Breffni 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 cabin crew for British Airways and in Switzerland, where he worked working in travel and tourism
In September 2020, right as the pandemic was taking hold pretty much everywhere, I decided to up sticks from my home in Shankill, Co Dublin and fulfil a long-time ambition to spend some time in the Eternal City of Rome.
I went online, researched opportunities for English speakers in Rome and came across a small company based there. They were looking for telemarketers for short-term projects as well as for people who speak other languages. I flew over for only €5, with nothing concrete jobwise to go on, and stayed at an Airbnb owned by a relative of an Italian friend at the edge of city.
After doing a bit of networking on Facebook, I came across an ad from a guy saying his company were looking for native English speakers. To cut a long story short, he recommended me, I did an online interview and got hired.
I started training in December 2020, then started working on a cybersecurity project. From there I went on to a far more interesting project with a French fashion company in early 2021. I haven’t looked back.
Now living and commuting from the seaside town of Ostia, where I live, the daily commute to Rome’s EUR district is around 20 to 25 mins each way. The regular Dutch and German tourists are starting to return, which I’m sure the local economy will benefit from and will therefore please everyone.
I came here with good basic Italian, which is starting to improve with various interactions in local shops, hairdressers and with Italian colleagues. However I have noticed that the locals think it is cool to speak English, so they respond in English, not giving me a chance to build my Italian.
The winter months in Rome, especially November and early December, are shockingly wet with heavy rains, so an umbrella much be reachable at all time
Last summer during the various regional lockdowns, I was pretty much confined to the Lazio region where the temperature in August reached up to around 38 degrees. I spent my mornings downing bottles of water and drinking from fountains on the walk to and from the office to keep cool.
The winter months in Rome, especially November and early December, are shockingly wet with heavy rains, so an umbrella much be reachable at all times. At least the place gets a good wash and the numerous pine trees get a good drenching after the dry hot summer.
Apartment living here is the norm. A spacious one-bed in the suburbs costs in the region of €600 to €700, which is fairly affordable for any single person or couple on an average salary.
What really impresses me is how Italian landlords are completely relaxed and flexible when it comes to paying rent. You just tell them you will pay it on the day you get paid, which never seems to pose a problem, so there are no landlords banging on your door looking for money on the first day of the month.
Rome is well policed by three forces, who have a great presence in the city, particularly at the troubled spots, train stations and monuments, which would make you think twice about stepping out of line. Many tourists have been fined for either jumping into fountains or attempting to scale the walls of the pantheon in the early hours of the morning.
Adding to my portfolio career, I am also a freelance for a self-catering holiday business with accommodation in Tuscany and Umbria. At the moment I am looking to lure back Irish clients to these regions as we had literally no bookings from Ireland during the pandemic.
My parents were married here in Rome at St Isidore's Collegein December 1972, so they will be coming over here in December to mark their 50th milestone. I am looking forward to their visit.
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