Jam-packed with sights, beautiful Rome is a treasure trove of delights. Stroll down any road or alleyway and you’re bound to come across an architectural wonder. With so much to see and do, from admiring the ruins of the Colosseum to marvelling at the treasures of the Vatican Museums, it’s hard to know where’s best to stay in Rome.
Accommodation in the city can be expensive, although tucked away here and there are plenty of affordable B&Bs, guesthouses and hostels that will go easy on your wallet. Here’s the lowdown on the best places to stay in the Italian capital.
While the area around Termini Railway Station has a bit of a chaotic, seedy feel, it’s a great choice for travellers on a shoestring. If you know where to look, there's a handful of good budget hostels and hotels just a short walk from the city centre. The Leonardo Express connects Termini to Fiumicino Airport, making the area particularly convenient for those arriving by both plane and train. There are great metro connections to the centre, too.
Best for the cool cats on a budget: The Yellow
A fun party hostel with a lively bar that buzzes at all times of day. Its stylish dorms feature personal reading lamps, plugs and lockers.
Best for historic charm: Hotel Artemide
If you're after a grand hotel without the five-star price tag, head to the handsome Artemide. This neighbourhood gem combines an imposing, old-world feel with a warm welcome. The comfortable rooms come with a free minibar, and the rooftop bar is a lovely spot on a sunny day.
Trendy Monti exudes a laidback boho vibe. Its narrow cobbled streets are packed with hip boutiques, lively bars and buzzing restaurants. Once one of the city’s poorest neighbourhoods, it is today a trendy, rather chic spot. It’s conveniently located a short walk from Termini Railway Station, the Colloseum and the Roman Forum, making it a great base to explore the city sights. Don’t miss the fifth-century Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the city’s four patriarchal basilicas that is a hotchpotch of architectural styles.
Best for a boutique stay: Nerva Boutique Hotel
Smart and stylish, this welcoming family-run boutique hotel offers warm and tastefully decorated rooms. Each is decked out in designer furniture and brightened up with colourful works of art. Staff couldn’t be friendlier and the breakfast is a delight.
Best for style without breaking the bank: The Blue Hostel
Housed in a former seventeenth-century convent, this gorgeous little spot is just a skip and a hop from Monti. Offering hotel rooms at hostel prices, it’s a great choice. It has bright and airy rooms with exposed wooden ceiling beams and is a short walk from the major sights.
Bustling Trastevere, which lies on the west bank of the Tiber, was once a rundown bohemian quarter. Today, it’s one of the city’s liveliest areas, a warren of cobbled alleys abuzz with trendy restaurants and animated bars. With lines of washing strung between crumbling palazzos and the sweet smell of nonna’s cooking pervading the streets at lunchtime, it still retains an authentic feel. But with all these fabulous draws, you won’t be alone exploring its pretty streets.
Best for peace and quiet: Hotel Santa Maria
Set in sixteenth-century cloisters, this quiet spot is a stone’s throw away from Piazza Santa Maria. It is a haven of peace, with two courtyards brimming with orange trees. Its twenty simply furnished rooms mostly open onto the garden.
Best for saving pennies: B&B Suites Trastevere
This friendly B&B has five rooms decorated with trompe l’oeil scenes depicting famous Roman landmarks. Rooms are kitted out with air-con units, soundproof windows and spacious en-suite bathrooms. Guests can socialise over breakfast, which is served at a communal table.
One of the city’s smartest districts, the area around theSpanish Stepsis all high-end boutiques, smart restaurants and chic hotels. Located to the north of the city centre, it’s ideally situated to explore the city sights. Nearby Villa Borghese, a large landscaped park that is considered to be the city’s "green lung", is a great spot to escape the crowds of central Rome. With easy access to the historical centre and with a large park nearby, this area is a great choice for families deciding where to stay in Rome.
Best for value: Hotel Due Torri
This peaceful little three star offers comfortable rooms with chocolate brown furnishings and scarlet-coloured bedspreads. It is located just steps away from some of the city’s major sights.
Best for a stylish stay: Babuino 181
Occupying two townhouses, this sleek and stylish spot offers comfortable rooms decked out in earthy tones. Nip up to the top-floor terrace bar to enjoy an al-fresco breakfast or for a drink (or three) before you head out for dinner.
Campo de’ Fiori was once the heart of medieval Rome. Today, it hosts a lively market in the mornings, which attracts locals and tourists alike. You’ll find plenty of boutiques on the surrounding streets, while tucked away here and there are family-run repair workshops and craft stores selling locally produced handmade items.
The nearby Jewish Ghetto has an intimate neighbourhood feel. It’s a particularly atmospheric place for a stroll, home to superb kosher eateries serving up authentic Roman-Jewish cuisine. Make sure you try carciofi alla giudìa, deep-fried artichokes, a springtime speciality of the Roman Ghetto.
Best for some old school romance: Boutique Hotel Campo de’ Fiori
With its charming ivy-clad façade, this hotel oozes classic Rome. Interiors are all heavy velvet drapes, gilt mirrors and silk fittings, with some rooms donning private balconies that brim with flowers.
Best for romance with all the mod cons: Hotel Monte Cenci
Ideally located to explore the Ghetto, this is a good choice for travellers seeking a central location and all the mod cons. Spread out over four floors, the contemporary rooms have king-sized beds, Handy smartphones and smart TVs. There’s a lovely rooftop bar overlooking the area’s romantic streets.
Foodies should look no further than Testaccio, an edgy neighbourhood to the southwest of the centre. The area's links with all things culinary date back centuries. The Romans brought foodstuffs from far and wide to the nearby Emporio in large amphorae (terracotta vessels). Once emptied, they were discarded on what is Monte dei Cocci, a huge artificial mound composed of millions of broken amphorae.
Later the site of a sprawling abattoir – today the MACRO Modern Art Museum – Testaccio is a vibrant neighbourhood with street food and trattorias aplenty. It is also home to a host of late-night drinking dens that flow with custom until the early hours.
Best for style on a budget: Althea Inn Roof Terrace B&B
This penthouse B&B offers comfortable spic-and-span rooms that won’t break the bank. Breakfast is served in-room, and the friendly owner has plenty of suggestions on sights and restaurants in the area.
Best for comfort: Seven Suites
Located in a historic residential palazzo, this fourth floor hotel offers exceptionally comfortable modern rooms. Dark tones and dim lighting lend a sleek look, while breakfast – coffee and pastries – are served at the popular Linari café downstairs.
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Top image: The Forum, Rome © Noppasin Wongchum/Shutterstock