Rome, the ‘Eternal City’, is the capital of Italy and a bustling hub of cultural, artistic and historical landmarks as well as commerce, fashion and politics. The city is made up of many districts that all have their own unique characteristics; but without knowing what the different neighborhoods have to offer for tourists and Expats, it’s hard to know where you should be staying.
Italy sees around 90 million tourists visiting the country each year, many of whom travel through Rome to access the rest of the country. Rome is the country’s center of politics and hosts foreign embassies, Non-Governmental Organizations and other international agencies, and is home to nearly half a million Expats; who live alongside the 2.5 million members of the local population.
There’s thousands of options when it comes to choosing the right place to stay in Rome that can quickly become overwhelming to work your way through. However, if you’re wondering where you should stay in Rome, or are simply curious, then the following information will be extremely useful to you. This article is geared towards those who are looking for a short stay.
The Best Places To Stay While You’re In Rome.
Rome has fantastic neighborhoods where you can stay. The following are my favorites.
The area around the main train station of Rome (Roma Termini) is one of my favorite places to stay. It is a relatively inexpensive area to live in terms of room rates and is within walking distance of most of the major tourist attractions. You can save a lot of walking time if you stay in a hotel that is closer to Palazzo Massimo alle Terme (Via Giovanni Giolitti side of the train station) rather than staying on the Via Marsala side of the train station. There are frequent non stop fast trains (Leonardo Express) from Roma Termini to the International Airport (FCO).
Rome’s central train station, Roma Termini, is a vital transport hub in the city and is one of the busiest stations in the whole of the European Union. It’s easy to reach Roma Termini from the airport which makes it a good place to stay if you’re travelling into the country from overseas or planning to catch a morning flight out of the country the next day. This makes the Roma Termini the ideal location if you’re only intending to spend a night or two in Rome before travelling on to your next destination.
Accommodation in this central district is very reasonably priced with plenty of options for tourists on any budget. There are luxury hotels in the neighborhood but for the most part they are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
However, since the area is primarily a transport hub you shouldn’t expect to be surrounded by cultural and historical landmarks and at night the neighborhood does have a reputation for being a little bit dangerous. This means that if you’re travelling as a family you may not want to venture out so much as in other parts of the city. During the evenings the streets can also be loud which is a frequent complaint of people staying in hotels in Roma Termini.
That said, if you intend on staying in the area for a longer time you should note that the city’s historic centre is only about 20 minutes walk away, including the Colosseum and the famous Trevi fountain.
Therefore, it’s a good place to stay for tourists on a budget and with plenty of authentic local restaurants to visit in the evenings you’ll be able to taste the best of the Italian cuisine within a stone’s throw of your accommodation. The train station itself also has a nice food court called the Mercato Centrale with a good choice of eateries.
Centro Storico – The Pantheon, Piazza Navona And Campo de’Fiori.
The historic center of Rome, known as the Centrol Storico, is a charming mix of cobblestoned streets, impressive Renaissance architecture, beautiful piazzas and the palaces of the merchant elite. Some of the most famous landmarks of the neighborhood include the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, the Trevi fountain and the Campo de’Fiori.
This makes the neighborhood the perfect location for tourists and Expats who want to live in the very heart of historic Rome with easy access to all the top sightseeing hotspots. The area is completely safe during both the day and night with a lovely mixture of cafes, restaurants, street musicians and artists to enjoy.
Unfortunately, you can’t use a car in this area unless you have a special permit and you’ll immediately notice that the neighborhood is packed full of tourists. That means that if you want a more authentic Italian experience then Centro Storico might not be the best place for you to stay, however if you don’t mind rubbing shoulders with the other tourists it’s the ideal place to stay for a sightseeing tour of the historic center of the ancient city.
Despite the fact that you can’t get around with a car you can rent or buy a Vespa or scooter; something you’ll find that many local Italians do to get from A to B within Rome. There are also several metro stations in Centro Storico, including Spagna, Barberini and Popolo which can take you to other parts of the city in a matter of minutes.
The accommodation in the area is of a very high quality and even though it looks ancient from the outside they have extremely modern interiors with a lot of flats having their own balconies and great views of the streets below. Centro Storico has a huge number of bars, boutique stores, restaurants and cafes and the impressive architecture is a dream come true for any photographer.
Generally, the Centro Storico is one of the best places to stay for tourists who want to be in the heart of the historic city and although there will be a lot of other tourists, the scenery and atmosphere of the neighborhood will more than make up for it.
This charming neighborhood is full of ivy-clad buildings, lovely cobbled lanes, boutiques and restaurants. As one of Rome’s trendiest districts it has a distinctly bohemian vibe with a lot of galleries and art studios to visit while you’re there. ‘Trastevere’, literally meaning ‘across the Tiber’, is a car free district that is ideal for walking around while exploring the maze of tiny back streets and lanes that crisscross the area.
Trastevere is very safe and has a good range of accommodation, although prices can be fairly high, particularly for the larger apartments. There’s still a good amount of mid-ranged hotels and B&Bs to stay in which offer a sense of tranquility that can be hard to find in other parts of the city.
The neighborhood is unofficially divided into the ‘noisy’ and the ‘quiet’ side, separated by the main road, the Viale di Trastevere. The eastern side of the street is the quiet side where you can avoid the area’s nightlife, making it more popular for families and couples looking for a peaceful holiday in Rome. You can find plenty of AirBnb rentals and small, family run hotels in the quiet side of Trastevere.
There’s a lot to see and do in the neighborhood, including having a picnic at the botanical gardens, visiting the Villa Farnesina, the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria and the little known Galleria Corsini that hosts a wonderful collection of artwork.
During the evenings the district is a hive of activity with the restaurants and trendy bars heaving with life. Trastevere is a seriously good location for foodies and gourmet enthusiasts where you can take a guided food tour with a local operator. It’s worth noting that Trastevere doesn’t have any metro stations although there are still trams and buses you can catch to reach other parts of the city. Also, as a result of the tiny, narrow streets you won’t see many cars and even taxis are hard to find!
One of the most iconic parts of Rome is the Monti and Colosseum districts of the city, which are home to a growing artistic community as well as ancient archeological sites of world importance, including the Arch of Constantine and, of course, the Colosseum itself. If you’re staying in the Colosseum neighborhood you can actually reach almost any of the main tourist sites on foot although there are plenty of public transport options available if the weather’s too hot to walk while you’re there.
From the Colosseum area of Rome you can easily reach other parts of the city but you are also spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants and eateries, souvenir stores and trendy boutiques, as well as convenient transport options, right on your doorstep. In terms of places to eat out you have a choice of modern vegetarian and vegan food as well as more traditional Italian cuisine and tavernas. In this way you can tailor your experience to your own tastes.
There are two main metro stations in the neighborhood, called the Cavour and the Collosseo stops, from where you can quickly get to any district in Rome. You can also catch a tram to reach other parts of the city, including Trastevere, for a day trip or an evening out on the town.
The Colosseum neighborhood is the perfect location for history lovers and visitors who are interested in discovering the epic archeological remnants of the Roman empire as well as more recent Catholic and cultural influences on the Eternal City of Rome. There’s a fantastic collection of fine dining options and cheaper restaurants for tourists on a budget, as well as major international companies where you can buy a burger and fries.
If you choose to stay in the Colosseum district of Rome you will have to accept that there will be an awful lot of tourists around, particularly in the summer months. The streets are busy and often full of traffic but you will certainly have easy access to an amazing plethora of historical monuments and sites of interest.
Located in central Rome, the Vatican is officially a separate state to Italy although it’s easy to visit and you won’t need a Visa or a passport to enter its territory. In fact, despite being the smallest state in the world, the Vatican City is at the very heart of the Catholic religion and contains an astounding collection of museums, galleries and religious sites of interest.
The most famous site in the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel which has to be seen to be believed although the other Vatican museums also contain incredible collections of artworks that stretch back through the remarkable history of Rome. Another landmark of note is the St Peter’s Basilica but as you explore this unique location you’ll see architecture and art around every corner!
There’s a good number of excellent restaurants and eateries within the walls of the Vatican City but the prices tend to be a lot higher than in other parts of the city, partly due to the large number of tourists that they serve.
If you want to stay in the Vatican City there’s plenty of hotels and B&Bs to choose from which range in prices from the extortionate to fairly cheap. For the cheapest accommodation you can stay in a convent although there are usually strict rules that apply to their guests; however, you will have a truly unique experience. There are also family run guest houses and modern boutique hotels, most of which have their own kitchens and serve excellent world cuisine.
The Vatican is a great place to stay in Rome if you’re a tourist but for Expats it’s not such a common choice. The prices do tend to be higher than other nearby parts of the city and the constant stream of tourists that visit the tiny state can easily become overwhelming if you were going to make the Vatican your home.
Rome Has Great Neighborhoods To Stay.
Rome is a wonderful city to live in or visit and although you’ll have a great time no matter where you stay some of the city’s most prestigious areas do have unique charms of their own. These differing characteristics will suit different travellers and Expats and so making sure you do a little research in advance will help to ensure that your stay is as enjoyable as possible.
Rome is a very easy city to travel around and even though the traffic system is not well suited to the modern world, with frequent jams and many parts of the city which can’t be accessed by car, the public transport network is excellent. On top of this, you can also walk throughout much of central Rome within 20 or 30 minutes and if you need a quick break there’s always a nearby cafe or bar that you can drop into for a refreshment.
Overall, Rome is one of the best cities in the world to live in and although some neighborhoods are better than others you can find accommodation to suit any budget in most parts of the city.