Erasmus Guide in Rome
Here is a guide for Erasmus students to survive during your crazy Erasmus experience in Rome. It may be also useful for anybody else who is going to live in the Eternal City.
As you should remember Rome is beautiful, magic and also unpredictable!
First of all check the Official Sapienza university page for Erasmus students. It has got a lot of useful informations about everything you need and especially about the BUREAUCRACY part that obviously is the most annoying in the beginning of your experience in Rome!
That page features:
Then come OUR suggestions, tips and tricks that are influenced by our long experience in many years helping Erasmus! ;)
Here you go!
Usually the first concern should be to find a good room in Rome as soon as possible.
If you are still in your country it would always be pretty difficult to find a room from there since you can't see the house you are supposed to stay in for a year and you might have some bad surprise when you see it.
Remember that is always easy to find many good available rooms in july (or august) than in september (or October) when there's a crazy, menthal "war" with thousand of people desperately looking for a room.
Be aware! There are people who rent a room triyng to trick foreign students by raising the rent higher. Try to make sure that the house/room is worth of the price you are going to pay in comparison with the other ads you found.
Also, beware of possible SCAM. It is a relatively phenomenon which is spreading more and more in all Europe, specially in big cities, there's people putting FAKE ADS ON INTERNET to steal you money. Usually these ads have beautiful photos of the house and possibly of the owner; everything is designed to trick people. They usually ask you to send them money for the rent of the room through Western Union or similar services before you have seen the house. If you think you recognized a case of Scam please report it here --> http://www.scamshield.com/ReportScam.asp - And don't give any money before seeing the house.
When you are looking for a room make sure there's at least a Night Bus line in the area you're gonna live. You would really need them when, incidentally, you are coming back after a crazy Roman party night!
If need a place to stay while you are looking for a flat you could check some hostels.
There are many cheap hostels around the Termini station area (even if their quality often is not good, but be optimistic! it won't be for a long time).
Here is a list of recommended hostels in Rome:
You can find many other hostels in Rome on http://www.hostelworld.com
As said before, when you are looking for a room, it's strongly suggested to come in Rome as soon as you can, possibly in the summer (June, July or August) when all the students use to leave their old rooms to find a new one in September.
To find a room in September is not impossible but for sure it's going to be much more stressful and chaotic, since thousands of students are in a desperate search for ANY kind of accomodation.
First thing you should try is to check our PROGETTO CASA page on this website that is our work (as volunteers!) to help Erasmus students to find an house in Rome. Remember that since is just available for Erasmus students, if you want to see it you need to be registered in our association (that means to come in our office at Sapienza university) and then we will unblock your account on our website. We have many announcements of people who wants to rent a room just to Erasmus students (most of the times because they don't want to rent a room for more than an year).
Then check these ads websites:
For long term room swap check these websites:
Then another good way would be to go every day at the Sapienza university campus and check constantly the people who put ads to rent a house up on the boards, usually they are students like you who are looking for a housemate, so talk with them and make an appointment to see the house.
In the meanwhile check every Tuesday and Friday the most famous ads newspaper called "PORTAPORTESE" where you can find hundreds of ads.
Be sure to buy it early in the morning cause that's what all the students do to be the first people to "catch" the house, if you're late it's likely that when you'll call the ads' contacts they will tell you the room is already taken.
You don't know well Italian yet and you are not sure of what to write on your house request the following "standard house request ad" could help you:
Il mio numero di telefono è [YOUR PHONE NUMBER] e la mia email è [YOUR EMAIL].
The translation goes like:
Thanks for you attention,
German People look also here: Tipps für ERASMUS-Studenten
Here is a table that shows with prices and rates (in decimals) the different characteristics of the various zones of Rome closest to Sapienza University. Remember that you probably would enjoy more to live in an average student area than just a pretty one cause being near the city centre and well connected will be very important for your staying in Rome! About the well connected part check the transport section for the public service maps.
Here is a brief description of all the best popular student areas in Rome, more or less in order of preference:
OTHER AREAS THAT ARE A BIT FAR AWAY BUT POSSIBLY CHEAPER ARE: Centocelle, the rest of Tiburtina, the rest of Prenestina, Casilina, Furio Camillo, Monti Tiburtini, San Paolo, etc.
USUALLY NO STUDENT (OR VERY FEW OF THEM) GOES TO LIVE IN: Eur, Acilia, Boccea, Magliana, Tor Pignattara, Corviale, Montesacro, Piazza Sempione, San Basilio, Portuense, Trionfale, Tor di Quinto, Aurelio, Ardeatino, Alessandrino, etc.
First of all we hightly recomend you to BUY THE "GUIDA DELLO STUDENTE"! It's a book published each year with all the main infos about all the courses of the Sapienza university. Together with the Guida dello Studente you'll receive the GAS (Guida Agenda degli Studenti) that is another book with all the expiry dates, suggestions, procedures, etc. Understanding when and where will be your courses of your university in Rome could be the most difficult (and fun) experience of your life! You find this book at the "Economato"; the "Economato" is an office inside the campus of Sapienza (close to Viale Regina Elena entrance), open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 till 12 am, and on Tuesday and Thursday from 12 till 2 pm.
The Erasmus Office in your faculty (called R. A. E. F. that stands for Responsabile Amministrativo Erasmus di Facolta' that is Erasmus Administrator Responsabile of the Faculty) is where you'll find the people who will subscribe the Erasmus students to their relative Sapienza faculty and that will give you a TUTOR that is the persone who'll help you whenever you have a problem about administration and burocracy in your faculty, like exams, courses, credits, etc.
Here is a list of all the R. A. E. F for each faculty of Sapienza university with their addresses, emails phone numbers and names of all the responsibles: http://www.uniroma1.it/internazionale/studiare-e-lavorare-allestero/erasmus/gestione-accordi-e-mobilitc3a0/erasmus
The "Codice Fiscale" is an alphanumeric code of 16 characters. It isjust like the Social Security Number in USA, the National Insurance number in UK, the INSEE code in France, etc. Its primary purpose is to identify in a unanmbiguos way for fiscal purposes all the people who are residents in Italy.
For an Erasmus student the Codice Fiscale is necessary to get the "tessera della mensa" that is the card for the Sapienza university canteens and to open any bank account. In order to do get a Codice Fiscale you need to go to the main "Agenzia delle Entrate" office that is in the Trastevere area. This office is for all the people who are still not resident in Rome.
Here all the infos for the Agenzia delle Entrate in Trastevere:
HERE you'll find a map to reach it. You can get there with the tram No. 3, the closest stop to the Sapienza university is from Piazzale del Verano (the big square in fron of the Verano cemetery).
After you got a Codice Fiscale (see above), next step will be to get a Tessera della Mensa, that will allow you to go to eat for lunch or dinner in all the Sapienza university canteens. You will get it going inside the De Lollis canteen (that is the main one) in via De Lollis 20 where you need to bring:
Lunch or dinner is normally made up with:
Cost for the erasmus students is 2 euros for all of the meal, all included and the quality usually is quite good.
There are in total 5 canteens. The main 2 canteens are close to the Sapienza university and are the most popular between students.
They are the De Lollis (it's where you made your Tessera della Mensa) and the Castro Laurenziano (also known as Mensa di Economia that is the refectory of the Faculty of Economics because it's just beside it). Usually in De Lollis the food is quite good, the atmosphere is quiet but you easily find a long cue, in Mensa di Economia the food is not better than De Lollis but there's more choice of food and the atmosphere is more funnier and loudier.
The other 3 canteens are in other zones of Rome and you probably won't ever go there: the De Dominicis (it's in front of the Casal Albertone student residence), the Via delle Sette Sale (it's where there's the 2nd Faculty of Engineering) and the Via Ministero degli Affari (it's far away where there's the Olimpico stadium and it's mainly for the students of IUSM).
One of the first thing you need to do is also buy an Italian sim card for your phone so that you are going to save money for your calls sent and received in Italy. You can get phone sim cards from the retailing shops of the various companies.
There are 4 real operators and plans we are suggesting (and a bunch of virtual operators we won't suggest). Reporting only the cheap data/voice prepaid plans from the cheapest:
There are a lot of ways to move in Rome (buses, metro, trams) but be aware that you should never be too confident on the public transport! :)
The transport society of Rome is ATAC (www.atac.roma.it). Their website can be very useful since you can find all they ways to get from your place to any other place in Rome using public transport using their route planner. Also you can always get the latest on there about any news about transports (for example when they get more potent for a particular event or when a line change its route or when they all are stopped for strikes or protests). It is www.atac.roma.it, get used with it as soon as possible.
Sometimes get a bit complicated to reach a place cause there are just 2 lines of metro (since anytime they try to dig the ground of Rome to built some new lines they find some annoying archeological stuff!) and buses are always unpredictable. Anyway it's useful to get an Abbonamento Mensile or Abbonamento Annuale (Monthly/yearly Ticket). You find it in any Giornalaio (Newspaper shop) or Tabaccaio (Tobacco shop).
Remember that the Monthly Ticket (Abbonamento mensile) costs just 35 euros, while the one year ticket (Abbonamento annuale) costs 250 euros.
Last but not least you can find it's useful to check the bus/metro/train lines before choosing your house location, there are several maps of the city with public transport here: http://www.atac.roma.it/index.asp?p=18
We suggest you to find also an alternative transport in Rome that could be a scooter or even better a bycicle! If you check in the announcement newspaper "Portaportese" you'll find hundreds of announcements of people selling all kinds of bikes (prices for an average one are from 50 to 120 euros). Also there's a second-hand bike shop near Portaportese market. Or maybe you could go to any Decathlon shop where you can find new, shiny and cheap bikes (prices for an average one are from 70 to 150 euros). You can check before all the models and prices of their bikes on the Decathlon website.
At the beginning you might be a bit scared driving a bike among the mad traffic and driving but after a while you'll realize that it will not be just very useful but also fun :) Just remember to be always very aware when you drive a bike in Rome and also we do not reccomend you to drive in the night cause could be dangerous.
If you don't have a computer there are many place at University where you can find some workstastions to surf on internet for free. Usually each faculty has got a Internet Point inside a library and you can access them subscribing to the library demonstrating you belong to that faculty. The university has deployed free wifi internet for all the students in several areas please check with your RAEF for getting your access credentials, the internet is good but it's firewalled, some services won't work.
If instead you have a computer you can surf on internet for free using the WI-FI of Sapienza spread all over university just putting for username the email you gave to Sapienza, for password the Student Login Code you received to fill up your on-line Application Form. For more info check http://www.uniroma1.it/ateneo/amministrazione/uffici-amministrativi/centro-infosapienza/ufficio-le-telecomunicazioni-3
There is also a Free service around the city that's called "Provincia WiFi". It has a limit of 300mb per day that actually can be is more than sufficient to to all you needs including videochat and casual youtube. To subscribe to the service you will need an italian mobile phone number.
To get by plane from your country to Rome first of all try to check this italian search engine of low-cost flights called www.zingarate.com , it's made by tourists as well so it has got not any business purpose Usually of course Ryanair has the most interesting fares and destinations, but sometimes you can manage to find a good alternative. Getting to visit europe from roma has become a favourite hobby for the erasmus students!
Once you get by plane to Rome, there are two main airports where you can arrive:
If you're a lucky erasmus there could be also special promo events with free tickets from Ryanair coming in 2011-2012
Here is a short list of good restaurants in Rome:
And here is a short list of nice pubs around Rome to have a beer with friends or an "Aperitivo" (in Rome you will get used to this word very soon!)
Cuccagna (Cocktail Pub - Piazza Navona, one of our favourite venues), Bulldog Inn (English Pub, Big screens for sport events all week long), The Fiddler's Elbow (Irish Pub with a friendly international environment, Santa Maria Maggiore), Finnegan's (Irish pub in Monti, shows all main sport events, also english football), Druid's Rock ((Irish pub in Piazza Venezia, shows all main sport events, also english football)), Scholar's Lounge (Irish pub in Piazza Venezia, shows all main sport events, also english football), Abbey Road (Irish pub in Piazza Navona, shows all main sport events, also english football), Tira Bouchon (cocktail pub in San Lorenzo, shows all main sport events, also spanish football), Hera Hora (shot bar in San Lorenzo), Zeus (Piazza Bologna), San Callisto (Trastevere), Drunken Ship (Campo De' Fiori), Freni e Frizioni (one of the most popular 'aperitivo' in town, in Trastevere), Friends (Trastevere), Ma Che Cce Siete Venuti a Fa' (one of the best 'beer pub' in town with selection of home-made beers from all Europe, in Trastevere), etc.
If you want to go to a beach near Rome there are different options, depending on how far you want to go and how much nice you want the beach. In fact the most popular beach near Rome is known to be Ostia, though it is the worst because there's too many people and the water often is dirty. So if you are just looking to spend a day taking sun could Ostia be useful cause is the closest to the city (more or less 40 minutes), but if you are looking for some nicer place you just may go a bit farther.
Most of the seasides are taken up with beach establishments, where you pay to use the facilities and enjoy a shaded sunbed. But there are also generous stretches of 'spiaggia libera', free beach, where you can bring your own towels and equipment and bathe for free. And there is plenty of space to promenade along the water's edge without paying anything: it's fine to wander along the entire length.
Here is recommend list of popular beaches:
If you are looking for a part-time job in Rome there are different ways depending of what you'd ike to do. To find some ads check Portaportese newspaper and some websites like www.kiijiji.it, www.wantedinrome.com (in english) or www.bakeca.it.
If you wanna work as a waiter the best would be to go to all the pubs and restaurants and ask if they need help saying that you already have experience as a waiter. In any case the best areas would be San Lorenzo, Piazza Navona, Campo De' Fiori, Trastevere, Pantheon, etc. because full of tourist who leave good tips ;) Remember that it will be easier for you in the more touristic areas as usually they are looking for English-speaker people and most of the times they don't mind if you don't speak italian.
If you wanna work as a baby sitter or giving lessons of your own language, etc. the best would be to buy the most popular Roman ads newspaper "Portaportese" and look for any ads you'd like.
Tedesco - German
Francese - French
Olandese - Dutch