Getting ready for your first trip to Rome and wonder where to stay? Finding the best neighborhood in a big city like Rome can be an overwhelming task. We’ve spent a few good weeks in the Eternal City before moving to the States. I know firsthand how difficult it is to decide where to stay in Rome when you first come here. There are many beautiful places and many safe areas in Rome, but people’s interests, preferences, and budgets are quite different. In this article I’m going to take you through some of the best areas to stay in Rome in order to help you decide which one is a good match for you.
Guide to Rome Neighborhoods
Centro Storico (Historic Center) – Best Neighborhood for Sightseeing
Location, location, location! One of the best places to stay in Rome is the historic center (Il Centro Storico) – the area around the Pantheon, Campo Fiori and Piazza Navona. 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. The historic center is one of the best parts of Rome, so it’s hard to beat this location. Staying here will insure that you are within walking distance from most of Rome’s attractions, therefore Centro Storico is one of the most convenient areas to stay if you are a first time visitor.
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.
Where to Stay in Centro Storico
Here are some excellent hotels in Centro Storico, Rome, to can choose from.
Trastevere – Most Romantic Neighborhood
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. Trastevere is one of Rome’s most lively districts and the best neighborhood for nightlife. If you are looking for a quieter area not far from the historic center that buzzes with activity and crowds of locals, 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.
Where to Stay in Trastevere
Monti – Best Neighborhood for Local Vibe
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.
Where to Stay in Monti
Termini – Best Neighborhood for Budget Travelers
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.
The area around Termini station is often considered to be a more dangerous part of town, so you should be on your guard on streets like Via Giolitti.
As you move away from the station, you’ll find hotels and restaurants on almost every street and for every budget. This area is probably the best location to stay in Rome if you are on a tight budget. It is also very convenient if you want to be close to all public transportation.
In terms of sites, Termini isn’t blessed with much and is not particularly charming. You won’t find the same atmosphere as in the Historic Center, or in 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 a good location to stay in Rome for budget travelers and for people who want mobility.
Where to Stay around Termini Station
Prati – The Safest Area to Stay in Rome
Despite being Rome’s designer shopping district, Prati is one of the quietest areas in Rome. It is an affluent residential neighborhood, very close to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. Prati is a well-connected part of town, without being stuck in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s easy to get to by metro and has loads of good hotels and eateries to choose from. Because of its close proximity to the Pope’s residence, Prati is also of the safest neighborhoods in Rome.
Where to Stay in Prati
Here is a list of good hotels in Prati you can choose from.
So what is the best area to stay in Rome?
I’ve covered some of the best neighborhoods to stay in Rome for first time visitors. I hope the information I provided will make it easier for you to decide what’s the best area for you. Don’t get intimidated by the popularity of this city. Most areas in Rome are quite safe and with some careful planning you can find pretty good deals.
If you are traveling on a budget, I recommend you check out this post about the best budget hotels in Rome. Another good place to check for hotel deals is on HotelsCombined, a World’s Leading Hotel Comparison Website.
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 days here.
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