Finding the best area to stay in Rome can be an overwhelming task. I’ve spent a lot of time in Rome before moving to the States and I know how difficult it is to decide where to stay when you come here for the first time. The city has many beautiful neighborhoods, but people’s interests, preferences, and budgets are quite different. In this article I’m going to break down the best areas to stay in Rome in order to help you decide which one is the best for you.
Centro Storico (Historic Center)
Location, location, location! The most desirable area to stay in Rome is undoubtedly its historic center – the area around the Pantheon, Campo Fiori and Piazza Navona. The historic center (Il Centro Storico) is everything you ever dreamed about Rome: ancient ruins, baroque architecture, old churches, charming squares and winding medieval streets. This is where you’ll find the most beautiful squares and fountains and you’ll be surrounded by incredible sights. Hotels in this area tend to be small (boutique style) and very expensive. But if you want to be within a few minutes walk to most of Rome’s major attractions, you can’t beat this location.
Trastevere is one of my favorite places to stay in Rome. A lovely medieval neighborhood with great restaurants, beautiful baroque architecture, narrow cobbled streets, and charming piazzas. If you are looking for a quieter area not far from the historic center, then Trastevere is the right place for you. From here you can easily visit the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Forums, and other attractions in the historic center. However, if you plan to see all the tourist attractions in Rome, you will need to use public transportation. Hotels in Trastevere are a little more affordable than in the historic center.
Monti would probably be my second choice for staying in Rome. This tiny area that spreads between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum was once the red-light district of ancient Rome. Today, Monti is packed with traditional trattorias, chic boutiques and lots of bars and hip cafés where the locals hang out. Monti is not as touristy as Trastevere and Centro Storico, although it’s just a stone’s throw from Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The area has good access to public transportation. In terms of accommodations, there are a number of nice boutique hotels in the area, apartments and bed-and-breakfasts in the area.
Termini Station is the main transportation hub in the City Center and Rome’s main train station. This is where the airport express train and bus arrive, and the two metro lines intersect. Also, here is where all hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses stop. The immediate surrounding of the Termini Station are a maze of hectic streets with cheap shops and food markets. As you move away from the station, you’ll find hotels and restaurants on almost every street and for every budget.
In terms of sites, this area isn’t blessed with much and is not particularly charming. You won’t find the same atmosphere as in the Historic Center, or Trastevere. The two biggest attractions to see here are the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Diocletian’s Baths. Because of the number of hotels in the immediate vicinity, room rates are very competitive. Although major crime is very unlikely, petty crime (particularly pickpockets) is more frequent in this area. Termini is ideal location for budget travelers and people who want mobility.
So What’s the Best Area to Stay in Rome?
I’ve covered some of the best neighborhoods to stay in Rome. I hope you now have a better idea of where you’ll want to stay during your visit. Rome is one the world’s most fascinating cities. Regardless of where you choose to stay, you’ll have an amazing time here. Because there is just so much to see and do in Rome, you should plan on spending at least 4-5 night here.