Where to stay in Rome | 2023

Whether this is your first or your fifteenth Rome vacation, deciding what part of the eternal city to stay in can be overwhelming. 

To help you find the best area of Rome to book your hotel in, we’ve put together a simple guide to several central Rome neighborhoods so you can choose the best location for your stay. You’ll find important information such as access to public transport links, proximity to Rome’s famous landmarks, restaurant recommendations, and a summary of the pros and cons for each area.

We’ll also let you in on our own favorite area to stay in Rome – a traditional neighborhood just steps from the center of the city, that’s also home to one of our favorite restaurants. 

Not got time to read the entire article? Here’s the answer to the question: where’s the best district to stay in Rome >

Central Rome districts

Note: With our restaurant suggestions on this page, we aim as much as possible to recommend Roman specialties in restaurants frequented by locals, but generally unknown to tourists. If the menu is only available in Italian, you can usually take that as a good sign – use our guide to Italian menus to help you work out what to order. And when dining in Rome, making a restaurant booking ahead of time is always essential. Using The Fork app helps you book without having to call, though not all restaurants participate.

Barberini area

Home to Via Veneto, the glitzy accommodation zone of Rome, the area that radiates out from Piazza Barberini is the neighborhood where big stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Clint Eastwood stayed.

where to stay in rome neighborhood review

The pros of staying around Barberini

The area is well connected to public transport, with its own metro station (currently closed, alas, but Spagna station is nearby), and is a popular destination for those who enjoy a bit of boutique browsing. Don’t miss a visit to the Palazzo Barberini, an off-the-beaten-track art gallery that’s home to a number of Caravaggios.

The cons of staying around Barberini

As might be expected in such a ritzy neighborhood, everything is hugely over-priced (this is probably where Rome’s unfair reputation for being expensive comes from), and it can be difficult to find an authentic restaurant or a “real” local bar.

Where to eat near Barberini

We recommend Pro Loco Pinciano, just a short walk from the top of Via Veneto, for fabulous Lazio specialities that are “zero KM” (the description used by Italian foodies for local, low-impact ingredients).

Look for a hotel near Barberini

Our pick: Hotel Barocco – charming boutique place, beautifully appointed, with huge balconies looking down on the piazza.

christ the redeemer

Castro Pretorio area

The area immediately north-east of Termini Station – where here we see the bronze statue of Christ the Redeemer stands atop the Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù –  is a set of city blocks filled with cheaper and mid-range accommodation.

Pros of staying in Castro Pretorio

It’s so convenient! 5 minutes from the central hub of Termini, but with its own metro station that is just 4 stops from the Colosseum, Castro Pretorio has everything you could need, with bars and restaurants galore.

It’s also the best place in Rome to grab a bargain.

Cons of staying in Castro Pretorio

The area has an unfair reputation for being “dodgy”.

In fact Castro Pretorio is a lively zone thronged with hotels, bars, and restaurants, and is no more unsafe than other similar areas. There is no reason you shouldn’t stay here.

While nowhere is 100% secure, Rome is in fact a surprisingly safe city with very little violent crime, and the issues faced by visitors are more to do with petty theft and persistent begging than any physical danger.

Look for a hotel in Castro Pretorio

Our pick: Hotel NH Collection Roma Palazzo Cinquecento – elegant international chain, conveniently located next to Termini station.

Celio / San Giovanni

This neighborhood of shops and hotels extends south-east from the Colosseum, towards Rome’s primary cathedral at San Giovanni, the official seat of the Bishop of Rome (i.e. the Pope). Being close to such two great landmarks will appeal to many, with the area also served by several trams and three metro stations (San Giovanni, Manzoni, and Colosseo).

Pros of staying in Celio / San Giovanni

Also known as Labicano, this area is a little quieter than other areas, but there are still some cute places to hang out in, and it’s also home to Rome’s burgeoning gay district (in Via Labicana right next to the Colosseum). It also has a hell of a lot of history, which you can get to know by booking a walking tour of San Giovanni and Celio here.

Cons of staying in Celio / San Giovanni

Apart from the nascent “pink triangle”, and despite its proximity to the Colosseum, this area can seen by some as being a little away from the action. And that very proximity does equate to higher prices in many places, along with a high proportion of tourist trap restaurants.

Where to eat in Celio / San Giovanni

For good aperitivo and well-prepared Roman favourites for an honest price, head to La Naumachia, which is also a great place to book if you are in a large group.

Look for a hotel in Celio / San Giovanni

Centro storico

The baroque heart of the city, Rome’s centro storico (historic center), also known sometimes as Campo Marzio or Ponte is without a doubt the most desired location in the Eternal City. Its piazzas, fountains and quaint alleyways are the “Rome” of cinema and popular imagination.

The pros of staying in Rome’s centro storico

This area has in-your-face breathtaking architecture everywhere you look. From the Pantheon to the Piazza Navona, nearly all of Rome’s famous landmarks can be found right here. Take an introductory wander around the area with our free, self-guided walking tour of Baroque Rome…

The cons of staying in Rome’s centro storico

Hotels in the historic center can be overpriced due to their popularity, and because many of the buildings are many hundreds of years old they may not always have the modern-day amenities travelers are used to. With poor public transport links in this part of the city, the best way to get around is undoubtedly on foot. And being so popular, this area is absolutely rammed with tourist traps.

Where to eat in Rome’s centro storico

Despite the well-deserved bad reputation of this area for bad food at high prices, there are still a few amazing places to be found in the alleyways and lanes. We recommend Da Tonino for honest, authentic homestyle pasta: true Roman food in a sea of fakes.

Look for a hotel in Rome’s centro storico

Our pick: nothing in the world could be better than waking up and overlooking the Pantheon, and that’s exactly what the Albergo Abruzzi does. Charming, independent place with an epic view.


East of Via Nazionale, centered around Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, lies the multicultural neighborhood of Esquilino. Don’t miss this fascinating walking tour of an incredible area. Steps from Termini station and with its own metro stop at Vittorio Emanuele, Esquilino is Rome’s Chinatown, and features a bustling multi-ethnic food market. It’s also in walking distance of vibrant student hangout San Lorenzo, and our preferred area, Monti. Although the area may seem a bit suspect at night, it really isn’t less safe than other central districts.

The pros of staying in Esquilino

Accommodation here is cheap! Many of the buildings around the piazza have been converted into hotels, and the intense competition keeps prices down. This is also where to find that non-Italian dish you’ve been craving.

The cons of staying in Esquilino

Esquilino may not be for everybody, particularly if you’re put off by graffiti and a general sense of disrepair. And budget accommodation can of course often mean low-quality rooms, for which the area is slightly notorious. Finally don’t be conned by some places here pretending to be in the much fancier neighborhood of Monti!

Where to eat in Esquilino

This area is one of the few places you can get a variaty of ethnic food in Rome – Chinese, Indian, Sri Lankan, Korean, African. However for one of the best Italian restaurant experiences in the entire city, head to Mercato Centrale in the bowels of Termini station, and eat at La tavola, Il Vino e La Dispensa – a true insider’s tip of a place, where you can enjoy (literally) Michelin-standard Italian food for a fraction of the price.

Look for hotels in Esquilino, Rome

Our pick: unlike some of the poky and tired rooms that the area is notorious for, Domus Helena is modern, clean, and receives consistently stellar reviews from patrons. It gives you all the benefits of Esquilino’s central position with none of the drawbacks. 


Located next to Vatican City, Prati is a modern, high-end neighbourhood whose cosmopolitan vibe and internationally-oriented restaurants cater to well-heeled Romans. It is also, however, very popular with tourists with a Burger King jostling for place with McDonalds (why someone would choose to eat there, instead of grabbing a delicious panino al prosciutto from a local deli counter is beyond us, but it clearly fills a certain demand!).

The pros of staying in Prati

The advantages to staying in Prati, aside from its convenience to the Vatican, include good public transport links – with a direct metro connection to Termini – and a choice of high quality local and international restaurants.

The cons of staying in Prati

Prati’s popularity with tourists does equate to higher prices and, as with all touristy areas, you should be alert for the ubiquitous scammers, particularly when making your way to the Vatican. Don’t make the mistake of buying a tour in the street, instead, book your skip-the-lines ticket in advance.

Where to eat in Prati

We recommend La Zanzara for a seriously hip, modern take on Roman classics.

Look for hotels in Prati

Our pick: while you can’t actually book a hotel in Vatican City, you can book a room in an actual palazzo, literally two minutes from St Peter’s. Palazzo Cardinal Cesi is a sumptuous space, with a gorgeous internal courtyard and traditional rooms, right on the Via della Conciliazone. 


Literally meaning “across the Tiber”, Trastevere (want to not sound like a tourist? It’s pronounced tras-TEV-ereh, not trasteVERe) is the ancient district where non-Romans had to live. Now a maze of medieval buildings, it has a distinct charm all of its own.

The pros of staying in Trastevere

Our pick: our favorite restaurant in Trastevere also boasts our favorite rooms: the Gensola Apartments. Close enough to the action to be fun, but far enough away not to be plagued with the sound of revelry. 

It’s just so achingly beautiful. Not for nothing did Woody Allen film ‘To Rome with Love’ in its charming ivy-clad lanes. It’s also got some fabulous bars – including Rome’s best real ale pub – and some legendary restaurants in it. And it backs on to the Janiculum Hill, which has some of the best views over Rome. It is just a few minutes’ walk over the Isola Tiberina island into the Jewish Ghetto, and from there the city center (about 20-30 minutes’ walk).

The cons of staying in Trastevere

While it’s not in the center of the action, it is most definitely on the tourist trail – and that means it gets absolutely packed with tourists congratulating themselves for finding something off the beaten track (they’re wrong). Accommodation is therefore relatively expensive, and usually quite cramped due to the age of the buildings. After dark it gets jammed with young Roman hedonists having a night out, particularly near Piazza Trilussa. It’s noisy at all hours, and transportation links are not so great – just the Number 8 tram.

Where to eat in Trastevere

You’re really spoiled for choice here, with some of Rome’s most famous restaurants (notably La Tavernaccia for some of the best trad pasta in the city, and Dar Poeta for some incredible Neapolitan-style pizza), but our personal recommendation is Osteria La Gensola, an up-market seafood restaurant.

Look for hotels in Trastevere

Our pick: to really appreciate Trastevere life you need your own space, not a hotel. Luckily our favourite restaurant in Trastevere also boasts our favourite rooms: La Gensola Apartments just by the restaurant of the same name. Close enough to the action (and the river) to be convenient, but just hidden from the action enough not to be plagued by the noise of revelry.

Via del Corso area

Over the river from Prati, and north of the centro storico (historic center of Rome), lies Via del Corso, a long street that passes by the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and more. Sounds ideal, right?

The pros of staying near Via del Corso

The area around Via del Corso is one of the most vibrant parts of the city and many will also appreciate the convenience of a metro station right by the Spanish Steps. It’s also home to one of Rome’s main shopping districts and if money’s no object, you’ll find Fendi, Gucci, and a heap of other big fashion names along the side-street of Via dei Condotti.

The cons of staying near Via del Corso

Unfortunately, the many famous Roman sights nearby make the area one big tourist trap, with prices to match. In particular watch out for pickpockets, who are known to operate in the area, particularly near the Trevi Fountain. Poor-quality food abounds too. If you want to eat well, you mostly have to get out of the area.

Where to eat near Via del Corso

If paying over the odds to eat in an inauthentic restaurant where none of the customers are Italian appeals to you, then you might enjoy it here. That said, there are a few true gems to be found. Most are in the “haute cuisine” school, but for simple but decent fare we recommend Antica Enoteca, just steps from the (Spanish) steps.

Look for a hotel near Via del Corso

Our picks: Nothing in this area is inexpensive, so instead of offering value for money, here are our two fave luxe spots. Running parallel to Via del Babuino is the famous Via Margutta where Roman Holiday was filmed. Here you’ll find the gem that is Margutta 19 – a boutique luxury hotel par excellence in a gorgeous, quaint setting. But the ‘old faithful’ of presidents, princesses, and kings alike is the world-famous Hotel de Russie, now part of the Rocco Forte group: an institution in Rome, but not one that comes cheap!

Via Nazionale area

Heading south-west from Piazza Repubblica, Via Nazionale is a vibrant shopping street that ends in Piazza Venezia, the exact center of Rome.

The pros of staying near Via Nazionale

Hotel accommodation here is usually of a more international standard, larger rooms with better prices. It boasts a great location, with great public transport links at both Termini and Repubblica stations, and it’s also not far from our top pick of Rome neighborhoods. 

The cons of staying near Via Nazionale

Via Nazionale may be a bit impersonal for some, and there are a few tourist-oriented bars and eateries to avoid.

Where to eat near Via Nazionale

For peerless handmade pasta cooked traditionally – but with a few creative twists – we recommend Trattoria Valentino, which is about as “in the know” as it gets.

Where to stay near Via Nazionale

Our pick: Hotel Artimede is a great choice, in a commanding position in the street, convenient for transport and city alike, with its Ambrosia rooftop restaurant looking onto the bell-tower of the St Pauls Within the Walls church.


This traditional residential district, just steps from the center of the city, is our number one top tip for where to stay in Rome!

Pros of staying in Monti

An authentic, vibrant, but quaint neighborhood next to the Colosseum – and in walking distance from Termini station – Monti is also served by its own metro station at Cavour. It’s next to Via Nazionale too. It’s got everything you could want, yet isn’t overrun – yet.

It’s home to dozens of great restaurants and bars, with a great movida (nightlife) too. Accommodation is on the boutique side of things rather than large international standard hotels, but so charming that you’ll forgive everything.

It’s super connected too – five minutes to the Colosseum and Forum, and only a ten-minute walk to the centro storico, Piazza Venezia, and Via del Corso, should you wish to wander further afield.

Cons of staying in Monti

There are honestly almost none. Our only warning is that it can get a little noisy at night around Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, which is where all the cool kids hang out.

Where to eat in Monti

You’re spoiled for choice here, but for a really unique dinner, head without delay to Madre Roma, where you’ll find a mid-to-upper range menu of Italian/South American fusion food in an utterly delightful setting with top-class service. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Rome.

Look for a hotel in Monti, Rome

Our pick: there are a lot of good small hotels in Monti, but for our money there’s only really one choice. Look no further than one of the highest-rated hotels in the entire city, the Fifteen Keys. This boutique gem is hidden away just yards from the action of the most vibrant area in the city. Practically perfect in every way.

Now make sure you don’t miss out: plan your visit in advance:

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Photo credit: AFP

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