Wondering where to start when it comes to finding the best area to stay in Rome? Here's our inside guide to the best neighbourhoods in Rome to help you out, together with advice on Rome hotels, rooms and restaurants. There's even a map as well.
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Looking for a quick answer? My top pick for the best neighbourhood in Rome for first time visitors Trastevere. It avoids the crush of the centre, offers authenticity with a splash of romantic charm, and is well connected to the rest of the city. It also has great food.
I've also put my top pick of the best places to stay in Rome at the top for you as well if you're in a rush. Otherwise, read on...
Trastevere is the place of Italian soft-focus postcard shots. It's where you'll find tumbling flowers, crumbling stone, lanterns, laughter and fresh food markets.
It's close enough to allow you to walk to the key sights of Rome. But far enough out to make you feel less of a processed, salami-sliced tourist. It's also a good spot for nightlife, but not too intrusive if you're travelling as a family.
As you've probably guessed by now, I'd probably still recommend Trastevere. However, if you're short on time and desperate to hit the big sites - the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum and Pantheon, well, who can blame you?
Staying in the historic centre will help with this as you can cut down on your transit time. Rome is quite hilly, the streets are often uneven and the traffic means you can never switch off, but it is surprisingly walkable.
With a week in Rome, you may prefer to stay out of the centre, especially in the crush of summer when half the world seems intent on joining you.
Escape to Aventine Hill and her leafy Art Deco villas and catch the sunset from the Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden.)
To be honest, this isn't my strong point any more! Evening chatter and dinner, yes. In which case, Trastevere is great. Hard, pulsing nightclubs? Not so much. That said, night owls recommend San Lorenzo for a studenty feel or Pigneto, east of Termini.
Testaccio may be further out of town than other neighbourhoods, but it's one of the best places to stay in Rome for food. It's partly due to the fresh food market but who knows? Maybe the ancient Roman pyramid and slaughterhouse turned art gallery keep the chefs inspired.
And anyway. It's not too far from the main spots: just take a tram or Metro Line B.
The historic centre - or centro historico - allows you to notch up the sights and attractions of Rome on your feet in record time. Of course, you won't be the first to have thought of this and so you're unlikely to find an authentic, local, back street vibe. But you have to prioritise, right?
When it comes to solo travel, I think it depends on how long you'll be somewhere. If you're only staying for one night (and you're arriving late at night) then either take an official taxi straight to your hotel. Or...make the journey with your luggage easy by staying close to a main train station (in this case Roma Termini train station.)
I know, I know, train stations are often slightly dodgy areas. But if you're going to have to walk through a dodgy area anyway, why not stay there? Reduces the time spent walking through the dodgy part of town - and the backache from carrying your luggage. You can then also leave your luggage close to your connecting station automatically.
Of course, with more time available, head wherever you like. Just make sure the transport options are safe and enjoyable back to your accommodation in the evenings.
Caveats first. You can be unlucky anywhere and, of course, lucky in the dodgy parts of town. But still, there are some places best avoided - and luckily this is easy to do. Local opinions vary, but in general, avoid these neighbourhoods in Rome: Centocelle, Torpignattara, Torbellamonaca, Esquilino, San Basilio, Corviale, Trullo, Torre Angela.
I love Trastevere for her tiny but tasty food spots, narrow cobbled streets, friendly energy after dark and more. As discussed aplenty!
Ah, the gloss, the glamour! Tridente includes many of Rome's most beloved treasures: the flamboyant Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps and the churches around the Piazza del Popolo. In between those, fashion houses Gucci, Fendi and Valentino jostle for position.
Monti may be eclectic and bohemian (and doesn't the name sound like it?) but it's right next to one of the oldest symbols of Rome: the Colosseum. Amid vintage boutiques, hip wine bars and family trattorias lie other splendours of ancient Rome, from Trajan's market to Nero's Domus Aurea.
Prati also makes one of the best places to stay in Rome, with its leafy boulevards, cocktail lounges and art nouveau influence. It includes the stately Castel Sant’Angelo and lies within easy walking distance of Vatican City, a place that hardly needs an introduction.
The Centro Storico has all the cobbled streets your heart could desire. It also has trattorias, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Renaissance Palaces, stylish bars and street artists. What it doesn't have is peace and quiet, particularly after nine o'clock on a summer's morning, when all the world and their selfie stick descend.
Embassies, luxury hotels and banks crowd around the Via Veneto, home for Fellini's La Dolce Vita and many a dreamer after him. It's a place to sip coffee and people watch, with the beautiful Villa Borghese Park at one end, the Barberini metro stop at the other.
As usual, the area around Rome's main transport hubs isn't the prettiest neighbourhood in town. But it is convenient. Metro lines A and B cross here and there are direct connections to Fiumicino Airport. A note of caution after dark, but if travelling in groups and in a streetwise fashion, all should be well.
Testaccio mixes innovative new cuisine with authentic traditional fare and is typically thought of as the food neighbourhood of Rome. You'll need to use public transport to connect to Rome's main attractions but it's easy enough by tram or Metro Line B.
The Rome Metro is one of the smallest in Europe, but can still feel a little overwhelming at first. Each time officials try to extend the transport network, another ancient archaeological wonder is discovered...
That said, it's pretty reliable and hiring a car is not recommended in the centre of Rome. Top hotels will offer either shuttles or taxis. Walking around the central part of Rome is a must.
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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