Another middle-of-the-road option is Testaccio, just south and across the river from Trastevere. The general area is also known as Ostiense. This is the old butchers’ district, which today holds meat markets of a different kind: discos and singles bars. There are also some excellent restaurants in the area, serving true Roman specialties. Plan on about ‚17 per square meter.
Farther south down Via Ostiense, you’ll reach EUR, Mussolini’s ambitious, sprawling exposition center. The architecture is Fascist, naturally, and the apartments surrounding it house mostly middleclass couples and families. For the same ‚1,500 that you could spend for a one-bedroom apartment downtown, you could find a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment, maybe even with a garage, in EUR. The price is right, but the commute can be tedious.
Closer to the center are a few other affordable areas. Two behind the Termini train station are worth noting: San Lorenzo, the stronghold of Rome’s student population, at about ‚15 per square meter; and Piazza Vittorio, once an immigrants’ neighborhood that is quickly becoming gentrified. Depending on the size and frills, apartments in this part of the Esquilino cost around ‚17 per square meter. Indeed, many neighborhoods just outside the historic center started off as low-income housing and are now some of the most preferred properties in the city. In the southern neighborhoods of San Saba and Garbatella, there are single-family houses with unusual architecture so appealing to families that they are very rarely up for grabs. There are some rentals on par in price with Trastevere.