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Where to Stay in Rome - The Definitive Guide

Wondering where to stay in Rome? I get this question almost as much as I get "how can I avoid the crowds at the Vatican?"

I love this view of Saint Peter's dome from the terrace bar at the Hotel Atlante Star. This is where we had our wedding reception and spent out wedding night, so it holds a special place for me!

It can be stressful trying to decide where to stay when you visit Rome.

What if you pick the wrong neighborhood and it's too loud/far/icky?

What if you pick a place to stay only to find out the breakfast is horrible or the staff is less than friendly?

I not only live in Rome, I ran a B&B for nearly 18 years with my husband, and we know a lot about Rome accommodation from the perspective of a traveler (you!) and also from behind the scenes. And we are here to help.



Where to stay in Rome - Everything you need to know

On this page, we'll talk about two main factors you should consider when planning where to stay.

You'll also find some suggestions based on my personal knowledge of the Rome hotel scene.

I've got options for every budget, mood, and area of Rome.

First, here are two things that you might consider when picking your accommodation in Rome:

Below, I'll give you just a few options for where to stay in each neighborhood and accommodation type. (If you want to know from someone who's literally been there what the different lodging categories actually mean, skip down here.)

Do you just want to book someplace to stay in Rome now?

Use my interactive Booking.com map below to find locations in and around Rome:

Booking.com

Where to Stay in Rome - which neighborhood is best?

The very first time I came to Rome as a back-packer, I stayed in a hostel near the train station, because it was cheapest and easiest. Today, I’d probably pick a different area.

I don't have anything against Termini. In fact, that's where my husband grew up, and where some of my close friends run a fabulous hostel

beehive hostel near terminiThe Beehive is one of the best places you can stay near Termini, whether you are on a budget or not. I wish they were here when I first visited Rome more than 30 years ago!

But there are other neighbourhoods I love for their character, great restaurants, and proximity to the city center.

On this page, I'm going to give you a quick overview of some Rome neighborhoods, and just a few suggestions for where to stay in each one.

For a more complete description and assessment of the various neighborhoods in Rome, along with interactive map, visit my page about Rome neighborhoods here.

Central Rome

I think the most popular request I hear is for something "central."

Where to stay in Rome that's central? This covers a pretty large area and set of neighborhoods.

I'd consider a neighborhood to be in "central Rome" if you can walk easily to at least two major sights.

trevi fountainThe Trevi Fountain is right in the touristic/historic center of Rome. You can stay nearby and easily walk to many of the major sites and Rome attractions.

The most central Rome Neighborhoods are Piazza Barberini, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, Jewish Ghetto, Celio, and Monti.

From these areas, you will be able to walk to many of the top sites in Rome. They are also all areas with a good concentration of shops, restaurants, and every variation of hotel, B&B, and apartment rental.

Piazza Barberini/Trevi Fountain

Piazza Barberini is at the bottom of the famed via Veneto, it's one piazza over from the top of the Spanish Steps, it's a hop, skip, and a jump from the Trevi Fountain, and, there is a Metro stop. You are near lots of shopping, and there are great options for eating well in the area.

A few ideas for where to stay at Piazza Barberini/Trevi Fountain include:

Spanish Steps/Piazza del Popolo

The Spanish Steps is arguably one of the most central places to stay in Rome. (It also falls into the "luxury neighborhood" category below.) It's physically just about in the middle of all the major tourist attractions, with its own Metro stop, but also two more easily-reached Metro stops (Barberini and Flaminio). You will be smack in the middle of Rome's top shopping district, with plenty of options for places to eat nearby.

A few ideas for where to stay at the Spanish Steps include:

Pantheon/Piazza Navona/Campo dei Fiori/Jewish Ghetto

The neighborhoods of Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, and Jewish Ghetto are not all the same, obviously. But for the purposes of suggesting where to stay in Rome in this area, you can stay in any one of them and be a stone's throw from another. They are all in a small congested area right in the heart of Rome.

A few ideas for where to stay near the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, and Jewish Ghetto include:

Colosseum - Monti/Celio

There's actually so much to see in this area, you could spend a week just visiting ancient Roman sites here. Besides the obvious sites like the Colosseum, Palatine Hill/Roman Forum, and Capitoline Museums, you also have sites like the basilicas of San Clemente and Santi Quattro, the Caracalla Baths, Circus Maximus, and the Mamertine Prison, to name just a few. You will be farther from a lot of the other sites including the Vatican, but there are two Metro stops in the area making it fairly easy to get around. And part os Monti and Celio are just cute cute cute, making it feel like a real local, cosy neighborhood. 

A few ideas for where to stay near the Colosseum include:

Luxurious Rome

If you are looking where to stay in Rome with a more upscale feel, these neighborhoods include Via Veneto (the highest concentration of luxury hotels), Spanish Steps/PopoloParioli (a posh Roman neighborhood but not as central), Prati (a neighborhood near the Vatican that is home to one of the largest concentration of law offices and accounting firms in Rome).

Spanish Steps/Popolo can also be considered a "luxury" area. See above.

Via Veneto/Ludovisi/Villa Borghese

The 5* hotel Excelsior on Rome's famed via Veneto is a classic luxury hotel with top-notch service and amenities.

Via Veneto is one of Rome's most famous streets, thanks in part to its being featured in Federico Fellini's 1960 classic film "La Dolce Vita" (It was also recently featured in another Italian Oscar-winning move "The Great Beauty"). Not only the via Veneto itself but many of the streets in this quiet, upscale part of Rome are wide with ample sidewalks dotted with outdoor café's and some upscale shops as well. You'll find plenty of posh hotel bars, whether inside, up on the terrace, or out on the via Veneto, and one of the highest concentration of 5* luxury hotels here. There are a very few budget hotels in the area as well.

A few ideas for where to stay on or near the via Veneto include:

Parioli

Parioli is definitely more of a local Roman neighborhood. Once you enter the elegant, quiet streets of Rome's best-known area for where "the other half lives", you will almost feel that you are not really in Rome any more. Besides luxury (and budget) accommodation, you'll find local upscale shops and restaurants, and even a few interesting touristic things to do.

A few ideas for where to stay in Parioli include:

Prati

Prati is a pretty large neighborhood across the Tiber from Piazza del Popolo. The word "Prati" means "lawns" or grassy fields. So you can imagine what this once was.

In fact, if you look at a street map of Prati compared to the rest of Rome, especially the historic center, you will see that the streets are laid out in an almost perfect grid. This tells you how modern it is.

The word Prati for Romans evokes the idea of a neighborhood for the well-heeled, and as such has a high concentration of elegant buildings with doctors', accountants', and especially law offices.

Depending on which part of Prati you stay in, you might be very close to a lot of shopping, and to the Vatican. Excellent eating options abound.

A few ideas for where to stay in Prati include (oddly enough there are no 5* hotels right in Prati):

  • Atlante Star 4* hotel (where I had my wedding reception, and where I am in the photo at the top of this page)
  • Hotel della Conciliazione 4* hotel
  • Eccelso Hotel 3* Hotel
  • Bellitalia Vacanze Bed and Breakfast
  • Pompeo Magno White Luxury 8-person Apartment

Not center but still central

There are a lot of great areas that are not right in the historic center of Rome, but which are charming and close enough to the center, or at least easy to reach from the center.

These neighborhoods tend to be where Romans live and work and send their kids to school (even if they do this ALSO in the touristic, historical center of Rome.)

The areas I consider not quite central but still very reachable to/from the center are spread out in different directions, and as such, have very different characters from each other.

These are many of these areas and sometimes they blend in together if they are near each other. The most popular include Trionfale, and Pigneto.

Just a few of my picks for where to stay in Rome in these less central neighborhoods include:

Trastevere

I know I know, Trastevere is on the top of most blogs about where to stay in Rome. I love Trastevere, and I don't even mean from a touristic point of view. It's a really fascinating, historic neighborhood with a lot to see and do.

As places to stay in Rome go, Trastevere is pretty particular. I think this is a great area of Rome to stay in if you've been here before, if you prefer something a little off the beaten track, and/or, if youare looking specifically for quaint/cute/old-world-feeling.

A few ideas for where to stay in Trastevere include:

  • Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - 5* luxury with pool
  • VOI Donna Camilla Savelli 4* hotel (this is where I'd stay!)
  • Horti 14 Borgo 4* hotel
  • Hotel la Rovere 4* hotel
  • Hotel Santa Maria - superior 3* hotel with garden
  • Tolomeo B&B
  • Trastevere Luxury Design Apartment - 6 people

Testaccio

Near the Vatican

San Giovanni/Appio/Tuscolano

Termini/Esquilino/Castro Pretorio

San Lorenzo

Piazza Bologna

Flaminio

Parioli/Salario

Porta Pia/Nomentana/Corso Trieste

Piazza Bologna

Trionfale

Pigneto

Further out

There are a few neighborhoods that are even further out from the center of Rome than the above neighborhoods.

(Frankly some neighborhoods listed above and below could change categories, depending on where exactly you stay in them.)

These areas can offer an interesting experience if you are looking for more green space, a different kind of neighborhood, maybe something more modern, or with less of a big-city feel. You may also not want or need to go into Rome's historic center every day.

You might find yourself staying in one of these neighborhoods because you have an event here, or you are visiting friends, or simply because you found a nice place to stay. There are many of these neighborhoods, depending on how far out we want to talk about.

If you do stay this far out, try to make sure you are near some form of public transportation that will allow you to get into the center easily.

Just a few of my picks for where to stay in Rome in these outer neighborhoods include:

EUR

Aurelio

Prenestino/Centocelle

Garbatella/Ostiense/Portuense

Montesacro

Where to Stay in Rome - what kind of accommodation should you pick?

The second factor in choosing where to stay in Rome is about what kind of accommodation you should book.

The main types of accommodation in Rome include hotels (from 1-5*), B&Bs/Guesthouses, and self-catering apartments. (Hostels mostly fall into the B&B section.)

Some people already know they want to stay in a luxury hotel with a full staff, 24-hour reception, and lots of amenities. 

When you choose to stay at a 5* hotel like the Hotel Inghilterra near the Spanish Steps, you can be sure of a certain level of comfort, luxury, and amenities.

Others know they want a self-catering apartment, without any additional services.

If you are not sure yet which type of accommodation you want, here is what you can expect when you book one of these categories in Rome:

Where to stay in rome - hotels

The first thing I want to tell you about hotels in Rome is that the way stars are awarded in Rome and the rest of Italy may not be what you think

The bottom line is that the star system is based on a check list like whether or not every room has a private en-suite bathroom, where the reception is located, how many languages the staff speaks, etc. You can read about this in more detail on my page about Rome hotel star ratings.

For the purposes of this page, and helping you decide where to stay in Rome, if you want to stay in a hotel, just know that anything in the 1-3* categories will be quite varied.

You may find more style and luxury in a 1* hotel, simply because they couldn't meet the criteria on the checklist for getting a 2nd or 3rd star, than you would at a 3* hotel that checks all the boxes but has rather tired decor and almost no charm.

Once you get into the 4* level, you get more consistency, but do not expect a lot of space or luxury necessarily.

It's only when you get into the 5* luxury category that you can count on a certain level of amenities, because the check list is very long and intensive. For a hotel to meet those requirements, they are going to be offering you the bare minimum of style and luxury in Rome.

Where to stay in Rome - B&Bs/Guest Houses/Inns/Relais

Are you wondering what are all these different accommodation terms you see when you go to book a place to stay?

It's actually a bit more complicated than you might think.

Any property offering accommodation, whether a 5* hotel or a 3-room B&B, must register with the Rome Tourist Board.

Based on many factors they can be classified as hotel, B&Baffittacamere (that is an Italian word literally meaning "room rental", but you can equate it to a B&B with a few more rooms, a guesthouse, or inn), or casa vacanze (that is another Italian phrase meaning "vacation home" and like an affittacamere this gets applied to many types of accommodation).

Factors that dictate how a particular kind of accommodation is classified include zoning, building regulations, number of rooms, and property owner vs. property manager.

Where affittacamere and casa vacanze are concerned, it's unlikely the owner would use those terms to describe their property because most of their guests don't speak Italian.

So they often use terms that have no "legal" meaning here, like inn, relais, guesthouse, townhouse, etc. Some even call themselves "hotel" even if they are not technically in the hotel category.

Why does this matter to you?

It really doesn't. But it's one reason you will find such a huge disparity across all the different places to stay in Rome with these very broad categories.

For more, visit my page all about B&Bs in Rome.

Where to stay in Rome - self-catering apartments

More and more people are opting to stay in self-catering apartments. I think this trend is true in Italy and many parts of the world. There are a lot of good reasons to choose this option like:

  • You plan to stay at least a week and want to have options for eating in.
  • You are coming with a large family/group, and it's much more comfortable and cost-effective to stay in a spacious apartment than trying to book several rooms in a hotel.
  • You like the idea of "living" someplace when you travel there.
  • You prefer not to have daily cleaning service and/or don't want or need other services like breakfast or concierge help.

One of the most reliable services you can use for finding quality apartments in Rome is VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner).

Restaurants

What central Rome neighborhoods have the largest selection of easily accessible good eating? Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Campo Dei Fiori and Trastevere (although the other neighborhoods also have plenty to offer, these four have the highest concentration of good places to try.)

Click here to see my page about Places to Eat in Rome.


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