Around the world,  Digital nomad,  Europe,  Italy,  Rome,  TDM

Digital Nomad: 2.5 months in Rome (Italy), ideal destination in spite of Covid

As you know, because of the Covid, instead of taking it easy in Asia, we had to return to France and stay there for 7 months before finally leaving on a mop, destination Italy. Why Italy? Because the destination was part of our initial itinerary: France – Germany – Austria – Italy and the more we learn about it, the more we want to be there.

Rome has always been on our wishlist but as it’s “too close” to France, we thought we would have all our time and finally we went around the world twice without setting foot there. It took us more than 30 years to go there, it’s crazy!

How to get there?

We simply took the plane. With the Covid, there is less and less choice and we had to pay Air France to go there (96€/person one hold luggage included) and landed at the Fiumicino airport.

At the airport, there are shuttle services like https://www.airportshuttleexpress.it/fr/, for a maximum of 20€ per person, and decreasing rates: 2 persons: 30 euros, 3 persons: 40 euros, 4 persons: 50 euros with many stops possible. We simply opted for a private company (fiumicino-shuttle.com), like a shuttle or a cab but with more affordable rates (the normal cab, with the flat rates would have cost 45€ for Fiumicino, and 31€ for Ciampino) and which drops us right in front of our Airbnb for 39€.

Since the end of September 2020, the French are obliged to present a negative Covid test carried out within 72 hours before their departure. Fortunately we arrived at the beginning of September because we wouldn’t even know where to do it.

Why Rome?

With the Covid, Rome, one of the most expensive cities in terms of accommodation, has become ultra accessible because there are no more tourists. With the restrictions imposed on French tourists, there are even fewer tourists. The result is an empty Sistine Chapel, empty St. Peter’s Square. Happiness! I think I like Rome a lot because there is nobody there, but I’m not sure I’ll like it as much when I go back there and I’ll have to queue for 3 hours to visit something.

Our Airbnb

We first found an Airbnb in the category Airbnb Plus (particularly beautiful and well rated accommodations), not far from the Coliseum at 30€/day. The owner, for family reasons, cancelled the reservation one month before our arrival. We were able to find very quickly another Airbnb, even closer to the city center, in the Trastevere district, at 45€/night with fiber optics. It must be in the 45m² 62m² giving on two inner courtyards.

So, when you book an Airbnb in Rome, even for more than a month, you have to pay tourist taxes (but directly to Airbnb), it’s 3,5€/day/person, but limited to 10 days maximum. So even if you stay 1,5 months in the same place, it’s limited to 70€ for two.

Link to our Airbnb. Get up to -50€ on your first trip with Airbnb by clicking here

We moved the furniture around a bit and it looks like a workspace for two. I even have space to continue making my paper flowers.

In any case, the people I met here (Dominique and Simona), and the apartment, very bright and quiet, inspired me a lot and allowed me to do very nice things, like these cherry blossoms, which I am very proud of. If you have any doubt, they are made of crepe paper, the paper comes from Italy as well.

We came back 3 weeks later and this time we stayed between the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. I wrote an article here

Where to stay in Rome?

To explain a little bit the districts of Rome, here is the map of the districts:

photo credit: Wikimedia

As you can see, we are in Trastavere :

  • Trastavere was once a sort of village where the Romans knew each other. But the neighborhood has been transformed and there are only tourists now. You just have to cross the bridge to get to the old quarter (Old Rome), that’s why it’s so popular with tourists. There are many restaurants but they are very expensive compared to the more Roman neighborhoods. We like them but I’m a bit frustrated by the prices displayed on the menus here
  • Old Rome is obviously my favorite district, it is where there are the most monuments to visit, I would say the equivalent of the 5th arrondissement in Paris. There is the Trevi Fountain, the most famous squares, the Pantheon etc.. You can walk there, it’s very pleasant and very beautiful. It is obviously more expensive, but we could find another Airbnb, smaller (in the 40m²) for 35€/night for November-December. I think this price is only possible in Covid time. There are a lot of tourist restaurants, of course, which are even more expensive than in Trastavere. JB paid for example a plate with 5 poor ravioli for 13€
  • Colosseo : very very pretty, I pass in front of it all the time on the bus and I love it!
  • Aventino – Testaccio: there are several streetcars that pass by here, I love streetcars in Rome, so for the trip to the more touristic areas, there will be no problem, but it’s quiet for me
  • Esquilino – San Giovanni: neighborhood near the Termini train station. It’s not really bad, it’s lively, I like it a lot, there are a lot of shopping streets, small affordable restaurants, a few tourists but not too many
  • Modern Center: many museums, close to Old Rome. Also very expensive
  • Nomentano : don’t know it, but Dominique, a reader of the blog who lived 30 years in Rome, told me about the Coppete district, very nice from an architectural viewpoint, a must see
  • Vatican : on the map, they include the Vatican and the Pradi district. Pradi, for services, for shopping, for going out is the TOP of the top. Moreover, it’s only 20 minutes by bus from the city center. When you hang out behind the Vatican, there are daily markets, canteens at 9€, it’s much more affordable. I can see myself living there for a long time, the neighborhood life is more authentic than what I see in Trastavere
  • North Center: near the Villa Borghese, the US embassy… clearly it’s a nice area, a bit too quiet, but if you’re not too far from the park, you’ll really enjoy it. It’s a neighborhood that I like a lot, but I’m not sure I can afford an Airbnb..
  • Municipio XV: I went there with Dominique, she took me to visit the neighborhood not far from the Olympics, on the other side of the Milvius Bridge. And frankly, it looks like a small village in France, it’s picturesque, the restaurants are authentic, cheap, you see the old people hanging out at the café from morning to night, playing cards, it’s nice. We are 40mn by bus from the city center though, but if you don’t have a lot of money and stay a long time in Rome, I think it’s totally worth it.

Transport

Simple, 1.5€ for a 100-minute trip. Tickets can be bought via an application (more info here) or at newsagents.
The Uber are only used by tourists, the Romans prefer cabs (more expensive). The Uber are all huge black 7-seater vans. Uber fares are equivalent to those in Paris.

Budget

ExpensesAmountNote
Housing1350€ per monthall included
(electricity, water, fiber optics, tourist taxes)
Restaurant20€/person/meal on averageby taking only one starter + one main course + still water
Races3€ to 5€/person/mealwe simply cook, just
mozzarella cheese or we
buy 2€ of bread and 5€ of prosciutto

Ice2€ to 4,5€, depending on the size and the brand nameI specify because the ice creams are so good that it
represents a budget apart from lol
Visits13€ to 17€/person for the most famous monuments=
70€ to 100€/person to visit everything
Transport1.5€ for 100 minutes of travel

So by being 2, we go to the restaurant at noon, we cook in the evening = 47,5€/person/day excluding visits

What to visit?

You can thank my little sister (YouTube account here) for her plan & the day by day visits (1, 2, 3, 4) as well as the visits to be done in Florence and Venice.
You can click here to access the map

You can also consult our travel diaries in Rome:

  1. Rome (Italy) #1: Our first days & our Airbnb
  2. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel without tourists – Rome (Italy) #2
  3. St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica without Tourists – Rome (Italy) #3
  4. Gallery and Villa Borghese & Sushi at will – Rome (Italy) #4
  5. Short Walk in Rome (Italy) #5 : from Prati to Trastevere
  6. Castel Sant’Angelo: Rome #6
  7. The Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum: Rome #7
  8. Our 2nd Airbnb in Rome #8
  9. Visit to the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica #9
  10. Viewpoints in Rome & Surprise behind Gate #10
  11. Rome off the beaten track #11
  12. The 4 Major Basilicas in Rome #12
  13. Best face & body care in Rome
  14. I went to see a dentist in Rome
  15. I went to see a chiropractor in Rome

Why did we decide to stay longer?

We had just spent a month criss-crossing France so when we arrived in Rome, we were exhausted and didn’t visit much. JB had several audits to do, I work less than him but have health problems so I spent more time getting treatment than visiting.

After a month, we got stressed out and thought “oops, we only made 3 big visits”, so we decided to extend our stay in Rome. Having already booked 3 weeks in Venice and Florence, we go there first, before returning to Rome in early November and continue to visit Rome quietly until mid-December.

What’s more, seeing how France has climbed into the world’s Top 3 of countries with the most new Covid cases, you don’t want to come back to France to catch a plane to other destinations. So wherever we go, we will leave from Italy, that’s for sure.

In total => 2.5 months in Rome, 10 days in Florence and 2 weeks in Venice

Shopping

Having robbed Vinted in France, I no longer need to buy clothes in Italy (what a pity lol).

The sales are a little bit different than in France so if you come here in September, everything will be sold out. The Italian cosmetics and clothes remain of course superb. Genuine leather bags and shoes are very affordable. If you liked Intimissimi, you will love Yamamay. If you liked MaxMara, look at Max&Co, it’s part of the same company but very modern and affordable. People really like to go to OVS for clothes, I don’t know why, because it’s ugly as hell.

There are a lot of Italian shops that are accessible abroad, but I love window shopping in the Pradi district: Via Cola del Rienzo, or in the city center: Via del Corso and Via del Babuino. Dominique walked with me several times and showed me a lot of shopping places (thank you very much <3), there are a lot of outlet stores and independent stores displaying -70%, you have to open your eyes.

I really like department stores like COIN or RINASCENTE (in the basement you can see a Roman aqueduct). The Galleria Alberto Sordi has suffered a lot from Covid and is no longer so incredible. Beware, department stores do not only sell Italian brands.

For cosmetics, we have the traditional Sephora, but also Douglas. Kiko, from Milano is omnipresent. As for facials, I go to the excellent Simona Primavera for Kobido massages

For online purchases, I found a way to receive packages in Italy without having a postal address, here

For excursions or guided tours in Rome, check out the activities offered by Civitatis or Viator (a Tripadvisor company)

You will find the addresses & places mentioned in this article on the personalized Google Maps I made with my sister for Italy here. To read more articles about Italy, click here

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