Resources for English-speaking Expat Families in Rome and Milan

Okay, so your embassy or firm has just seconded you for a couple of years in Italy. Maybe you are coming here with your partner and kids. The first few days or weeks have passed, you recovered from jet lag, visited your new office and met lots of new colleagues, maybe also found, via your employer, a good accommodation and did some sightseeing.

But what to do when you feel lost? There must be times when you feel like reconnecting with fellow expats or when you are really in need of advice from them. Where do you go? What do you look for?

Here you find a small list of resources for the English–speaking expat with family (especially small children) around the cities of Rome and, partially, of Milan.

The Milk Bar. This little shop is not only a shop: beside stocking products for pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood, it sells used baby clothes and hosts monthly meetings of La Leche League in English and Italian, as well as other informational sessions such as “Where to Give Birth in Rome”. Over the years it has become the cool meeting place for new moms of any nationality in the heart of the picturesque Monti neighborhood, where you can drop in for breastfeeding or baby changing. The idea for The Milk Bar came from the experiences of Kiersten Pilar Miller, a born and raised New York City girl who worked in film production as an Assistant Director and decided to stay.  When her daughter was born she realized that in Rome, at that time, there wasn’t any of the sensational items that can make a mother’s life easier. So she decided to import them from her hometown, NYC. Today The Milk Bar has two locations, one in Rome and one in Milan, an online store and a Milk Bar Franchise in Torino.

Ladybirds is an English speaking playgroup for children from 0 to 5 years. They are a nonprofit making community run by volunteers and an important community outreach.

The little reader is a bookshop dedicated to children and teenagers. Here you will find a very nice selection of books for children and teens from zero to young adults in both Italian and English, a cafe with sweets in the American tradition and, last but not least, many activities for younger readers, like reading aloud in both English and Italian. It is located near piazza Vittorio.

The Hazelhut is an activity based English-language center, I have been there and wrote about here in Italian. It aims to provide a wholesome family-oriented experience for children and schools. It is managed by two British teachers and aimed mainly at children aged 8 -13. They organize courses, weekends and summer camps and offer a wide range of activities besides a beautiful rich natural environment only an hour off Rome. Here is The Hazelhut website. Please mention Educazione Globale if your children attend.

In Rome, the city of many churches, you will find some that are also English-speaking: mainly the Catholic American Church of Santa Susanna and the Anglican one which is All Saints. Both conveniently located in Central Rome.

For art lovers, ARTandSEEK is a non-profit association based in Rome that aims at bringing adults and children closer to art appreciation in fun and interactive ways.

InterNations is an expat social network. I must admit I was on this for a while but I then canceled my profile as it all seemed geared to party–goers, which, with a full time jobs, plus this blog, 3 kids and many interests, I am definitely NOT. But maybe you are…

Wanted in Rome is an online and paper mag that has some cultural information and a lot of classified advertisements in Rome, such as accommodations in bed and breakfast or apartment rentals. Incidentally, it is also the venue where I advice friends to search for English mother-tongue tutors and baby sitters and I also got one of my many au pairs from there. Wanted in Milan is the same mag for the city of Milano.

The American in Italia is an English-language monthly magazine based in Rome, Italy and The American Magazine is a monthly publication with articles on culture, politics and lifestyle in Rome. ANSA English is Italy’s largest news wire service and a leading world news agency, with real-time news updates in English.

060608 it’s a service with which you can purchase entrance tickets to museums, exhibitions, theaters and events and then collect them on the spot. Besides surfing the site www.060608.it, the service can be reached by calling 060608, at the cost of a local call.

In Rome there are a plethora of International schools: American Schools (offering from pre-kindergarten to High school with American diploma, AP or IB), British Schools, from nursery to GCSE and IGCSE and A levels or IB again, and Bilingual Schools, which are Italian schools offering up to 16 hours a week in English or of subjects in English.

I have written about these schools in Italian, but promise to issue a guide in English for the international expats for those schools in Rome  in the near future. In the meantime you can find here the list of international schools in Rome and, for Milan and the rest of Italy here: Le scuole internazionali in lingua inglese in Italia (but the Bilingual schools are not included).

There are also American Universities in Rome, mainly John Cabot University In the heart of Trastevere and the American University of Rome – AUR that are both members of the Association of American College and University Programs in Italy (AACUPI).

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