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Where to stay in Rome: The best neighbourhoods and hotels

Photo of Mary NovakovichPhoto of Mary Novakovich
By Mary Novakovich

27 May 202410 min read

Colosseum Monti, near the Colosseum, is one of Rome's best neighbourhoods.

With a population of nearly three million living within an area that sprawls for close to 500 square miles, Rome has almost too much choice for travellers.

Which is the best neighbourhood for you? How do you get the most out of this eternally exciting and enthralling city? Take a look at our guide to some of the best neighbourhoods and hotels to get the best out of your city break in Rome.

Trastevere

Best for nightlife

Trastevere – literally translated as ‘across the Tiber’ – has managed to hold on to its bohemian charm despite its rise in popularity.

Hugging the river southeast of the Vatican, the neighbourhood’s narrow alleyways of ochre and terracotta houses draped in bougainvillea and wisteria are made for slow ambles along the cobbles as you try to take in its extraordinary prettiness.

Although Trastevere’s old working-class and rebellious spirit has been subdued a bit over the years, its vibrancy is as strong as ever – especially if you come in the evening, when restaurant and bar terraces spill out into squares and into practically every cobbled lane.

Get your cultural fix in the Piazza di Santa Maria – and prepare to be dazzled by golden mosaics – when you visit the magnificent 12th-century Basilica di Santa Maria, whose origins date from the 4th century. Once you’ve wandered around the piazza and its café terraces, walk around the corner to Piazza San Calisto for a drink at the agreeably scruffy Bar San Calisto.

If you’re in Trastevere in the morning from Monday to Saturday, whet your appetite by browsing the delicious produce on display in the farmers’ market in Piazza di San Cosimato just south of the basilica. On Sunday mornings, head further south to the huge flea market that takes over Porta Portese.

Away from Trastevere’s maze of narrow lanes is one of Rome’s greenest sights. Stroll along the tree-shaded paths of the Parco di Gianicolo and the neighbouring Botanical Garden of Rome. Get some of the best views of Rome when you walk up to the Belvedere del Gianicolo and see the city’s rooftops spread out below.

Best hotels in Trastevere

Hotel Santa Maria is an incredibly charming place set in a 17th-century former cloister, with 19 rooms, free bikes and a relaxing roof terrace.

In the midst of historic Trastevere is the minimalist Horti 14 boutique hotel, which aptly calls itself a modern urban resort. Its rooftop terrace has lovely views of the Botanical Garden.

If you want to push the boat out and plan to visit during the summer when temperatures soar, splash out on one of the classically designed rooms at Grand Hotel del Gianicolo set in a 16th-century former monastery. You’ll feel as if you’re in your own little world here, especially as it has an outdoor pool – a rarity in central Rome.

Hotel Roma Tor Vergata

  • Rome, Rome Area, Italy
  • 24 September 2024
  • Room only
  • From Manchester

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with the provider before booking.

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£279

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Testaccio

Best for foodies and budget travellers

It’s quite fitting that the area that used to be home to the largest slaughterhouse in Europe is now a magnet for foodies.

Testaccio was always where you’d find the gutsiest food in Rome – literally, as the offal and other offcuts from the slaughterhouse became such an intrinsic part of the Roman diet. Nowadays, the old slaughterhouse is the trendy Mattatoio, which houses a contemporary art museum, bookshop and café.

Food lovers flock to the enormous Mercato di Testaccio just a few seconds away. You could happily spend hours under the glass roof of this huge food market, checking out the food stalls and gourmet delis before deciding where to eat and drink among the cafés and bars.

Testaccio feels decidedly untouristy and a bit rough around the edges, yet you’d never know that Circus Maximus is only about a 15-minute walk away and the Colosseum is just two metro stops away.

In its centre is its namesake hill, Monte Testaccio, which is actually a giant spoil heap made up of about 53 million shards of ancient Roman pottery. It harks back to the time when Testaccio, being very close to the Tiber River, was a major port for the transport of olive oil, and all those ancient terracotta amphorae that broke were eventually put to good use.

Best hotels in Testaccio

On the top of what looks like an ordinary residential building is the very friendly and charming Althea Inn. Make certain you book one of the rooms with its own roof terrace. With only three rooms, it’s no wonder there’s a homey feeling about Sweet Home Pyramide, a new B&B set within an apartment building. One of the rooms has its own terrace, but all guests can use the communal lounge and kitchen.

Villa Eur

  • Rome, Rome Area, Italy
  • 23 July 2024
  • Room only
  • From Manchester

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with the provider before booking.

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£369

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Monti

Best for hipsters

Surrounded by some of Rome’s biggest tourist spots yet somehow still going under the radar, Monti has evolved into one of the city’s hippest areas.

Ringing its south-western end are the Colosseum and the Forum, and the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain are a short walk away. Within Monti are narrow streets with cool vintage shops, upmarket boutiques, pop-up galleries, hip cafés and street-food stalls – especially along Via del Boschetto.

If the Colosseum and Forum are too busy for you, take a tour of Domus Aurea (Golden House), the remains of a vast villa complex built by the emperor Nero in the 1st century AD. The most entertaining way to explore it is on an evocative virtual-reality tour. The complex is usually open only from Friday to Sunday, so you can fit in a visit if you’re on a weekend break.

There’s more fascinating history in store in the Basilica di San Clemente near the Colosseum, which dates from the 4th century and in whose crypt you can see remains of a pagan temple and a Roman house.

When it’s time for an aperitivo, join the crowd of Romans on the café terraces squeezed into Piazza della Madonna dei Monti and around its 16th-century fountain.

Best hotels in Monti

Nerva Boutique Hotel suits Monti perfectly, with 20 stylish, contemporary rooms with lots of quirky design touches. While some of the rooms have Juliet balconies, spoil yourself in the premium suite with its own terrace. The Aurora Bistrot & Bar serves breakfast and lunch, as well as evening cocktails.

There's a fresh feel to Residenze Argileto, which has bright modern rooms set in a venerable townhouse on a cobbled street near the Forum. Take in views of the Roman skyline from the rooftop terrace, which also features a hot tub.

Valle

  • Rome, Rome Area, Italy
  • 23 January 2025
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Stansted

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£219

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Tridente

Best for shopaholics

The name Tridente might not sound terribly familiar, but its main sights certainly are. Piazza di Spagna – also known as the Spanish Steps – and Piazza del Popolo, that sprawling oval-shaped piazza near the Villa Borghese, bring the crowds to Tridente. But not many know the neighbourhood was named after the trio of streets leading south of Piazza del Popolo.

Like a three-pronged trident – tridente – Via di Ripetti, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino fan out from Piazza del Popolo and lead you to one boutique after another. This really is a shopper’s paradise, mixing luxury boutiques with well-known brands, independent shops and food shops to get the appetite going. In spite of the area’s popularity, you can still find quiet side streets tucked in among the better-known ones.

Take in the majesty of Piazza del Popolo, with its ancient Egyptian obelisk and baroque churches, before climbing the steps that eventually lead you to the sweeping Terrazza del Pincio and superb views of Rome.

Then head south to the Spanish Steps and wander down the world’s most famous staircase. At its foot is Keats-Shelley House, where John Keats lived his final months before he died tragically young at the age of 25. It’s now a museum dedicated to the Romantic poets.

From here you’re less than ten minutes’ walk from another of Rome’s biggest sights, the Trevi Fountain.

Best hotels in Tridente

Just north of Piazza del Popolo is Casa Montani, whose nine refined rooms are on the third floor of an elegant 1920s townhouse. It’s one of the relatively more affordable options in this neighbourhood of five-star properties.

Tridente Suites is a six-room guesthouse right on Via del Corso, with attractive, modern (and soundproofed) rooms just seconds away from Piazza del Popolo.

Hotel 325 Tor Vergata

  • Rome, Rome Area, Italy
  • 23 July 2024
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Manchester

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£355

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Prati

Best for couples

It’s fair to say that Prati, an elegant district sandwiched between the Tiber River and the Vatican, is probably the safest in Rome, thanks to the presence of the papal guards. And as the Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica are most people’s wish-list, you’ll be well placed to visit both.

Another of Rome’s most distinctive landmarks, the hulking circular Castel Sant’Angelo dating from the 2nd century, is right on your doorstep. Originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian, it’s since been expanded into a museum displaying works of art, weapons and furniture. Stand on the castle’s own bridge, the pedestrian Ponte Sant’Angelo, for a view of one of Rome’s most classic images.

The district is crisscrossed with wide avenues of stately townhouses, many of which are in the Liberty style – the Italian version of art nouveau. Stroll along Via Cola di Rienzo for a bit of leisurely browsing in the many boutiques, and look out for the large covered Mercato dell’Unità and its dozens of tantalising food stalls selling fresh produce, fish, meat, flowers and picnic food.

Best hotels in Prati

Just behind the star-shaped gardens surrounding Castel Sant’Angelo is Domus Alberico, which has six refined, contemporary rooms that offer good value. The sheltered garden is a lovely place to relax, and the breakfast room includes a communal kitchen.

A few minutes’ walk from the Tiber River is Apollo Boutique Hotel, which has 16 plush, elegant rooms to go with its charming covered terrace where you can have breakfast.

Gialel B&B

  • Rome, Rome Area, Italy
  • 22 July 2024
  • Room only
  • From Gatwick

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with the provider before booking.

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£255

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Centro Storico

Best for families

Sometimes you want to be in the thick of the action, right in the heart of Rome. Its Centro Storico – historic centre – has many of Rome’s biggest attractions and is easy to navigate if you’re travelling with children.

The Pantheon should be top of your list, with its jaw-dropping dome and oculus that’s been letting in the elements since it was built by Hadrian around 125 AD. It boggles the mind that it’s still intact after nearly two millennia.

Once you’ve taken a tour of this architectural and historic marvel, wander over to Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s greatest squares. It’s like an ever-changing theatre, with café terraces sprawling in front of baroque buildings and crowned by Bernini’s 17th-century Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, a splendid fountain with an Egyptian obelisk. Topping and tailing the piazza are two 16th-century fountains, which add even more beauty. Not surprisingly, the cafés here will be pricey, but you can find cheaper alternatives along the little side streets.

Catch one of Rome’s liveliest spectacles when you visit the daily food market at Campo de’ Fiori. Come early in the morning when it’s mainly locals and restaurant chefs picking up the best and freshest produce. Then head over to the beautiful renaissance palace that’s home to Mostra di Leonardo, a captivating museum replicating many of Leonardo da Vinci’s ingenious innovations, along with interactive exhibits to keep the kids happy.

Right on the edge of Centro Storico is the Trevi Fountain, where it’s very hard to resist the temptation to toss a coin into the water to guarantee a return visit. Several cafés sell gelato around Trevi – and you’ll definitely want to stop for one – but avoid the crowds and find somewhere a bit quieter, such as Günther Gelato Italiano in Piazza di Sant’Eustachio near Piazza Navona.

Best hotels in Centro Storico

Half way between Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, Piccola Navona Roof Garden is a friendly hotel with a two-bedroom family room if you’re travelling with children. But you don’t need kids to enjoy the roof terrace and its views of Rome.

Choose from smartly furnished doubles, triples, suites and apartments with terraces in Navona Colors Hotel in a handsome terracotta-coloured building between Piazza Navona and the Tiber River.

Hotel Artis

  • Rome, Rome Area, Italy
  • 22 July 2024
  • Bed & breakfast
  • From Gatwick

Prices and availability shown can change. Always check pricing with the provider before booking.

Prices from

£255

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