking! EXCEPT, my own university was on the other side of town… whoops. Uniplaces allows you select your own university from the dropdown menu so you can see how far away the accommodation is. In a city that is not exactly famous for its public transportation, you want to consider location fairly seriously to ensure that you can get to school and also easily access all of the interesting places that Rome as a city has to offer.
- Bills. Bills. Rent is not the only expense you have to look out for when looking for a room to rent in Rome. Italian bills are not cheap. Bills are also often simply estimated based on the previous occupant’s usage. So when I took over a flat that used to be lived in by three people, my first bill was triple what it should have been! It can take ages to sort out, so if you are coming to Rome for a short time, you will save yourself a lot of headaches by finding a price that is “all included” so that you don’t have to worry about paying bills separately.
- Living with a local can be the best way to learn Italian. I always tell people that the best way to learn Italian is either to date one or to live with one. Seeking out a room in a local apartment can be one of the best things about being a student in Rome. I lived alone when I came to Rome and this was great for studying for my Masters but it definitely didn’t help me learn Italian any faster. Plus, living with locals is like having a built in city guide and can really help with getting settled.
- You have to look out for scams. My one public service announcement would be: please do not use craigslist to find student accommodation in Rome. I use craigslist all the time in the US, but in Rome it seems to be full of scams. Uniplaces chooses the landlords it works with very carefully, so you have some peace of mind when trying to book housing from out of the country.
Rome is an incredible place to study abroad, you just need to sort out that pesky apartment first. I honestly wish that a service like Uniplaces had been available when I was looking for student accommodation in Rome because it makes the process so much more straightforward.
No eight year leases required.
Many thanks to Uniplaces for partnering on this post!