By Cristian Angeloni
Italy’s sunny capital boasts not only an average annual temperature of 20C but world-class food and culture, too. And that is not to mention a well-established expat community.
Food and drink
Besides Michelin-starred restaurants such as Aroma (one star), in front of the Coliseum, and La Pergola, the city’s only three-star establishment, Rome provides more unusual dining experiences. At La Parolaccia, customers come to ‘enjoy’ not only the brusque behaviour of the waiters but comedic dances and songs in the local dialect.
Whether mid-morning or after lunch, cafés such as Sant’ Eustachio, in front of the capital’s Senate, Palazzo Madama, or Tazza D’Oro, next door to the Pantheon, are musts for good coffee among locals — don’t let the fact that they are near tourist sites deter you.
Rome might ooze culture and history from every corner and alleyway, but it is hard to beat the Teatro dell’Opera, home to high-class opera and ballet. During the summer, the Teatro also provides outdoor performances at the Terme di Caracalla, the public baths in ancient Rome, next to Circo Massimo.
English-speaking expats won’t be too homesick either, since the Globe Theatre at Rome’s Villa Borghese, where the Bard’s plays are performed both in Italian and English, is similar to Shakespeare’s Globe in London.
Italy has several initiatives to encourage start-ups and entrepreneurs to invest in the city. One of the best-known is a scheme through which people can apply for an interest-free loan of up to €1.5m to cover up to 70 per cent of their business’s running costs; this rises to 80 per cent if the start-up is made up exclusively of women or under-35s. Foreigners can apply, but non-EU citizens need a start-up visa to qualify.
Separately, Italy passed a law in 2016 introducing incentives for foreigners launching a start-up in the country, including free online incorporation. The region of Lazio, in which Rome is located, partially or fully funds start-ups’ fiscal expenses for the first 24 months.
Rome’s economy suffered during the 2008 economic crisis and its housing market is still recovering. A 2017 report by estate agents Savills found prime property prices per square metre in the city, at €9,000, are nearly half those in London (€17,600). By comparison, before the crisis, a flat in central Rome was worth €5,390 per square metre on average in 2007, against approximately €5,600 in London the same year.
Real estate company Tecnocasa found house prices fell by 35.3 per cent in Rome between 2007 and 2016. In the past couple of years, however, prices have been rising slowly but steadily. Property analysts predict further slow but steady growth, especially after a 3 per cent year-on-year rise in sales in the first quarter of 2018.
There is a large English-speaking community in Italy’s capital. Among the groups that meet regularly are InterNations and the Association of British Ex-Pats in Italy. There are also numerous English-speaking educational establishments, providing programmes from pre-school to graduate, such as the Britannia International School of Rome and The American University of Rome.
Photographs: Dreamstime; Alamy; Getty Images; Getty Images/iStockphoto; courtesy of The American University of Rome