Where’s the best place to stay in Rome? I called in the experts! Last year I hired Ashley and Alex from the blog In Pursuit of Adventure to write me guide on Where to Stay in Barcelona. Now they’re back, providing a guide on another city on which they’re experts — Rome, Italy!
Enjoy this post — and I agree with them; the best place to stay in Rome is Trastevere!
Rome is truly the Eternal City. It is hard to write an introduction to the city because everything to be said about Rome has seemingly already been said by some famous historical person. Rome is old — 2,771 years old, to be exact. Having that kind of history attached to a city can be a lot to deal with. The Roman Empire defined western culture and shaped our world and we are still feeling the effects of their influences today.
That’s a pretty impressive resume for just one city.
The Eternal City has the history to back up its name, but as a visitor it can be challenging to narrow down where to stay.
Do you want to wake up with a view of the Coliseum out your window?
Do you want to stay in a cozy apartment in the medieval heart of the city?
Do you want to wake up to the smell of espresso and the buzz of a residential neighborhood coming to life?
Rome may be eternal, but it’s not lacking for diversity, especially when it comes to its different neighborhoods.
After living in Rome for a combined six years, we have combed the different Roman neighborhoods looking for local eats, charming markets, history, shopping, and more.
Here are the best Roman neighborhoods to stay in no matter what kind of traveler you are.
Best Rome Neighborhood to Stay in Overall: Trastevere
The neighborhood of Trastevere (tras-TEH-ver-ay) has everything we look for in a Roman neighborhood: fantastic restaurants, charming alleyways, a youthful vibe, and that quintessential Roman look. Trastevere was our home for just over two years and we may be biased, but hear us out!
Over those two years we fell in love with the beautiful winding cobblestone streets, local restaurants and the vibrant nightlife filled with students, locals, and tourists alike. Every time we go back to visit our old neighborhood, we feel right back at home.
Trastevere is also ideally located. It is just on the other side of the Tiber from the Centro Storico which is the historical center of Rome. It’s the best of both worlds: centrally located but not overrun with tourists.
Besides the great location, one of the best things about staying in Trastevere is the vibrant nightlife that comes with it. The neighborhood is populated with locals and students from the nearby universities. The streets are filled with wonderful bars and great restaurants that fill to the brim every night. If you want to mingle with the locals then you better start your night out at Bar San Callisto with an Aperol spritz, then go from there! (Note from Kate: Dar Poeta is an awesome pizza place in Trastevere.)
Lastly, Trastevere is one of the best preserved medieval neighborhoods left in Rome. Trastevere will transport you back to the 1200’s with its faded elegance, buildings in loving disrepair and cobbled, narrow streets that twist and turn until you come upon pristine piazzas.
If you choose to stay in Trastevere, you’ve done well — it’s a special place.
Best Rome Neighborhood for Foodies: Testaccio
If you are a foodie and don’t mind staying a little outside the center of Rome, the local neighborhood of Testaccio is the place for you. This is a neighborhood in Rome that has kept its traditional roots while embracing change, especially when it comes to food and markets.
Testaccio is where locals go to eat. Throughout the neighborhood are little restaurants that have been serving up delicious Roman cuisine. The most well-known place is Flavio al Velavevodetto, which is almost impossible to get into on Sundays because the place is packed with Roman families!
Testaccio is also home to the amazing Mercato Testaccio. This modern structure recently replaced the older markets in Testaccio, but all the fantastic old school vendors have come here to sell their produce.
In addition to these vendors, Mercato Testaccio has a host of new spots offering up anything from panini to vegan offerings to street food. Of particular note is Mordi e Vai, one of the most popular places to grab a panini in Rome. They specialize in Roman cuisine and are most well known for taking local main dishes and serving them up between two slices of bread. Make sure to grab a panino and then spend time wandering this amazing local market!
While there are plenty of traditional restaurants for you to enjoy there are also plenty of restaurants putting a new twist on the the Roman kitchen. Trapizzino is one of our personal favorite restaurants on the cutting edge of Roman street food. A trapizzino is a little cone of pizza bianca hollowed out and stuffed with your choice of fillings like chicken cacciatore, eggplant parmesan, Roman tripe, or chicken with peppers. Trapizzino is part of what Italians call “lo street food.” It’s a casual way to enjoy Italian cuisine, since food trucks don’t really fit in the streets here!
If you are a food lover, there’s nowhere better than Testaccio. Also, if you would like to to learn more about the Testaccio food scene, there are plenty of food tours available.
Best Rome Neighborhood to be in the Heart of it All: Centro Storico
The Centro Storico is the historic heart of Rome and the perfect neighborhood if this is your first visit. Think of it: Here in the Centro Storico you can wake up steps away from Piazza Navona or see the famous market in Campo de Fiori come to life or watch the sunrise over the Pantheon.
While the neighborhood can be touristy, the Centro Storico includes the famous sites of Campo de Fiori, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon and has more than enough charm to offset the tourist crowds. There are plenty of charming alleyways and streets to get lost in, including the Via Giulia, one of the prettiest streets in Rome, featuring a stunningly graceful archway by Michelangelo.
This neighborhood is excellent if you want to be walking distance from all the major sites and well-connected. While the metro doesn’t run through this area, Largo Argentina is a transportation hub for all the major buses and trams. Did I mention there is a huge taxi stand at Largo Argentina, too? This is a massive benefit because it can be nearly impossible to flag down a taxi in Rome.
Additionally, some of our favorite restaurants are located in the Centro Storico. Whether you are looking for a fresh mozzarella delivered daily from Campania or homemade pasta from some Italian grandmas or artisanal gelato or even a local wine bar, you can find it all in the Centro Storico.
Andif you love to shop, don’t forget to take a wander down Via Coronari, which has independent shops featuring vintage goods, bespoke Italian clothing, and hand-blown glass.
Best Rome Neighborhood for History Lovers: Monti
Monti is a quiet neighborhood made up of small serpentine streets in the heart of Rome and is the perfect place to stay if you want to stay in the same neighborhood that Julius Caesar is from.
This historic neighborhood is conveniently located close to several metro stops and Termini train station but you wouldn’t know it — it’s actually tucked into a valley between three of Rome’s seven hills. This keeps the neighborhood quiet and charming. This may have been a slum in the days of Ancient Rome when it was known as Suburra and home to Julius Caesar, but it couldn’t be more lovely today!
Here you can base yourself close to the Coliseum and the Forum, which border the neighborhood. Also nearby is Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome’s oldest church, dating back to 432 CE and where Gian Lorenzo Bernini is buried.
Surrounding these sites are structures built by Emperor Trajan, including his markets, column and forum. Several medieval towers from the Middle Ages, dot the landscape, and you’ll also find San Pietro in Vincoli, the church of St. Peter in Chains and home to Michelangelo’s statue of Moses.
This ancient neighborhood is also very popular with Rome’s hipster population. You can find them around the fountain in Piazza delle Madonna di Monti or enjoying an aperitivo at nearby restaurants and bars. Stroll the ancient streets, admire the galleries and shops, and revel in the creative atmosphere nurtured by artists since the 1930s.
Best Rome Neighborhood for the Renaissance Man or Woman: Prati
Prati is best known for being the home of the Vatican, and if you consider yourself a Renaissance Man or Woman, this is the neighborhood to call home. The Vatican Museums are home to an immense collection that includes some of Europe’s finest works of art: from classical sculptures, renowned Renaissance paintings, and most famously, the Sistine Chapel.
In addition to Prati’s Vatican Museums, you can also tour St. Peter’s Basilica and wander the piazza in front of the church designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Prati also is home to Castel Sant’Angelo. The roots of this building date back to the early 100’s CE when it was constructed to be the tomb of Emperor Hadrian, a Renaissance man (if you can apply that term to a man born 1400 years before the Renaissance!) in his own right. (Note from Kate: Castle Sant’Angelo is my favorite place in Rome to watch the sunset!)
While this neighborhood has its fair share of history, it is also known for its wide streets, Art Nouveau charm, and its fast-paced lifestyle. This is a neighborhood where Romans live and work and you can find them shopping at the local markets, commuting to their jobs,and of course indulging in some retail therapy on the weekends on famed shopping street Cola di Rienzo.
While this neighborhood may not look classically “Roman,” it offers visitors a chance to experience a different side of Rome, embrace their love of the arts, and escape the tourists.
Best Rome Neighborhood for the Fashionista: Spanish Steps
If you’re in Rome to show off your style, you have to book a stay near the Spanish Steps. This neighborhood is anchored by the iconic steps but also by the high-end shopping street, Via dei Condotti, which features the shops of some of the most famous Italian designers like Prada and Gucci.
Embrace your inner Audrey Hepburn, grab a gelato, and sit on the steps to watch the fashionable Romans parade by. Or grab a cocktail at two-level rooftop bar on top of the The First, you can enjoy 360-degree views of Rome, including the Spanish Steps.
Or embrace la dolce vita and head to Via Margutta to stroll the artistic haven where Federico Fellini used to live. This brick lined, ivy strewn street is full of charming art galleries and retains the soul that drew Fellini to this neighborhood.
No matter where you stroll near the Spanish Steps, you call indulge in your stylish fantasies and truly live the sweet life.
Best Luxury Hotel in Rome: The First
Why just grab drinks at this luxurious hotel when you can stay here? The First is in the heart of Rome near the Spanish Steps and is the perfect luxury stay for someone who has always wanted to spend the night at an art gallery. Besides impeccable amenities, this 200-year-old palace has been lovingly restored and highlights the contemporary artwork of some of Italy’s most influential modern artists.
This intimate 29-room boutique hotel provides an elegant retreat from the chaos of Rome, embracing the modern in the Eternal City. Hire your own personal shopper to dive into Italian fashion, experience Michelin-starred dining, and explore the world of modern Italian art at Galleria Mucciaccia when you stay at The First.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Rome: Hotel Forum
Hotel Forum is an affordable hotel in the heart of Rome across the street from The Forum. This four star hotel is located in a historical 18th century building and is the perfect stay for someone who wants to be walking distance to all the major sites and in the charming neighborhood of Monti.
The hotel is classically elegant and has a rooftop bar where you can watch the sunset over Rome. Plus, you don’t have to break the bank to stay at this elegant hotel in the heart of Ancient Rome.
Best Hostel in Rome: The Yellow
While not the cheapest hostel, The Yellow is consistently named one of Rome’s best hostels. The Yellow isn’t just a hostel but also venue for amazing local music, a place to meet locals and expats at the popular bar, a yoga studio away from home, and so much more. The Yellow has really worked hard to create a community around their hostel and it shows. The Yellow in Rome is ready to be your home in the Eternal City.
Don’t Visit Rome Without Travel Insurance
A lot of people think travel insurance is an unnecessary expense — that’s far from the truth. Travel insurance is vital. It’s saved Kate hundreds of dollars and for one of her friends, who slipped and broke her foot while traveling in Italy, her travel insurance bought her a business class ticket home and saved her thousands of dollars.
If you get pickpocketed on Rome metro, travel insurance will refund you what you lost.
If you slip on the Spanish Steps and break your ankle, travel insurance will refund your medical costs and get you home for free.
If you get appendicitis while in Rome, travel insurance will cover your medical costs.
If an immediate family member dies while you’re in Italy, travel insurance will help you get home immediately.
These are unpleasant things to think about, but it’s so important to be prepared for the worst.
AdventurousKate.com uses and recommends World Nomads Travel Insurance. They’re a great fit for almost every traveler. Take a look at their policies before you buy to make sure they’re right for you.
Rome is a multi-layered city and it has so much history that deserves your time. No matter what neighborhood you choose be sure to get out and explore the others. They all have something to offer and play a role in this chaotic, historic, charming city. Remember to relax, enjoy that long lunch, linger over coffee and stop for an aperitivo or two. Embrace the pace of your neighborhood and truly experience the Roman lifestyle. We love Rome and we want everyone to love Rome.
While the Roman empire may have fallen, all roads will eventually lead you to Rome — this city has a way of drawing people in.
Meet the Rome Experts
Ashley and Alex are two travelers from California who are addicted to living local. They run the travel blog In Pursuit of Adventure and focus on eating, drinking, and living locally across the globe. Lately they’ve been writing about the dishes of Peru. They also are the authors of Eat Local in Barcelona: A Guide to Catalan Cuisine.
Have you been to Rome? Where’s your favorite place to stay?
The post Where to Stay in Rome — Best Neighborhoods and Accommodation appeared first on Adventurous Kate.