Rome Guide

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Q: What is the weather like in Rome ?

A: Spring and autumn in Rome are usually mild and pleasant. In winter it rarely snows but below freezing night-time temperatures (as low as the mid 20's) are not infrequent. There is a good deal of rain during the winter months and occasional rain during the summer. Temperatures in the 80's and even in the 90's are common from June through the middle of September.

Please visit the following web site to find more info about the weather in Rome: http://www.eurometeo.com/english/climate/city_LIRU/meteo_Roma-Urbe

 

Q: What is the Currency in Italy

A: Italy is one of the twelve members of the EU, and in January, 2002 the country converted to the Euro. Euro (€) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of € 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of € 2, 1 and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. These are Currency Converter to learn more about the value of the Euro against other currencies: http://money.cnn.com/data/currencies/ and http://www.xe.com/ . Currency exchange: Travellers cheques, cheques and foreign money can be changed at banks, railway stations and airports, and very often at major hotels (generally at a less convenient rate). Credit & debit cards: MasterCard, Diners Club and Visa are widely accepted, but many small establishments - shops and restaurants only accept cash. It is advisable to ask merchants if they accept credit cards before trying to purchase items.Travellers cheques: Travellers cheques are accepted almost everywhere. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

 

Q: Should I live in a gated community ? Is that safe enough or should I have a security system as well ?

A: Many foreigners, especially families with children who are not used to living in big cities, choose to live within  gated communities. But there are many more neighbourhoods in Rome Centrum that are densely populated with expatriates and they live just as safe. There is crime evewhere, but in Rome fortunately the crime rate is very low and a lot less than one would expect from a city this size.

What you have to worry about more is pickpockets on public transportations and car traffic for the children !

There are lots of good security systems available here so you need not be afraid to live in City Centrum neighbourhoods.

 

Q: Is it difficult to meet other expatriates in Rome ?

A: No! There are several Associations and Organizations offering networking and other social gatherings with other expatriates of all ages, married or single.There are both Local and International clubs, Country Clubs , sport groups, foreign language cinemas, theatres and bookshops, language & culture schools, coffee get together, dinners, fairs given by the International Schools, family activities, and activities such as wine tasting parties. There are also several Culture Academies that have large lending libraries and who organize various cultural events.

Rome also have a variety of Churches, Temples and Mosques that have services in many languages.

 

Q: Should I bring my furniture when moving to Italy ?

A: Good furniture in Italy can be just as expensive or more than many other Western Countries. 

It's a good idea to get  residency before shipping your possessions, especially if you have not yet determined that this will be a permanent move.  You have one year after you have established residency in which to bring your things into Italy before they are subject to duty by the Italian government.

 

Q: Will my appliances, DVD, VCR, TV, etc. work in Italy ?

A: In Italy we work on 220 v electricity and the U.S. for example is 110 v. Check the back of the device: some items do have a 110/220 switch. If this is the case then you will probably only need a plug converter ! North American power is 120V 60 cycles and the European is 220V 50 cycles. To run electrical items which do not have a 110/220 switch you will need a transformer that will change the voltage. You'll see something like 120V/60 this may work it may not 120V/50-60 this should work just fine with a step down transformer something like 110-240v 50-60 This should work just fine. The voltage can be dealt with easily with a transformer but the cycles can be a problem. In Italy  TV is on the PAL system while in the US they use the NTSC system. Make sure your TV is one that plays a multi system or buy an converter. If you buy new here get one that plays back multi system (PAL and NTSC). This way you can watch tapes either from Italy and USA. For DVD players you will need to get one that will play multi system and multi region. DVDs that are bought in Italy can still be watched in English or other languages as they all have the original language track.

 

Q: Are there clothes dryers in Italy ?

A:Yes there are dryers ! You can find 2 types, either vented or condensation.  For the vented ones you need to connect a pipe  to a hole in the wall, window or to the WC.  Those one that are working with condensation at the end of the cycle you need to empty the water from the condensation drawer. Dryers here  run on a regular electricity.

 

Q: Are there top loading washing machines in Italy ?

A: Yes there are. Make sure you get an energy friendly one that has many options.  Washing machines here are hooked up only to the cold water lines so it has to heat the water to the right temperature with electricity .  A load of whitewash can take a few  hours.  To reduce washing time you can connect the washing machines to a Y valve and hook one line to  hot and one to cold !

 

Q: What are all those numbers & letters on the washing machines dial?

A: Washing machine in Italy, just a base model, has 18 numbers, 6 symbols, a temperature dial from 30 to 100 degrees and 4 buttons !

Read the instruction book… Here are some good suggestions: open the water all the way, if it’s a new machine, run an empty load first to clean it, your machine will probably recommend a super long, hot load for your cottons. If you have anything delicate, beware!

If your dial starts at 30 degrees, but you want just a cold load, set the dial in the area before the numbers start. Use caution. Anything really cheap (t-shirts from the market), really bright (the year that turquoise was in) or really expensive (that adorable Max Mara shirt) should be hand washed with “Lip” (woolite). Experiment gradually until you find what works best. When loading a front-loader, make sure nothing gets caught in the door when you close it. I have been known to cause small floods in this way.

 

Q. Can you find garbage disposals in Italy ?

A: You can find great garbage disposals in Italy ! They are called "Trita rifiuti" in Italian. The problem may be to find a plumber that knows how to install it ! 

 

Q: Would be possible in Rome to get to UK TV: BBC1,2,3,4 - ITV1,2,3 - Channel 4 - Channel 5 and Sky?

A: All you need is a dish the size that suits your area (we recommend anything 60 cm or above to be sure of a good picture, especially in bad weather) and point it in the right direction, than a digibox decoder  plus viewing card and you will be able to get Sky Digital from the UK.
N.B. In this case remeber to keep your account open at a UK billing address !

Otherwise by signing up with Sky Italia (Italian Satellite providers).  You will then be able to watch a couple of English station (CNN, Fox, BBC Prime, and a few others) as well as having the option to watch in the original language on some channels. 

 

Q: Does Italy have the option to access the  internet without a land cable connection ? And will there be many places where I can access free internet using these items ?

A: You can connect with your cell phone, but you will be connecting via GPRS or UMTS speeds

You can do this either with a cable or via infrared. However, is not recommended for regular internet use. It could be a solution to connect the PDA via infrared while in vacation...

A better option is a mobile connect card which is a card that acts like a cell phone in your PCMCIA slot and it has it's own SIM.

If you have a a wi-fi card which are pretty cheap (about $20 now in the US)  maybe  you will find some hotspots but they are not very common yet and then when you find a wi-fi hotspot, you have to purchase airtime... this is basically a user and password for whoever is offering the service for that spot. For instance, Vodafone has hotspots at various airports. They're not free as far as we know. For vodafone, you have actually got to have a post-paid contract (not pre-paid) with them to use their wi-fi hotspots

Some places like libraries do offer free service but you still need a password to jump onto their network.

Anyway please check this link of hotspots in Italy:

http://www.wi-fihotspotlist.com/browse/intl/2000013/p1.html

Overall, it's very expensive to have internet on the go in Italy.

Perhaps in the future the Community of Rome will cover the all City with free hotspots. At the moment this is only a project which involve the public parks of: Villa Borghese, Torlonia, Ada, Doria Pamphili and Paganini. In the future they will extend the service also to: Fontana di Trevi, Campo dè Fiori, Campidoglio, Auditorium, Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere, Piazza di Pietra, Piazza e Galleria Colonna, Mercati Traianei, Aventino, CircoMassimo and EUR !

 

Q: How can I connect a laptop with a wireless internet card ?

A: In Italy it is the same as the mobile phone operators: Tim, Wind, Vodafone, H3g, etc, but it is not very popular here because it is more expensive: the card alone would cost about 200 euro for the PCMCIA card plus your monthly connection fees, then you have to pay to download a certain amount each month. If you go over that amount, you pay more. Vodafone's UMTS duadband card is selling for € 299. And that's just for the card. You've got to pay for airtime as well. Vodafone's current offer is 60 hours per month for € 30 (valid until January 2006). Wind's offer is the card plus € 40 per month which includes € 2000 worth of traffic for 2 months; H3g doesn't seem to have a package plan and just charges € 0.04 per kb, plus the card.

We suggest to go to their websites and see who had the best package to fit your needs. Also, make sure you have good coverage signal in your neighbourhood  or your mobile data connection will go slow.

 

Q: Is it problematic sending packages out of Italy with the national mail  service ?

A: Sending packages FROM Italy is never a problem. Just make sure it is registered and insured.

It's getting stuff INTO Italy may it be problematic. Make sure that it is always send registered and insured!

Mail from the USA (airmail) gets here anywhere from a week to 2 months after being posted.

 

Q: What if I get sick while I'm in Rome ? Is it safe to go to an Italian Public Hospital ? or should I choose a private one ?

A:  Rome have a host of  hospitals with good doctors. Most Italians frequent the free of charge public health system hospitals. Some hospitals are more attractive looking than others but the basic treatment is the same everywhere.

Most hospitals are specialised in different fields like orthopedic or infectious diseases etc.

There are also private hospitals. We can help you find the hospital and doctor that will meet your needs.

 

Q: If I chose to work or to retire in Rome, how much should I ask my  employer or will my Social Security benefits allow me to live comfortably ?

A: Of course this depends very much on your life style and your family composition. The average income for an  Italian family living in Rome where the both parents are working, is between  2,000 € to  3,000 € per month.

The biggest expense will be the rent . Other big expenses can occur if you want to send your children to  International Schools.

 

Q: My Italian company told me wich will be my gross salary: how can I know which will be my salary after taxes ?

A: This web page has a calculator that will allow you to do a calculation. http://www.kataweb.it/lavoro/

 

Q: What about the cost of living in Rome ?

A: For an average family of 4:

700 € per month should be enough for food and other toiletries.

90  € per month for unlimited broadband internet and telephone connection.

House rent depends on the area where you live (You can check the page “Rome by Areas” or www.roman-rentals.com for short term rentals)

You can find a nice big house in 2,500 euro range further out from the main centre of Rome. Near the city centre expect to pay around 1800 euro for a standard flat with three bedrooms. Electricity costs calculating  having two water heaters in bathrooms, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine and other electronic appliances, would be estaimated around 60 euro per month. .Gas costs would probably cost 15 euro per month. The cable TV connection  will cost you around 30 or 40 euro per month.

 

Q: Is it easy to find a job in Italy ?
A: Unfortunately it is not easy. Officially the Italian unemployment average rate is about 10%. It is easier to find something in Central and North Italy and much more difficult in the South.

EU Citizen are allowed to reside in Italy while looking for a job. 

NON-EU Citizen must have a job secured or proof of substantial independent means and all the proper working permits in order before coming to live and work  in Italy.

Since we constantly receive such requests and  are happy to help foreigners moving to Rome, we  wish you the best luck. You can visit the "Employment Agencies" web page in our site.

 
Q: I have an appoinment for a job interview. What advice can you give to me ?
A: Italians are very conscious of how they dress and work hard in order to present a good image. In general, people living in Italy dress in a formal manner and always carry business or calling cards to  use in an introduction. With this concept in mind, when making presentations in Italy, remember that your materials must look attractive: binders, overheads projections, brochures, and the like must all be stylish and inviting. Further you should know that non-verbal communication is extremely important in Italy. It is necessary to make eye contact and have a firm handshake. People who do not make eye contact are considered to be hiding something. In addition, Italians have little or no concept of personal space. Being in close proximity with someone is considered a sign of affection or camraderie.

 

Q: Would it be advisable to bring a car  from U.S.A. ?
A: Firt you should check the cost of shipping the car, then if the car model  is sold commercially in Italy. If it isn't, keep in mind that in case you should need to purchase spare parts, it  may be very expensive, hard to obtain and may take long time to arrive from abroad.

 

Q: Is it safe having my car in Rome ?
A: Firt you have to consider that the traffic in Rome it s a bit cahotic. Concerning parking some properties in the new built negborhoods will have a reserved indoor parking lot. In the centrum most of the time you can rent a lot in large indoor prvate parking. Prices are about 200 €/month. Most of the people lives their cars on the streets but the risk of skretchs is high and you will have to buy an alarm and always take your radio out. We reccommend never to live any bag or valuable good visible in it.

 

Q: How much does gas for cars in Italy cost?

A: Gas right now is like 1.40 euro liter and there are 3.8 liters in a gallon.

 

Q: What is a "Car sharing programme" ?

A: The “Car sharing project” is a flexible mobility service, allowing the common use of a fleet of cars by a customer club.

The main aim of the Roma Car Sharing is to offer an integrative service to Public Transport.

In particular, in Rome many people use the private car less than 10.000 km per year, in most of the case paying high costs for garage, insurance and maintenance.
Car sharing vehicles are allowed to circulate in the interdict zones and have a lot of benefits such as:

· Free parking in fare zones and in parking located in internodal nodes;
· Access for free in the Limited Traffic Zone of Rome (ZTL);
· Access and circulate in preferential lanes for the Public Transport, as the same rules of taxi service;
· Circulate during the “City car free days”

· Service reserved to subscribers only
· Operating 24 hours to 24
· The reservation is possible via internet or national call centre only to the phone number 848-787787
· The minimum time use is 1 hours and the maximum time is up to 4 days
· An information call centre 800-201670 has been activated by ATAC to provide information about the service, the parking lots and how  to subscribe to the service
· It is mandatory to leave the car at the end of the run in the same parking (in other words it is not possible to have one-way service).

 

Q: Is it available any sort of car sharing programme in Rome ?

A: Yes, please visit http://www.atac.roma.it/index.asp?p=4&i=385&o=3&a=2&ci=41&tpg=2&lingua=ENG or contact us for more information.

 

Q: I am planning to move to Rome for several years with my children. Is it advisable to sign them to Italian national schools ?

A: Many expatriate families living in Rome for longer periods of time have had  successful experiences with Italian schools. The Italian teachers are very understanding of the difficulties that a non Italian child could encounter in their classes. Usually the children learn passable Italian within 3 months. We do not advise to sign them to higher than the 7° grade unless their Italian skills are sufficient to follow the subjects.

 

Q: Is there a dog-friendly beach which is also easily accessible by car ?

A: Unfortunately not many ...! But at least we can suggest one: http://www.baubeach.it/

 

Q: Have I right of VAT refound by shopping in Italy being a non- EU resident ?

A: Yes please check the detailed site of the Tax Ministry: http://www.agenziadogane.it/italiano/dcagp/iva/iva-inglese.htm

Wi-Fi areas in Rome
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