Where to stay in Rome – Guide to the best Rome neighbourhoods

So huge and overwhelming, it’s not always easy to decide where to stay in Rome. With so much to see and do, if you are not familiar with the city, booking a hotel in Rome can definitely take you more time than you expect.

As one of Europe’s most popular and cherished mainstream tourism destinations, all Rome neighbourhoods have their own appeal. Depending on what holiday you plan, you might prefer an area instead of the other. Find out here what is the best area to stay in Rome for you and your family.

Find the best Rome neighbourhoods to book your hotel

The ultimate guide to the best areas to stay in Rome

Deciding what are the best neighbourhoods in Rome to book your room is pretty personal and depends on the reasons for your trip and on your budget. If you want to visit its historical landmarks, you might want to check out the hotels in Rome city centre or near the Vatican. If you are on a short layover and need to catch a train, coach or plane, you might want to stay near Termini station.

Below, I cover the most convenient areas for sightseeing and some of the best hotels in Rome city centre, while in my eBook I suggest five itineraries to explore five different Rome neighbourhoods. For each of them, I mention the best restaurants and what to see and do. This can be very inspiring if you are still deciding where to stay in Rome.

Centro Storico (Historic Centre) – The best place to stay in Rome for first-time visitors

piazza navona rome city center
Rome’s Piazza Navona

Rome city centre is where most major attractions are. Including two of Rome’s most famous squares, Piazza Navona with its baroque charm and fountains, and Campo de’ Fiori, the piazza symbol of the florist profession as it was in the past. This is considered the very heart of Rome and quite predictably, it’s always packed with tourists.

This Rome neighbourhood is very safe as all around are the government and Parliament palaces so it’s always full of police, Carabinieri and Army.

This is definitely the best area to stay in Rome for first-time visitors as all landmarks are within easy walking reach. Impossible to miss a visit to the Pantheon, a walk along Via del Corso, a stop in the Capitoline Museums and a visit to Campo de’ Fiori and the Jewish Quarter.

I would probably avoid the restaurants offering tourist deal menus right in Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, but even here you can find some nice eateries and gelaterias. Some restaurants that always deliver good quality in this Rome neighbourhood are Da Armando al Pantheon (Salita de’ Crescenzi 31), Da Gino al Parlamento (Via Rosini), Ginger Sapori e Salute (Piazza Sant’Eustachio), Emma Pizzeria con Cucina (Via di Monte della Farina 28).

If you are looking for a good artisan gelato in the city center, some of the best places are Otaleg (Via di S. Cosimato in Trastevere), Fiordiluna (Via della Lungaretta), Gunther Gelato Italiano (Piazza Sant’Eustachio).

If you are wondering where to stay in Rome with kids, this is a great area.

Staying in Rome city centre is for you if:

  • You want a holiday of sightseeing but also trendy nightlife
  • You don’t mind paying a little more in accommodation and restaurants as long as you are in the city centre
  • You don’t mind the mental traffic
  • You want to be surrounded by ancient art and history
  • You don’t mind stumbling on your stilettos as long as you can walk around Rome’s cobbled alleys

What to see in Rome city centre:

  • Campo de’ Fiori
  • Piazza Navona
  • Sant’Agnese in Agone Church
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Farnese
  • Largo Argentina
  • The Jewish Quarter

Top hotels in the city centre:

READ MORE: Check out our complete guide to the best hotels in Rome city centre.

The Spanish Steps – The best location to stay in Rome near famous attractions

rome spanish steps
The Spanish Steps in Rome

This is absolutely one of the most luxurious areas to stay in Rome. The Spanish Steps are extremely touristy and Via Veneto is the historical street where celebrities liked to hang out in Rome’s golden era, namely the ’50s and ’60s. Via Veneto is in the quarter called Rione Ludovisi and it borders with the historical Rome area Campo Marzio.

Just to be clear, the vibe here is largely exclusive boutiques, opulent hotels, semi-hidden gems for the in-the-know traveller and elegant restaurants. With all the main landmarks within a pleasant strolling reach and well connected via public transport, this is definitely one of the most exclusive places to stay in Rome.

Very close to the city center, here too, it might not be easy to find good quality restaurants. For a tasty and casual meal with a wide menu, head to Ginger Sapori e Saluti (Via Borgognona), for a delicious vegetarian dinner or buffet lunch, don’t miss Il Margutta (Via Margutta 118). For a great gelato near the Spanish Steps, head to Gelateria dei Gracchi (Via di Ripetta) or Fata Morgana (Via Laurina).

Staying near the Spanish Steps is for you if:

  • You enjoy luxury in all its forms
  • You like to feel like a celebrity
  • You want to explore lesser-known Roman landmarks

Landmarks near the Spanish Steps

  • The Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna
  • Via dei Condotti luxury shopping street
  • Via Margutta
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Via del Corso shopping street
  • Via del Babuino
  • Ara Pacis
  • Capuchins Crypt
  • Palazzo Barberini

Top hotels near the Spanish Steps

Trastevere – Best neighbourhood to stay in Rome for tourists and nightlife

trastevere rome tourist neighborhood
The main piazza in Trastevere neighbourhood

Famous for its nightlife, Trastevere is a bustling neighbourhood at any time of the day. Popular among American students for the presence of John Cabbott University, this is a young area of Rome.

The charm of this gentrified district stems from its old buildings, narrow alleys, and traditional shops and restaurants. Its quaint alleys and trendy nightlife are what makes it for one of the best Rome neighbourhoods for first-time visitors.

Trastevere has it all. Here, you can lead the typical tourist life in the heart of the city as well as witness the local life of residents working and going about their daily life and chores.

Among the landmarks to visit, don’t miss Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica, Raphael’s frescoes in Villa Farnesina, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica and the Museum of Rome, and Santa Maria della Scala ancient pharmacy.

Trastevere is also one of the best places in Rome city center for eating out. Some of the best restaurants and pizza places? Da Enzo al 29 (Via dei Vascellari 29), Seu Pizza Illuminati (Via Angelo Bargoni 10), Trapizzino (Piazza Trilussa), Glass Hostaria (Vicolo de’ Cinque 58). Craving an ice cream? Try Otaleg (Via di San Cosimato 14a), Fiordiluna (Via della Lungaretta 96) and Fatamorgana (Via Roma Libera 11).

READ MORE: The ultimate guide to the best gelato in Rome

Staying in Trastevere is for you if:

  • You don’t mind daily crowds
  • You like to walk and don’t need much of public transport
  • You want a vibrant nightlife
  • You like quaint cobbled alleys

What to do in Trastevere:

  • Trastevere neighbourhood itself
  • The Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
  • Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
  • Villa Farnesina and Raphael’s frescoes

Top hotels in Trastevere:

Trevi – The best area to stay in Rome close to most attractions

Trevi, one of the best neighborhoods in Rome
Trevi, one of the best neighborhoods in Rome

Trevi neighborhood is all about tourist places. This small quarter turns around its claim to fame, the gorgeous Baroque Trevi Fountain.

A central historical hub, this quarter was ruled by the Colonna family during the Middle Ages. In the Renaissance, it was dominated by the presence of the papal “royal mansion” that today is the Quirinale presidential palace. A notable resident of this upscale Rome neighborhood was Michelangelo Buonarroti, who died here very old and alone.

This is probably the best location to stay in Rome if you want to be in the heart of tourist life. Major attractions, restaurants, shops, cafes and all you can think of are here. Plus, with an easy walk, you reach Via del Corso, one of the most store-packed streets in Rome, and from there you will easily reach the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps and the rest of the city’s attractions.

This is one of the best areas where to stay in Rome for 3 days if you are visiting for sightseeing and exploring the city center.

Many restaurants of this Rome neighborhood have probably tourist quality, but it’s not uncommon to find pretty good ones. For a delicious pizza a stone’s throw from the Trevi Fountain, I suggest Piccolo Buco (Via del Lavatore 91), Trattoria Al Moro (Vicolo delle Bollette 13), Colline Emiliane (Via degli Avignonesi 22), Piccolo Arancio (Vicolo Scanderbeg 112). For a good artisan gelato nearby, rely on San Crispino (Via della Panetteria 42) and you won’t be disappointed.

READ MORE: The ultimate guide to the best pizza in Rome

Staying near the Trevi Fountain is for you if:

  • You don’t mind crowds day and night
  • You like to get lost in narrow Roman alleys
  • You want to be the first one to photograph an empty Trevi Fountain in the morning

What to see in Trevi area:

  • Trevi Fountain
  • Quirinale
  • Via del Tritone
  • Piazza Ss. Apostoli

Top Hotels in Trevi neighbourhood:

READ MORE: For affordable accommodation in the city center and other neighorhoods, check out our guide to the cheaper hotels in Rome.

Monti and Celio – The best areas in Rome for nightlife and visiting Ancient Rome

monti and celio best areas to stay in rome

Trendy and historic neighborhoods in Rome, Monti and Celio are a stone’s throw from Termini train station yet it has lost the shabby feel the station around the area still has.

Here, you will find good restaurants and pubs that managed to find a good balance between the touristy and the “authentic”, giving foreign visitors a perfect experience. Weekends are crowded, and if you are driving, make sure you know you are bound to walk as finding parking nearby is pretty hard.

This is a great neighborhood where to stay in Rome for 3 days for first-time visitors who want to discover the relics of the imperial times such as the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla.

READ MORE: Check out my best tips for visiting the Colosseum.

Staying in Monti/Celio is for you if:

  • You like trendy clubs and nightlife
  • You don’t mind traffic and noise
  • You have serious shopping intentions

What to see in Monti and Celio neighbourhood:

  • The Colosseum
  • The Roman Forum
  • The Baths of Caracalla
  • Museo Nazionale Romano
  • Piazza Repubblica
  • Fontana dei Catecumeni
  • San Pietro in Vincoli Basilica
  • Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
  • Santa Pudenziana Basilica

Top hotels in Rione Monti and Celio:

Aventino – The best neighbourhood to stay in Rome for history and great views

A view from the Garden of the Oranges on the Aventine Hill, one of the most romantic neighborhoods in Rome
A view from the Garden of the Oranges on Aventine Hill, one of the most romantic views in Rome

Close to Celio area, Aventine Hill is the best place to stay in Rome for tourists who are not afraid of walking and want to explore ancient and medieval history.

Here is where you will find plenty of history and discover fascinating hidden gems like underground Mithra temples and ancient Roman houses. From the Aventine Hill’s Orange Garden, close to Santa Sabina Basilica, you can also enjoy a great view of Rome’s city center and landmarks.

This is definitely the best hotel location in Rome to be right in its pulsing heart but not among the crowds.

To eat, I would suggest heading to Testaccio, where you are going to find for sure a better selection of eateries of all types. You can also head towards the city center, where there’s no lack of restaurants and coffee shops.

On the other hand, for your sweet tooth, there are quite a few delicious options. Try Torcé (Viale Aventino 59) and Biolee (Viale Aventino 30) for a fantastic gelato or Casa Manfredi (Viale Aventino 91) for scrumptious pastries.

Staying in the Aventine Hill is for you if:

  • You want to be close to the city center
  • You want to do historical sightseeing
  • You want a quiet neighborhood
  • You don’t mind uphill walks
  • You want to discover hidden gems

What to see in Aventine Hill:

  • Santa Sabina Basilica
  • Knights of Malta Keyhole
  • Rome’s Rose Garden
  • Sant’Anselmo Basilica
  • The Orange Garden

Top hotels in the Aventine Hill:

READ MORE: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Rome’s Aventine Hill.

Prati and Trionfale – Where to stay in Rome near the Vatican

vatican where to stay in rome
The beautiful Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica

If you are still wondering what is the best area to stay in Rome, this is one of my favourites. Great restaurants, nice pubs and bistros, enticing shopping streets, close to major tourists landmarks yet more a residential vibe.

It’s well connected with public transport such as buses and metro and has also a large daily market where you can do your own grocery shopping, Mercato Trionfale.

It’s the area right around the Vatican, so you will definitely see a lot of tourists, but in the evening you can relax with a more “local” feel. This is one of the best neighborhoods in Rome for first-time visitors, sightseeing and experiencing local life.

Staying in Prati and Trionfale is for you if:

  • You like to get out of the crowd in the evening
  • You like to feel like a local
  • You prefer a residential area rather than a touristy one

What to see in Prati and Trionfale:

  • The Vatican Museums
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Hadrian Mausoleum
  • Piazza Cavour
  • Via Cola di Rienzo shopping street
  • Via Ottaviano shopping street

Top hotels in Prati and Trionfale neighborhoods:

READ MORE: Check out our detailed guide for more hotels near the Vatican.

Testaccio – One of the best areas in Rome to mingle with locals

non-catholic cemetery testaccio rome
The non-Catholic cemetery in Testaccio, one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Rome

With all the diverse range of things to do and places to eat it has, I love this district. If you ask me, this is one of the best places to stay in Rome. It’s well-connected with the other areas via public transport including tram, bus, train and metro and has a lovely, traditional vibe.

Testaccio is one of the best neighborhoods in Rome to experience the genuine, traditional life. Between the lively Mercato Testaccio selling fresh local produce as well as hearty sandwiches and tempting Sicilian pastries, and the non-Catholic cemetery, here you can totally spend half a day or even a whole day.

Thankfully, it doesn’t lack in excellent places to eat. Do you want a casual, hearty pizza/sandwich? Head to Trapizzino (Via Giovanni Branca 88). Do you prefer to sit comfortably while enjoying a delicious traditional meal? Da Felice a Testaccio (Via Mastro Giorgio 29) is your best bet. While for a vegan organic buffet lunch, 100% Bio (Piazza di Porta S. Paolo 6a) is excellent and so is Brivido (Via Giovanni Battista Bodoni 62) for fantastic artisan gelato.

If you are wondering what are the best neighborhoods to stay in Rome, Testaccio is a good choice for an authentic experience close to the most touristy piazzas.

Staying in Testaccio is for you if:

  • You want to experience genuine Roman life
  • You want to eat great traditional Roman dishes
  • You like to explore lesser-known landmarks
  • You don’t mind using public transport to the city center
  • You want more affordable accommodation

What to see in Testaccio:

  • Non-Catholic Cemetery
  • Pyramid of Cestius
  • Street art
  • Mercato Testaccio
  • Macro Testaccio Museum

Top hotels in Testaccio:

Ostiense – Where to stay in Rome for modern history and street art

gasometer in ostiense rome neighborhood
The main Gasometer not in use anymore in Rome’s cool neighborhood Ostiense

Former industrial district, in Ostiense you can see the relics of Rome’s industrial archaeology in the old Gasometer, the general warehouses and the old power plant now turned into a fascinating museum, Centrale Montemartini. Even just a stroll around Ostiense will reveal its trendy and colorful side with a series of murals by international street artists along Via Ostiense, Via dei Magazzini Generali and Via del Porto Fluviale.

With a short and pleasant walk, you can reach also the large and important Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls and the cobra-shaped bridge named after Settimia Spizzichino.

Once an entirely working-class district, now Ostiense is one of the cool Rome neighborhoods with plenty of restaurants and coffee shops. Some of the nicest restaurants in the area are Trattoria Pennestri (Via Giovanni da Empoli 5) for a blend of tradition and new age, Porto Fluviale open all day for every meal or casual snack (Via del Porto Fluviale 22) and Romeow Cat Bistrot (Via Francesco Negri 15). For a gelato, you can stop at La Romana (Via Ostiense 48) and for a great maritozzo for breakfast, you can try Andreotti (Via Ostiense 54).

Staying in Ostiense is for you if:

  • You like contemporary history
  • You are interested in Rome’s industrial archaeology
  • You like street art
  • You like local restaurants

What to see in Ostiense:

  • The Gasometer
  • Street art
  • Centrale Montemartini
  • Garbatella neighborhood
  • Settimia Spizzichino Bridge
  • San Paolo Fuori Le Mura Basilica

Top hotels in Ostiense

Castro Pretorio and Esquilino – Rome neighborhoods near Termini train station

rome mercato esquilino
Exotic flavours at Mercato Esquilino food market in Rome

Very busy area, Castro Pretorio and Stazione Termini are well-connected to all other neighborhoods and are close to pretty much anything you will be looking for, from restaurants to landmarks to different nightlife options.

While the surroundings of Stazione Termini were once considered unsafe, especially at night, now it’s really not the case. Mind you, pretty much everywhere around train stations at night is not ideal, but Castro Pretorio is not an unsafe neighbourhood.

Bordering with the Sallustiano area, here you can find some of the best gelato (Come Il Latte) and pizza by the slice (Pinsere) in Rome. While on the other side of the Termini train station is the lively Esquilino neighborhood, Rome’s multicultural district. Here, you will find shops, goods, and ingredients literally from all over the world.

Staying near Termini station is for you if:

  • You don’t mind traffic
  • You want to be in the middle of the hectic Roman life
  • You want to be close to Rome’s main train station and bus hub
  • You enjoy a multicultural vibe

What to see in Castro Pretorio neighbourhood near Termini train station:

  • Piazza della Repubblica (Piazza Esedra)
  • Diocletian Baths
  • Santa Maria degli Angeli Basilica
  • Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica
  • Santa Prassede Basilica
  • Santa Pudenziana Basilica
  • Nuovo Mercato Esquilino

Top hotels in Castro Pretorio near Termini Station:

READ MORE: Are you on a short layover or on a business trip to Rome? Check out more hotels near Stazione Termini.

Parioli and Villa Borghese – Where to stay in Rome residential areas close to a park

villa borghese rome
Villa Borghese park in Rome

The “posh” district in Rome, Parioli is very much a residential area and at night, apart from some bars and restaurants, pretty quiet.

The area includes two of the most important parks in Rome, Villa Borghese and Villa Ada. So it’s ideal if you like to spend time in nature and you cherish your jogging/cycling routine.

There are also several lesser-known landmarks to visit if you are a fan of offbeat traveling. Parioli is one of Rome neighborhoods where you are more likely to find locals rather than tourists. This is the best area to stay in Rome if you like quiet nights, a residential area and want to enjoy walks in the park.

Staying near Villa Borghese is for you if:

  • You like to stay in nature
  • You prefer residential areas
  • You don’t mind higher prices
  • You don’t mind taking public transport to reach the city center

What to see near Villa Borghese:

  • Villa Borghese
  • Villa Ada
  • Santa Ilaria Catacombs
  • Villa Grazioli
  • Mosque of Rome
  • San Valentino Church
  • San Roberto Bellarmino Church
  • San Luigi Gonzaga Church

Top hotels near Villa Borghese:

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