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When planning to visit a new city, one of the toughest decisions to make is where to stay. It’s hard to know which areas are nice and which you’d rather avoid. In Rome, some neighborhoods will leave you with a taste of la dolce vita, while others will likely leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. As long as you know where to stay in Rome, you’ll be well on your way to having a wonderful time in the Eternal City.
Here are four of the best areas to stay in while visiting Rome, Italy.
1. City Center
If you’re a first-time visitor to Rome, or you’re only there for a couple days, you’ll probably want to stay in the city center. This is the most touristy part of the city, but if you’re short on time and want to see all the major attractions, you’ll want to stay here.
The city center can be vaguely defined as the area between Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo, extending a few blocks in each direction off Via Del Corso. In this area you’ll find many of the city’s most popular landmarks, including the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), and Spanish Steps. Plus, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are just on the other side of Piazza Venezia.
In the city center, you need only to wander around on foot in order to experience the best of the city. Relics from the city’s ancient past are around every corner, historical monuments dot the seemingly countless piazzas, and gelato shops abound. Plus, you’ll be able to shop as much as you like along bustling Via Del Corso.
There are many, many hotel options in this area. For a somewhat budget-friendly option, check out 9 Hotel Cesari near the Pantheon. For a luxury option, try The Westin Excelsior on Via Veneto, not far from the Spanish Steps.
While there are advantages to staying in the city center, there are drawbacks as well. Namely, it’s usually very busy. As the touristy part of the city, this also means there are plenty of tourist traps and bad restaurants to navigate as well. (For a great restaurant in the city center, try L’Antica Birreria Peroni.)
As long as you’re comfortable managing the crowds and confident in your ability to avoid underwhelming food, you’ll be able to enjoy your time here. Also, being in a touristy area can be a plus if you’re visiting around a holiday like Christmas or Easter, as more shops will likely be open there.
If you’re looking to be in the middle of the action and don’t mind the crowds that come with it, the city center is the spot for you.
Monti is a bit of a hidden gem in Rome. This trendy neighborhood is just about a 10-minute walk from the Colosseum, yet somehow isn’t full of tourists.
This neighborhood is full of great restaurants, quaint cafes, and stylish boutiques. It’s also home to Mercato Monti Urban Market, an indoor market full of vintage clothing and retro treasures.
Locals and visitors congregate in the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti and its Fontana dei Catecumeni. It’s a great spot to relax and people watch.
It’s also important to take metro stops into account when choosing a hotel. The Cavour stop on the Metro blue line (Line B) stops in Monti, making it a super easy neighborhood to get in and out of when exploring the rest of the city.
If you’re looking to stay somewhere that’s close to the City Center and public transit, but still local and stylish, Monti is the place for you.
Trastevere is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, and it’s known as a hip area full of young people and expats. It’s also home to charming, vine-covered terra cotta buildings and narrow cobblestone avenues, perfect for exploring.
Trastevere is located just across the Tiber River from the City Center area. It doesn’t have a metro stop, but it does have a tram that runs to Piazza Venezia. There are also some buses in the area as well. It’s not as easy to get in and out of Trastevere as it is some other neighborhoods, which is a potential downside for visitors.
A particularly lively area of Trastevere is Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, where locals and visitors come to hang out. The rest of the neighborhood is dotted with delicious local restaurants and shops.
The famous Porta Portese flea market also takes place on Sundays in Trastevere. This massive outdoor market is full of everything from handbags and jewelry to books and household items, along with all sorts of miscellanea.
If you’re visiting Rome just to relax and explore some underrated places, rather than see all the popular sights, than Trastevere is a great area for you to stay.
For a nice family friendly area, check out the Prati neighborhood. This is also a great area if you plan to focus your time on visiting Vatican City.
Prati is located just across the Tiber River from Piazza del Popolo in the area between the Vatican and the river. It’s a generally clean, more quiet neighborhood of the city.
Prati is home to nice shopping areas, good restaurants, historical sights, and a few open green spaces. Along Via Cola di Rienzo, you’ll find upscale clothing stores, the wonderful Castroni grocery store and cafe, and families out for a stroll. Nearby there’s also Castel Sant’Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, that was built in the second century.
The biggest attraction in this area is Vatican City. The Vatican Museums (home of the Sistine Chapel), St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter’s Square are all located in this city-state within Rome. It’s also home to the Pope, of course, who comes out to greet the public on Wednesdays.
Prati is also well-connected to public transportation. There are several stops on the metro red line in this area (Line A). The red line also stops at some of the major attractions in the City Center, like the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
If you’re looking for a somewhat quieter, more family friendly neighborhood close to Vatican City, Prati is the perfect area for you.
Where you stay during your visit to a city has such an impact on your time there. If you’re in an area that doesn’t fit your interests and needs, you probably won’t have a great time. However, if you can find a neighborhood to call home that truly suits you (and take note of a few helpful tips), your trip will be all the better. In Rome, the City Center, Monti, Trastevere, or Prati are four of the best areas to stay in the city for visitors. Pick which one suits you and you’ll be on your way to a great trip. Cin cin!