Rome Neighborhoods - Where should you stay?
By Elyssa Bernard and Alessandro Bisceglie
Wondering which Rome neighborhoods are best for staying in? Obviously the answer is not the same for everyone.
Whether this is your first visit to Rome or your tenth, this complete guide will give you everything you need to know to pick the right Rome neighborhood for you.
Rome Neighbourhoods - How to pick?
Federico Fellini said “Rome is the most wonderful movie set in the world…” And he was right. But movie set for which movie? Ben Hur or La Grande Bellezza?
Rome has neighborhoods filled with cute trattorias, hidden doorways, ancient Roman ruins, stunning churches, glistening fountains…but they are not all necessarily in the same place. And even among different Rome neighborhoods known for their trattorias…some are across town from each other, and have very different vibes.
So dig in while we go over everything you need to know to pick the Rome district that’s right for you. We’ll give you the good, the bad, and well, maybe not the ugly, but we do want to give you all the plusses and minuses so you can make an informed decision.
First, we have to define what we mean by “Rome neighborhoods.”
Let’s talk first about the 7 hills of Rome, and then the rioni. Not sure what I’m talking about? These things are important so bear with us!
Rome neighborhoods list
The following descriptions of Rome neighborhoods are listed in order of location (most central first), and then followed by those areas just outside the historic center.
Most Central Rome Neighborhoods
Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo
The Spanish Steps and Trinità dei Monti, one of the most central neighborhoods to stay in Rome
- There are some famous hotels at the Spanish Steps. There are also a few 3-star hotels, some B&Bs and a few self-catering apartments, however the selection of lower-cost options is not huge, and rates are among the highest in Rome.
- This is one of the few Rome neighborhoods where you can have “a room with a view", if you select the one and only luxury hotel at the top of the Spanish Steps, The Hassler (those at the bottom of the Spanish Steps are in Rome's shopping zone, and while convenient, they don't offer views.)
- One big convenience is the Spagna Metro stop, making this a very easy place to get into and out of, for arrival/departure, and also visits to St. Peter’s.
- Another big convenience is that this is one of the most central areas of Rome, so most of the tourist attractions are about equidistant from where you stay.
- This is THE main shopping district, so if you are spending the day shopping (or at least buying some souvenirs and gifts), it’s quite handy to go drop off your purchases at your hotel and head back out again. Click here to read more about Shopping near the Spanish Steps.
- There is a fair (thought not great) selection of restaurants, and it's close enough to walk to the Pantheon area, which has an even higher concentration of great restaurants to choose from.
- The area really quiets down at night (with the exception of the actual steps themselves, where people tend to hang out day and night.) Unless you are staying right near a restaurant, you should find this a quiet place to stay (always ask before booking your hotel.)
- Click here to read more about the Spanish Steps.
Boscolo Palace hotel - one of many luxury hotels on Rome's famed via Veneto
- This is one of the Rome neighborhoods where you will find the best concentration of 5-star and luxury hotels in Rome (although other categories are available.) One of the most elegant streets in Rome, via Veneto is famous as the setting of Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita.” The wide sidewalks and plethora of street-side cafes make this a lovely area to sit for a coffee or drink (an expensive one, mind you), and watch the world go by.
- The very central and convenient Barberini metro stop is at the base of the via Veneto.
- The beautiful Villa Borghese park (including the Galleria Borghese and other museums) is at the top of the via Veneto.
- This area of Rome is full of embassies, hotels and banks, and therefore always well-lit. You are likely to notice more security in this neighborhood as well.
- With a few exceptions closer to the via di Porta Pinciana (Splendide Royal, Sofitel, Eden and the Marriott Flora), there are still not many choices for a room with a view (although most of the via Veneto hotels are elegant and have wonderful lounges or rooftop bars.)
- The via Veneto itself is quite upscale and tends to be tranquil at night. Another reason this is a quiet Rome neighborhood is that the inner streets are populated mostly by banks, embassies and offices.
- One downside of this area is that there is not a great selection of restaurants (although there are some exceptions), so you will need to go more towards the Pantheon/Navona area for more choices.
Trevi Fountain - an icon in Rome, but a crowded neighborhood for staying in
- The Trevi Fountain area is full of small hotels and B&Bs. It's a highly concentrated area with tiny cobblestone streets and there are not many options for large hotels with large spaces. You will be right in the thick of things, where it can feel like "old Rome" if you can find a quiet street.
- If you are not staying on the square where the fountain is, or on one of the busier streets leading up to it, you can find some quiet accommodation options if they are on less-trodden back streets.
- The closest Metro stop is Barberini, and the fountain itself is about a 5 minute walk from there. There are buses that stop nearby also, but not much transportation other than taxis that can take you right into the Trevi Fountain neighborhood.
- This is a very central Rome neighborhood and you can walk to almost all the sites from here.
- Being so central, it's a safe area, although watch for pickpockets when you are on the crowded streets.
- There are quite a few good restaurants nearby and plenty more closer to the nearby Pantheon/Piazza Navona area.
- Other than the Hotel Fontana, which is right on the plaza, and has views of the fountain, you won't find options for rooms with a view.
- Despite a high concentration of B&Bs, residences and 3-star hotels, accommodations don't come cheaply here. This is one of the most central Rome neighborhoods, so expect to pay for that convenience.
- The downsides of staying here might include: noise, a touristy feel, and small rooms.
- Click here to read more about the Trevi Fountain.
Coliseum, Colle Oppio, Monti, via Cavour
The Colosseum in Rome - A very central neighborhood to stay in
- One of my favorite Rome neighborhoods for strolling, eating and shopping is Monti, which includes via dei Serpenti and in particular, via del Boschetto. It’s a great area with little boutiques and antique shops. But you are a bit far from the other major shopping areas such as the Spanish Steps, so if you do a lot of shopping, you may find you will want to take a taxi back to your hotel. From the Spanish Steps, this will cost around 8-15 Euros, depending on time of day and traffic.
- This is a pretty well-lit and again, very central Rome neighborhood, so it’s quite safe.
- Depending on where you stay, it might be noisy. For example, there is one really fun but loud square with a lot of cafes where people like to hang out late into the night (Santa Maria ai Monti), and part of the Celimontana/Capo D’Africa neighborhood that also have lots of nightlife. If you want a quiet central Rome hotel, check if your B&B, hotel or apartment is near or above one of these spots and if so, ask if perhaps it’s in the back of the building or otherwise sound-proofed.
- That said, there are indeed a lot of tranquil streets in this neighborhood, so read reviews, and ask before booking your hotel.
- The area is very well connected with the Metro Blue Line B (stops at Cavour and Coliseum), and also is served by lots of buses.
- This is a fantastic Rome neighborhood for restaurants. Some of my favorites such as i Clementini, L’Asino d’Oro and Urbana 47, are all right here.
- Prices are moderate here. It's a very highly requested Rome neighborhood but it's also chock-a-block with B&Bs and rooms for rent, so you can come across some real bargains.
- As always, in the old neighborhoods of Rome, the streets are narrow and buildings are close together, so rooms with a view are not easy to come by. But there are indeed some notable exceptions, including the Hotel Forum and the Palazzo Manfredi. You may also be able to find an apartment or B&B with a view if it’s on a top floor.
- Click here to read more about the Rome Colosseum.
Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona, Pantheon
- Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon are some of the oldest Rome neighborhoods. They are right in the heart of the historic center. The streets are small and winding, leading to more small hidden streets. There are only a small number of 4 and 5 star hotels here, but many small 3 star hotels and B&Bs of every type. Space is at a premium so don't expect large rooms, views or balconies.
- This area is not as easy to get to as Spanish Steps or via Veneto, because are there no Metro stops nearby, but plenty of buses go into the area.
- You are in very close walking distance to the Vatican and Trastevere.
- Campo di Fiori is famous for its outdoor food market (although to me it's one of the more touristy markets in Rome, with prices to prove it), and piazza Navona is famous for its outdoor artists’ market. The Pantheon is a spectacular Rome monument to behold. I personally would not want to stay right on any of these squares. If you do stay in one of these Rome neighborhoods, I suggest a side street, away from the main piazza itself.
- These areas in Rome have some of the best selection and highest concentration of excellent restaurants of all types, from local Roman trattorias to authentic pizzerias with wood-burning ovens, to Michelin star restaurants.
- As for safety, it's quite safe but as always, beware of pickpockets, especially in the crowded squares.
- Like Monti, these are very popular Rome neighborhoods to stay in, but there is an enormous offering of lower-cost accommodation, so you are likely able to find a good rate here.
- Due to the small streets and very old buildings, and also the abundance of nightlife (bars), this is an area of Rome that may be most difficult to find a quiet place to stay. But they do exist, so check with your hotel about their soundproofing and/or location to be sure.
- Click here to read more about Piazza Navona.
- Click here to read more about the Rome Pantheon.
Termini Train Station, Piazza Esquilino, Santa Maria Maggiore
- This is one of the Rome neighborhoods with the most options for places to say, including a few grand 5-star hotels, but also including very low-end hostels and pretty much everything in between.
- The main convenience of this area is that you are near the train and also the central bus station, making it easy to arrive in and depart from Rome, and easy to get transportation to sites around Rome.
- The other convenience of this area is that the wealth of choices means you will usually find lower prices and more places to select from than you will in other parts of Rome. This is undoubtedly the best option for the budget-conscious visitor to Rome to find an affordable central Rome hotel.
- The location is also one of the downsides, as it’s not a short walk to any of the major sites.
- Another downside is that parts of this area are not so nice. As I've said before, Rome is a safe city, but as in any major city, some areas around the main train station can be a little dodgy at night. Take a good look at a hotel’s web site and try to get a sense of the surroundings before you book.
- There are lots of fair restaurants nearby and a (very) few good ones. If you just want a simple and inexpensive (but not necessarily fantastic) meal in the evening, near your hotel, you will have plenty to choose from.
- Trastevere is an old and charming neighborhood across the Tiber river from central Rome. It may seem far but it's a pretty easy walk back into the center. However, it's not the most convenient place to stay for having easy access to all the sites. Choose Trastevere if you want to feel like you are in a different part of the city from most of the other tourists (although tourists abound here too.)
- This neighborhood does not really have any big luxury hotels but there are plenty of small 3 star hotels and B&Bs.
- There are no metro stops here, but buses and a tram go in. However, to get to the innermost of Trastevere's streets, you will need to walk a bit or take a cab.
- You are in very close walking distance to Campo di Fiori.
- Trastevere is one of the Rome neighborhoods best known for its restaurants. You will have lots of options for eating, everything from fantastic pizza, to seafood, to Rome trattorias, to excellent wine bars. And of course gelato.
- This is an area of Rome that is made up almost entirely of narrow picturesque streets, very old shops and bakeries, and hidden squares and doorways. It's a wonderful place to explore without having a goal in mind.
- As for safety, it's quite safe but as always, beware of pickpockets, especially in the crowded squares.
- It's a popular location, but it's still not quite as central as other Rome neighborhoods, so Trastevere is also a good option for some reasonably-priced accommodation.
- There are some very lively parts of Trastevere, that include a late night life, so when choosing your accommodation, check the location and proximity to the bars and other possible street noise.
- Prati is one of the more upscale areas of Rome, filled with residential apartment buildings, professional offices and lovely shops and restaurants. The area closer to the Vatican itself is a bit more chaotic and touristy. Safety should not be an issue.
- These Rome neighborhoods are easily accessible by metro (red line A) and bus. Although it is across the Tiber river from downtown Rome, you can walk here easily crossing one of the many bridges.
- You can find some excellent deals on hotels and B&Bs in these neighborhoods, partly because they are not in the center of Rome, and partly because there is a lot of competition.
- Do not look for rooms with a view here.
- If you stay in the Vatican or Prati areas, you will of course have an easy time visiting the Vatican, but you are across the river from the historical center of Rome. It is easy to walk or take public transportation, but either of these options will take a little time.
- Hotels and B&Bs in Prati should be fairly quiet, particularly if you are on a more residential street. By the Vatican, you may encounter more noise, just because it’s more congested and more touristy.
- Prati in particular has an excellent selection of middle-range and high-end eating options. There are a lot of great, old-fashioned Rome restaurants here, and it also tends to be the home of many new, innovative ones as well.
More Rome Neighborhoods
The above are the most central, and probably most desirable Rome neighborhoods to stay in. The below are areas of Rome that you may find are more residential, and just a bit further from all the historic sites. They all do have something to offer, though:
- This area of Rome is very residential, and most of it pretty posh. You won’t find as much graffiti on the walls, and you’ll notice larger, more elegant buildings and wider streets here.
- This is a very safe area of Rome.
- There are some elegant 5-star hotels in these Rome neighborhoods, but also some more modest categories. Don’t expect rates to be much less than in the historic center.
- Some of the 5-star hotels, particularly near the Borghese Park, may offer some views from rooms on the upper floors, and certainly from their rooftops.
- There is a tram that goes into the Flaminia neighborhood, and there are plenty of bus options, although no Metro to either. You will be a bit far from all the sites and will need to use the bus system or taxis to get into the historic center of Rome to see the sites.
- Unless you stay near a busy street or square with a lot of nightlife or a popular restaurant, you should find this area to be very quiet.
- Parioli is a popular restaurant scene for locals, who enjoy a good selection of traditional and also innovative dining and bar options.
- You will enjoy these Rome neighborhoods just outside the center, for they do offer a glimpse of more lived-in Rome, but it is less convenient to get to all the sites, and you will need to use public transportation.
- The Metro blue line (B) arrives at Piramide, which is somewhat near the Aventine and Testaccio neighborhoods. Otherwise, there are plenty of buses serving these areas.
- The Aventine is home to some of the most elegant and private homes in Rome. There are barely any hotels or restaurants on the hill itself, but there is a lot to choose from in the Testaccio area. Both are safe neighborhoods in Rome.
- Since Testaccio is slightly removed from the city center, you may find some good rates for hotels and B&Bs here.
- Despite the fact that the Aventine is on a hill, you won’t find hotel rooms with city or panoramic views here.
- If staying in one of the few hotels on the Aventine, it should be very quiet since it is such a residential neighborhood of Rome. Testaccio can be much livelier and is an excellent choice for having a real city experience in Rome, but check if you are near any popular pubs/restaurants or squares before booking your hotel.
- Testaccio offers some excellent selections for very local Rome restaurants and bars.
- Staying in the Gianicolo or Monteverde areas can afford you a nice stay in a more relaxed, neighborhood setting, but you are not close to any of the major sites and will need to take public transportation.
- Trams and buses will take you into these neighborhoods high above Rome and behind the Vatican, but there is not a close Metro stop.
- These are safe Rome neighborhoods.
- There is a huge selection of B&B’s, and due to this competition and the distance from the city center, you will likely be able to find some excellent bargains here.
- For a fantastic view of Rome, look for a hotel on the Gianicolo. There are not many of them, and expect to pay more for this privilege.
- For the reasons in the point above, you will likely find this a quiet neighborhood in Rome.
- There are plenty of restaurants in this area, mostly catering to the local crowd.
- EUR is a neighborhood of Rome, but it feels like another city entirely. Built in the 1930’s and 40’s, it has a decidedly fascist architecture and feel. EUR is an absolutely lovely place to live, as there is a (man-made) lake, and lots of green space. There are some important museums and also business centers here, but it is far removed from the center of Rome.
- Most parts of EUR are very safe.
- Staying in hotels or B&Bs in EUR will not necessarily be much less expensive than in more central Rome neighborhoods. As noted above, there are a lot of business centers here, and it’s also close to some other government organizations, making it a popular place to stay for visiting dignitaries or other professionals.
- You may find a high-rise, modern hotel with some views of EUR, but you will not find any with views of Rome from here.
- If you choose to stay in EUR, and you stay right near a metro line (Blue line B), it’s pretty fast and easy to get between EUR and Rome. Alternatively, as EUR is part of Rome, you will find an extensive bus system. You may choose to rent a car, but then parking it in Rome will be a problem.
- You are more likely to find a quiet place to stay in EUR.
- There are plenty of restaurants in all parts of EUR, catering mostly to the locals. There are not (to my knowledge) any great ones, but there is enough to choose from.
- This funky bohemian area outside the tourist sections of Rome is full of student and nightlife, and has a bit of a seedy feel to it. Lots of graffiti and train tracks make it less attractive than other areas but it is well loved by some Rome residents for its fun and lively restaurant and night scene.
- Although it feels a bit downtrodden, like most Rome neighborhoods, it’s safe, but it can feel less so than some other more sedate or posh areas.
- Due to its location away from the center, and its huge student population, and the vast amount of small B&Bs here, you are likely to find very good bargains when looking for a place to stay in Rome.
- Don’t expect to find any room with any view here.
- It’s not on any metro line and you’ll need to take a bus or taxi to get into the center.
- As this area is known for its lively and local nightlife, be careful when choosing your accommodation: check reviews online, ask when booking for a quiet room, or room away from the street.
- Pigneto and San Lorenzo have an excellent selection of cafes, wine bars and restaurants, including some new, up and coming avant-garde restaurants, making their way onto the foodies’ lists.
- I live in the Appio/San Giovanni area and really like it. From my house, I can walk to the Coliseum (20 minutes) and to the San Giovanni Basilica (15 minutes.) It’s a pretty varied area: those parts right near the Basilicia, and all along the Metro line, are all quite congested and shopping oriented. My area, closer to the Latin walls, is much more residential.
- San Giovanni is very residential and well-lit. I feel safe walking here, even at night but as always, be aware of your surroundings.
- The non-center location, along with lots of competition, mean you will find excellent deals for accommodation in Rome here.
- Don’t expect any accommodation with a view in this neighborhood.
- It’s not the most central neighbourhood of Rome, but if you stay right near the Metro line (A), you will be easily able to go into the touristic center of Rome from here. There are also many bus lines that go into the center (remember, buses take a lot longer.)
- Depending on which area of San Giovanni you choose, you may find it loud if near a plaza, bar or popular restaurant.
- There are some very good restaurants in this area, including plenty of Slow Food options, enotecas and more innovative restaurants.
- The Salaria/Nomentana/Trieste neighborhoods are decidedly residential. They are mostly slightly upscale and considered by most Romans to be desirable areas to live in. You will find some more modern architecture here (i.e. from the early 1900’s as well as earlier.)
- For the most part, these Rome neighborhoods are considered to be quite safe.
- There are some B&B options in this area, but also some nicer hotels. Many of these hotels cater to business people and professionals. Don’t expect costs to be that much lower than in the historic center, although they may be slightly less expensive just because they are further away from the touristic center.
- You may find some hotels with partial views onto a park such as villa Ada.
- This is not the easiest area from which to visit Rome. You will need to take buses or taxis. The traffic is almost always intense so either of these options will take a lot of your time.
- Overall, as this is very residential, expect to find more quiet accommodation in Rome here.
- This area is full of excellent restaurants, wine bars and, in particular, pastry shops!
- The Piramide/Ostiense/Garbatella area can be sort of close to some of Rome’s tourist sites, as long as you stay RIGHT by the Piramide station. Even then, it’s still not really walking distance to any of the major sites.
- Parts of this area can be a little seedy at night, particularly right by piramide station along the Ostiense.
- There are not a lot of great accommodation options here, but there are some, and prices will be reasonable, considering the area is quite industrial and far from the center of Rome.
- There are not accommodations with rooms with a view in this neighborhood.
- If you stay near the Piramide station, or otherwise near the metro line, then you will have an easier time getting into the center. Otherwise, you are kind of out of the way.
- The level of noise will depend on whether you stay close to a bar or popular plaza.
- There are some ok local restaurants and pizzerias here, and the enormous and fun-to-visit Eataly is here, but otherwise, it is not the best area in the city for dining.
Rome Neighborhoods - what criteria to consider
When my husband and I ran our B&B in Rome, we got to know all the questions people had about where we were, and so we understood the factors important when trying to decide which neighborhood in Rome to stay in.
So for all the Rome Neighborhoods on this page, I thought you might like to know what criteria I used to evaluate them.
Rome is a pretty safe city with little violent crime, although pickpocketing is unfortunately rampant all over the city. (Always be vigilant when on crowded public transportation and when sitting at outdoor cafe's and restaurants.)
You should feel safe in almost all the neighborhoods I talk about. However, some of them look and FEEL less safe than others, just because they might be a bit grittier. And no matter where you are, it's best to always be aware of your surroundings, as you would in any big city.
Proximity to sites
Rome is a big enough city to wear you out, especially if you try to do too much in one day. But most of the major sites are within walking distance of the historical center. What do I mean by "historical center?"
Technically, even the Termini train station is part of Rome's historical center, but most tourists use this term to refer to the part of Rome that includes the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, and Pantheon (more or less.) If you stay near one of these four areas, then you will be within easy walking distance to most of the main sights.
And if you stay around the historic center, you will have an easier time getting back during the day to rest or drop things off.
Rome has a fairly good public transportation system, including 3 metro lines, and a vast bus system. Rome's metro is a bit limited however … every time they try to dig, they find more ruins!
In any case, between the bus and the metro, you should find it easy to get around Rome if you are not walking (my favourite way to get around but not always feasible.) Walking can be tiring, and might not be the best solution for everyone.
If you are not staying smack in the centre (see above), consider staying close to a Metro stop for the most options. To find out how to get from point A to point B, using Rome's public transportation system, go to ATAC or better yet use Google maps. They are tied to Rome's ATAC system and it works really well.
The area around the Termini train station has the most choice and therefore some of the lowest costs. Believe it or not, there are a lot of very inexpensive places to stay near the Vatican also. For one thing, there is a lot of competition there. For another, it's not actually very central and other Rome sights are less accessible from there.
Other inexpensive (but nice) areas include neighbourhoods just outside the historic center, such as San Giovanni, Salaria, and Testaccio.
The most expensive and poshest places to stay in Rome are on the Via Veneto and around the Spanish Steps. These are the most central and also the most luxurious neighbourhoods in Rome.
Well, this is Rome, a big, bustling, ancient city. There always seems to be work going on to renovate the old structures. On top of this, many buildings just don't have the internal structure (soundproofed walls and ceilings) that prohibits noise between rooms of a given building. On the other hand, many buildings are made of very thick concrete so noise between two buildings is minimal if non-existent.
There are neighborhoods in Rome that tend to be quieter than others? Some residential areas that are upscale and have more space include Prati, Parioli and the Villa Borghese. You will not be as close to the historic center, but you will get a chance to see Rome as (some of) the Romans see it.
There is no one quiet neighborhood in the historic center of Rome, and frankly even in many of the outer neighborhoods. Staying in certain areas will be louder than others, but you can also check with a hotel/B&B you are researching, and ask if they have sound-proofing or otherwise quiet rooms. Also, ask for a room not facing the street.
A room with a view
Despite picture-perfect postcards and calendars, Rome is not really a city that easily affords its visitors with panoramic views, especially from a hotel room.
Yes, there are seven hills of Rome, and lovely views from some of these points (and other lesser hills). But there are not usually hotels on these hills, and even when there are, they just don't offer panoramic views.
If you really want to have a view from your hotel room, you will greatly limit your options.
Even some of the top luxury hotels on via Veneto do not have rooms with a view. The city is just not laid out that way. The buildings are all quite close to one another as in most big, old cities, so rooms/apartments/hotels with views are consequently not that common (with some exceptions of course!)
Perhaps not all of the above considerations are important to you when deciding where to stay in Rome.
If you don't care about being able to walk to most of the sights, then perhaps having good public transportation handy is more important.
Maybe it's not an issue if you don't have a lot of great restaurants nearby, as you either don't care as much about the food (is that possible??) or you will take taxis to get to the restaurants you really want to try (that would be me!)
Rome Neighborhoods - Where would I stay?
If I were coming to Rome as a tourist, and had to pick between these Rome neighborhoods for my stay, I'd probably opt for Piazza Barberini or the Spanish Steps, as they are both so central and also have metro stops. If I was trying to save some money, I'd opt to stay near Santa Maria Maggiore, as it's still pretty central but there is so much competition, you can find really good bargains.
No matter which Rome neighborhood you choose, most of them are quite safe, and with either the bus or metro system, it's almost always easy to get around and to central plazas, monuments and sites.
So don't worry, you can't really go wrong!