Where To Stay In Rome: A Cheat Sheet

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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where to stay in Rome

Want the inside scoop on where to stay in Rome?

You’ve booked your plane ticket – but that’s only half the pre-vacay work.

We want you to know what The Eternal City looks and feels like before you go.

Each area in Rome has a different vibe, so planning where to stay in Rome neighborhoods in advance is essential.

We don’t just “wing” it when we travel to Rome.

Do you want to spend most of your time in the midst of monuments, or strolling with a slower-paced crowd?

Are you more of a foodie, or do you love getting to know the behind-the-scenes of a city?

How do you choose which neighborhood in Rome to stay in?

You only have so much holiday time, and you want to make the most of it.

Voila, here’s your ultimate guide to neighborhoods in Rome — for savvy travelers.

Stop Googling, and let’s sort out your Rome questions once and for all.

What you need to consider before you go to Rome:

You know that we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to planning trips.

We take so much into consideration – like how long you’re staying, what you love to do and planning around flight times.

We’re picky, but diving into details now is what makes for remember-forever moments later.

Before we dive into our fave neighborhoods in Rome to stay in, here are some questions to consider before creating your itinerary:

1. How long are you staying in Rome?

If you have just one night and want to stay in the thick of it – stay right in the center near Piazza Navona or the Spanish Steps (considered “centro storico” — the historical center). Four nights or more – consider staying in one of the lesser known neighborhoods, like San Giovanni. More deets in our Rome city guide.

2. Are you more into food, art or history?

If you’re a diehard foodie, stay in a tasty hood – like Monti or Testaccio. Wanna shack up with Michelangelo instead of a plate of cacio e pepe? Art lovers will be most at home in Monti if they dig street art, and anywhere else really, for the good stuff. History buffs who want to see the main sights – staying in Centro Storico (the historic center) gives you more hours to see as much as you can.

3. Hotel or Airbnb?

Staying in a hotel? Double check that it has front desk concierge or room service, if that’s important to you (not all Rome hotels do). If you have an early flight, choose a hotel with 24-hour concierge so that they can help you with a taxi to the airport. Get our hotel recommendations for Rome here. Airbnb’ing – check out what we like to consider when choosing the best Airbnb in Italy.

where to stay in rome historical center

Where to stay in Rome?

Our personal neighborhood faves are Monti, Testaccio and The Ghetto. There’s no shortage of fab spots though, so take your pick!

Here’s the mega-list of neighborhoods in Rome, for every kind of traveler:

Monti

We love Monti for its proximity to the subway, the sights, and its choice of restaurants and bars. It’s boho and oh-so-artsy. If you lived here a decade ago, you were hip and dressed up to be seen. The buzz and charm still linger in its crooked low-rises and bustling wine bars.

As they border one another, don’t confuse this area with Esquilino, where main Termini train station, and the largest concentration of all hotels in Rome, is located. Although a super convenient area for metro travel, as well as bus and airport connections, the streets directly surrounding Termini leave something to be desired after dark. Termini hotels should be selected carefully and used for practical reasons, like if you find yourself traveling by train from another part of Italy and staying in Rome before a flight.

where to stay in rome Monti neighborhood

Testaccio

Testaccio is one of the few neighborhoods left that has retained its “Romanness”. We like how close it is to both the tram and the subway, and Mercati Generali (a produce market serving all markets in Rome, which has now been moved outside the city). The restaurants, bakeries and bars here are always busy, and nightlife ramps up to the max in the summer.

The Jewish Ghetto

Close to the Tiber River, the tiny ghetto has tons of main sights and renowned restaurants squeezed into it. Super convenient for nightlife, eating out and visiting Trastevere. And, filled with lots of cute oldie couples we aspire to be. Heads up: if you stay here, keep your distance from the ruckus of Campo dei Fiori if you actually want to sleep.

where to stay in Rome Jewish Quarter

Centro Storico (Historical Center)

If it’s your first time in Rome, you’ll check off tons of main attractions right here. Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Campo dei Fiori. The only trade-off to being surrounded by picture postcard scenes is that restaurants here tend to be so-so and overpriced, and it will be the most expensive area in town to stay in.

where to stay in Rome Centro Storico

Celio/Colosseo/Colle Oppio

The Colosseum’s palette paints this hood in earthy colors like ochre, sand and dusty rose. Not fancy, but charming. Where you’ll find a good mix of Italians and foreign renters. We like that it’s gay-friendly, well-lit, safe and centrally located enough to access the #3 tram and the Colosseo subway. The Colle Oppio and Celio side is quieter, but a nice escape from daily chaos.

where to stay in rome colosseo district

San Giovanni

So named for the basilica whose facade can be seen from all of Rome’s high points. Gorgeous Liberty architecture puts up a fight with the unattractive 70s high rises here. Stay here if you like a safe, average Roman neighborhood with non-gougy tourist rate food and coffee, yet close enough to the subway line (Metro A) to quickly connect with more mainstream Rome areas.

where to stay in Rome San Giovanni

Trastevere

Trastevere means “across the Tiber” and refers to the area on the other side of the river on the western bank. Most people come to visit the part closest to the river between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Sublicio, which is the older part of Trastevere where almost every narrow street is a postcard perfect image. It’s the place to stay if you can’t get enough of Rome’s picturesque alleys – and don’t mind cute Italians cruising on motorbikes outside your window. A quick tram ride or 10-minute walk across the bridge gets you right to the historic center.

where to stay in Rome Trastevere

Parioli

Parioli is perched atop pretty hills with even prettier views of Rome. The best spot to stay in Rome if you dig a more affluent neighborhood that’s home to some of the best dining and nightlife in the city. It’s the kind of place where every street is lined with trees and every building feels distinguished. Staying here is worth it if you’re willing to part with your euros on exclusive experiences. Be prepared to walk a bit or cab around.

where to stay in Rome Parioli

Pigneto

Pigneto is a real working neighborhood. Prices in regular shops (bakery, grocery) are low compared to most central areas – you can find some real bargains on accommodation here. We love the mix of crumbling original buildings, delightful semi-detached villas and occasional high-rise. Stay here to get a feel for real everyday multicultural Roman life, but take note – it can be a little dodgy at night. It’s 10 minutes away from the historic center by train or tram.

Garbatella

The core of Garbatella was a planned neighborhood built on the “Garden City” concept. Still, this is the quintessential Roman neighborhood embodying every stereotype: vintage Fiat 500s, little old ladies beating dust out of carpets and lively courtyards. Bonus: the fading paint on the buildings makes for beautiful sunsets.

where to stay garbatella

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Want more insider intel on Rome?

Get your hands on Gigi Guides: City Guide to Rome where we spell out our hotel and Airbnb recs for each of these neighborhoods, plus where to eat and secret spots our team has curated. People who live in Rome write our city guides — so know you’re traveling with real advice.

Here are more blog posts, too:

Now, over to you.

Where are you thinking of staying in Rome? What questions do you still have about picking the best neighborhood for you? Share with us in the comments below regarding where to stay in Rome — we love to add to the conversation.

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