Life in Rome - Rome School of Classical and Renaissance Studies

A cosmopolitan 21st-century city with a remarkable history, Rome attracts students from around the world. Living and studying in Rome, you stop seeing the city through the eyes of a tourist and begin to experience it as a citizen. Uncovering hidden gems and favourite places, you discover your own Rome.

Inspirational location

Your seminars and lectures take place at the American University of Rome (AUR), situated in the picturesque district of Monteverde and within walking distance of Rome’s historic centre. At AUR, you are part of a large community of students, welcome to attend talks and events and join student societies. As well as excellent facilities to support your studies, you also have full access to student support services.

Your main classroom, though, is Rome itself. The content of all our programmes is designed to take advantage of your location and growing familiarity with the city. Study trips, led by internationally respected academics, are an integral part of your programme. Walking in Rome, you travel through the centuries, learning more about well-known monuments and artworks and discovering the world-class resources of its libraries, museums and galleries.

We also take you on trips further afield, at no additional cost to you. In recent years, we have visited Ostia and Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, Perugia, Orvieto and Florence. Our students also organise trips of their own and can apply to the School for funding to help reduce costs. Our current cohort spent a weekend in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Students on top of Castel Saint Angelo
Students on top of Castel Sant'Angelo

A cosmopolitan city

Rome is a modern, vibrant city and the city’s locals are a welcoming people happy to share their culture and cuisine with visitors. To fully appreciate Rome you need to embrace its way of life. Make an effort to be a part of the culture; learn to speak Italian and take every opportunity to practise; drink coffee in one of the many cafés, watch Italians go about their daily lives and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this wonderful city.

The importance of fashion in Italian culture is well-known and there are lots of places where you can acquire some Italian style. From designer fashion to high street shops, independent boutiques to artisan jewellery stores, Rome has it all. If you are happy to move away from the centre of Rome, the Trastevere district has lots of unusual shops and some of the best Italian food in the city. There is even a traditional flea market every Sunday.

History and heritage

Living in Rome you are surrounded by its rich history at every turn. It is fascinating to learn how almost every street, wall or monument in Rome has some historical significance.

Rome has been continuously inhabited since the early days of civilisation and, as headquarters first of the Roman Empire and then of the Roman Catholic Church, it has had an immense impact on the world. The magnificent Colosseum stands as one of the finest examples of Roman architecture and engineering, while the Pantheon is considered one of the ancient builders’ greatest achievements.

If you want to explore further afield, you could visit Ostia Antica, the harbour city of ancient Rome, just an hour away by train, or if you are happy to travel for longer you can be in Florence or Pompeii in less than two hours.

Quote Julia Peters

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While gaining incredible insight into the city’s history, we were also able to enjoy the lifestyle and culture of Italy.

Julia Peters Roman History and Archaeology MA Read profile


Rome offers you the unique opportunity to become part of a city that is not only a modern European capital grounded in rich cultural traditions, but is also an incredible living museum with thousands of years of history to explore. In Rome you can see world-famous artistic masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s frescoes in the Vatican Museums and Villa Farnesina.

You can also explore contemporary art in galleries such as Maxxi, or attend one of Rome’s many cinemas to discover the work of contemporary filmmakers, following in the footsteps of the hugely influential artists of the 20th century.

Food and drink

Food is an integral part of the culture in Rome and you can find a good restaurant just about anywhere in the city – especially in Trastevere. Food is prepared to be savoured, not hurried through, so relax and enjoy one of the most celebrated cuisines in the world. The best way to discover an authentic Italian restaurant is to ask the people in your neighbourhood for advice. Italians love to talk about food and will be happy to recommend their favourite restaurants to you.

Group at La Prosciutteria in Trastevere
Itinerary group enjoying a platter at La Prosciutteria in Trastevere

Whether your ideal Italian meal includes pizza, pasta or rissotto, you should always try to leave room for dessert; you can't leave Rome without tasting its famous 'gelato'. There are lots of ice cream parlours to choose from offering everything from traditional flavours to more unusual combinations. Enjoy!

If you are looking for a change, you can find other national cuisines in Rome including Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese and Middle Eastern.

Relocating to Rome

Moving to another country is an exciting but potentially daunting experience. At the Rome School of Classical and Renaissance Studies, the majority of our students come from outside Italy, so we are very familiar with the preparations needed to relocate for postgraduate study. We can offer advice on key practical issues such as visas, accommodation and transport to make the process as smooth as possible. We continue to support you while you are in Rome, where you also have access to support from our partners at the American University of Rome.

As part of your preparation for the spring term in Rome, the University organises, and pays for, a short visit to Rome during the autumn term, where you visit our Rome centre to meet staff and take a tour of the facilities. You also visit a museum or exhibition and enjoy lunch or dinner with your fellow students and teaching staff. During this visit, you have plenty of free time to explore the city, use Rome’s public transport system and to view accommodation options you have set up previously.

All non-EU/EEA students need a visa to study in the UK and Italy. Students are sent a CAS number so that they can apply for a Tier 4 visa, for the length of their studies and then, while in Canterbury in the autumn term, they apply for a separate visa to enter Italy. We provide an enrolment letter and documentation for this. Once students arrive in Italy, they must register for a permit to stay, which the Student Life Office at AUR can help you with.


During your first term in Canterbury and, if you decide to return to Canterbury for the summer term, you can live in campus accommodation.

Although we do not provide campus accommodation in Rome, we can offer helpful advice and details of past contacts as you start to look for a place to live. Options include living with a host family, renting privately and recently, many of our students have found accommodation through Airbnb. We recommend you start looking early, that way you can view potential properties on the School trip to Rome.

When you begin your studies in the autumn term, you are given a handbook which includes information about finding accommodation in Rome, as well as details of local transport and other useful facts about living in Rome.


There are lots of things to do when you're not studying or working. Some of the city's highlights are shown here:

The garden of the AUR building

The garden of the American University of Rome campus

View from Janiculum hill

The view from Janiculum hill


Italy is famous for its gelato


The ceiling inside the Pantheon

Castel Sant' Angelo, Romee

View of the Mausoleum of Hadrian, more commonly known as Castel Sant'Angelo

The Forum

The Forum, facing the Colosseum

View from the ancient ruins

View from the ancient ruins in Rome

Ceilings showing frescoes in the Castel Sant'Angelo

Ceilings showing frescoes in the Castel Sant'Angelo

Manuscript in storefront leading on to Ponte Sant'Angelo

Manuscript in storefront leading on to Ponte Sant'Angelo

Banks of the Tiber showing Saint Peter's Basilica in the distance

Banks of the Tiber showing Saint Peter's Basilica in the distance

Students on restoration scaffolds at the Vatican

Students on restoration scaffolds at the Vatican

Students taking photographs in the Capitoline Museums

Students taking photographs in the Capitoline Museums