I left Dublin for Rome, where the apartments are affordable and the owners relaxed

Brieffni O’Sullivan is from outside Bansha, Co Tipperary. He works in Rome online in marketing for a French fashion company. He has previously lived in Britain, where he worked as a cabin crew for British Airways and in Switzerland, where he worked in travel and tourism.

In September 2020, as the pandemic took hold all over the place, I decided to leave my home in Shankill, Co Dublin and pursue a long held ambition of spending time in the Eternal City of Rome.

I went online, researched opportunities for English speakers in Rome, and came across a small business based there. They were looking for telemarketers for short term projects as well as people speaking other languages. I flew for just €5, with nothing concrete professionally, and stayed at an Airbnb owned by a relative of an Italian friend on the outskirts of town.

After doing a bit of networking on Facebook, I came across an ad from a guy saying his company was looking for native English speakers. Long story short, he recommended me, I interviewed online and got hired.

I started training in December 2020, then I started working on a cybersecurity project. From there I moved on to a much more interesting project with a French fashion company in early 2021. I haven’t looked back.

Now that I live and commute from the seaside town of Ostia, where I live, the daily commute to the EUR district of Rome is around 20-25 minutes each way. Regular Dutch and German tourists are starting to return, which I’m sure will benefit the local economy and therefore please everyone.

I came here with a good basic Italian, which is starting to improve with various interactions at local shops, hairdressers and with fellow Italians. However, I noticed that locals think it’s cool to speak English, so they respond in English, not giving me a chance to build up my Italian.

The winter months in Rome, especially November and early December, are terribly wet with heavy rain, so an umbrella should be accessible at all times

Last summer, during the various regional confinements, I was almost confined to the Lazio region where the temperature in August reached around 38 degrees. I spent my mornings drinking from bottled water and drinking from the fountains on the way to the office to refresh myself.

The winter months in Rome, particularly November and early December, are terribly wet with heavy rain, so an umbrella should be accessible at all times. At least the place is well washed and the many pines are well soaked after the hot and dry summer.

Apartment living here is the norm. A spacious T2 in the suburbs costs between €600 and €700, which is quite affordable for a single person or a couple on an average salary.

What really impresses me is how completely relaxed and flexible Italian landlords are when it comes to paying rent. You just tell them you will pay it the day you get paid which never seems to be a problem so there are no landlords knocking on your door looking for money on the first day of the month.

Rome is well guarded by three forces, which have a large presence in the city, especially in trouble spots, stations and monuments, which would make you think twice before stepping out of line. Many tourists have been fined for jumping into fountains or attempting to climb the walls of the pantheon in the wee hours of the morning.

In addition to my portfolio career, I am also self-employed for a holiday cottage company with accommodation in Tuscany and Umbria. At the moment I am looking to attract Irish customers to these areas as we literally had no bookings from Ireland during the pandemic.

My parents got married here in Rome at St Isidore’s Collegein December 1972, so they will come here in December to mark their 50th anniversary. I look forward to their visit.

If you live overseas and would like to share your experience with Irish Times Abroad, email [email protected] with some information about yourself and what you do

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