What is the best place to stay in Rome? Does it need to be within walking distance of the city's main attractions? Or is it better to stay further out to avoid crowds and noise?
When looking for Rome accommodation, you have to consider what kind of travel experience you want. Some travelers prefer to be minutes away from landmarks like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the Vatican. For those people, staying in Prati or Monti can be the best bet.
On the other hand, some travelers might want a more local experience, preferring to stay away from the tourist traps. In that case, Monteverde, Trastevere, and Testaccio are great areas to stay in Rome.
Either way, keep reading for the best locations in Rome that are sure to provide the ultimate Italian experience.
Monteverde is situated to the west of the Tiber River, close to Villa Doria Pamphilj, which is Rome's largest public park. It's home to beautiful hilltop villas, winding streets, and plenty of greenery. Staying here means you'll be within a 20-minute walk of Trastevere, one of the city's most vibrant areas, but still enjoy a more tranquil atmosphere during your stay. You'll also be near the Quattro Venti regional train station, which connects to Rome's metropolitana (or subway) at Valle Aurelia station near the Vatican.
Must-see attractions in Monteverde include the Fontana dell'Acqua Paola and Gianicolo Hill, which offers one of the best views of Rome. We also fell in love with the neighborhood's storybook park, Villa Sciara, where many locals can be found walking their dogs off-leash. After trying many restaurants in the area, our faves are Dolce Desideri for breakfast, where coffee and pastries for two will set you back less than 10 euros, and Il Mulino ai Quattro Venti, a down-home trattoria with an amazing rigatoni amatriciana dish.
Best place to stay in Rome — Pro Tip #1
When staying in Rome, make sure you taste each of the city's four traditional dishes — Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, Amatriciana, and Gricia — unless you're vegan! Keep in mind that Italian cuisine is highly localized, so if you venture out of Rome you might miss your chance to try the classics.
Say it with us: Tras-teh-veh-reh. One of Rome's oldest and most charming areas, Trastevere is full of cobblestone streets, medieval alleyways, and ochre-colored buildings. Not as quiet as other neighborhoods but not as busy as the historic center, we found Trastevere to be the perfect middle ground between quiet and bustling. It's also great for travelers who enjoy being near the water, as it's situated on the western banks of the Tiber River.
As a best place to stay in Rome, Trastevere's key attractions include the 12th-century Basilica di Santa Maria, which is part of a lively piazza or square, and the Museo di Roma, where visitors are treated to stunning watercolor paintings. We also recommend amazing grub spots like the scenic Ombre Rosse for its polpette al forno (oven-baked meatballs) and friendly staff, as well as the more touristy (but still worth it) Tonarello for its tasty carbonara.
Best place to stay in Rome — Pro Tip #2
Restaurants in Rome can fill up quickly, so it's best to book a table in advance if the venue accepts reservations. To make a reservation within seconds, check if the restaurant has a "Reserve A Table" button on Google Maps or a profile on TheFork.
If you're wondering where to stay in Rome that's close to major attractions but also has a unique charm, consider Monti, a trendy neighborhood located just north of the Colosseum. This area has been billed as the hipster heart of Rome, home to a variety of bars, cafes, and restaurants. It's also less touristy than the historic center, so you can enjoy a more local experience while still being close to iconic sights.
Consider staying in Monti for your Rome accommodation if you plan to use public transportation. The Cavour metro station is in the heart of the neighborhood, and Roma Termini, which is the city's busiest transit hub, is just a few blocks away. Also nearby are the Colosseum and the Roman Forum whose light show is not to be missed, as well as the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. For food and drink, we recommend Fatamorgana, an artisanal gelato spot, and Ai Tre Scalini, a rustic trattoria with exceptional food at ridiculously low prices.
Best place to stay in Rome — Pro Tip #3
Getting around in Rome can be hassle-free as long as you're prepared. So make sure to stop at a Tabacchi (an Italian corner store) and buy a few "biglietti," which are €1.50 a pop and valid for one metro ride or bus journey. Also, consider downloading one or two scooter apps like Lime, Helbiz, and Dott, as these are often faster and more convenient than other forms of transportation. Just be sure not to park the scooter in a "red" no-parking zone! You can check the map on the app to see where you can and can't park.
Prati is a residential neighborhood located just east of the Vatican. It's home to upscale shops and restaurants as well as countless local amenities. Considered a best area to stay in Rome, Prati is the perfect option for those who don't mind crowds and want to be close to Vatican City. The neighborhood is also near Monte Mario, which is the tallest peak in Rome. At the top of Monte Mario, there's a restaurant called Lo Zodiaco that offers a sweeping panorama of the Eternal City.
Attractions in Prati include Castel Sant'Angelo and the architecturally stunning Corte Suprema di Cassazione. For food, we highly recommend Pastasciutta, a cozy spot where fresh pasta is made on-site, and La Salumeria, a classic Italian deli that serves up delicious sandwiches. You'll also find several cafes, bars, and gelaterias in the area, perfect for when you want to take a break and watch the world go by.
Best place to stay in Rome — Pro Tip #4
Going on a gelato crawl? We've scoured Rome's many gelaterias and found the most delicious spots in town. Check out Venchi in Centro Storico for their "cuor di cacao" and pistachio flavors; La Gourmandise in Monteverde for their lavender and ricotta citron; Il Gelato di San Crispino in Trevi for their meringa al caramello; and finally, Otaleg in Trastevere for their gorgonzola and zabaione!
Situated on the eastern banks of the Tiber River and east of Monteverde, Testaccio is a working-class neighborhood known for its vibrant nightlife and offbeat attractions. While this area isn't as central as other neighborhoods in Rome, we can't stress enough how charming, affordable, and accessible Testaccio is for budget travelers. The area is well connected by bus or scooter to the rest of the city. Plus, you'll be a stone's throw from the wonderful Mercato di Testaccio where locals shop for produce and other goods.
More importantly, Testaccio's local spirit makes it one of the best places to stay in Rome for those looking for an authentic Italian experience. Here, you can join the locals for a lazy afternoon at Piazza Testaccio (pictured above) or join them for an aperitivo (pre-dinner drinks) at one of the local bars. The neighborhood is also home to some of Rome's best off-the-beaten-path attractions, including the Non-Catholic Cemetary and the Aventine Keyhole.
Best place to stay in Rome — Pro Tip #5
Testaccio is a great option for those who want to explore Rome on the cheap and experience the city as a local. For even more local flavor, complete with street art, graffitied storefronts, and all-night disco, the vibrant neighborhood of Ostiense is just a few blocks away. We recommend booking an Airbnb to make the most of these neighborhoods and their offbeat attractions.
Recap of the Best Areas to Stay in Rome
Whether you're visiting to explore its ancient history or get a taste of modern Italy, there's always a perfect Rome accommodation for you to experience "la dolce vita." From low-key places like Testaccio and Monteverde to trendier areas like Monti and Prati, be sure to review our pro tips above for an optimal experience in Rome.
Also, don't forget to bring a power adapter, as the outlets in Rome are different from those in America. And if you're flying there, a travel blanket (that also folds into a pillow) can be a lifesaver in a chilly plane cabin! For even more rad travel gear, check out our online store, and visit our blog for more travel tips and hacks.