Rome is a huge city, 10 times bigger than Paris: districts in Rome are many and it’s not easy to choose the best one for you. To clear your mind read our overview of the best districts to stay in Rome: you will find a description of each area and how to reach the nearest subway station.
Let’s focus on your needs: what are your priorities when choosing your accomodation? Low budget? Proximity to the City Centre? Night life and Restaurants? Subway stations at hand?
Keep in mind that despite being one of the biggest cities in Europe, Rome has just two subway lines: line A (red) and line B (blue) which cross at Termini, the main train station. Easy Peasy! At Termini station you will also find the fast track train to Fiumicino Airport (Leonardo Express) and coaches to both Fiumicino (cheaper than the train) and Ciampino airports.
The City Centre
Romans have been discussing for years, about what “city centre” includes. Everything which lies inside the walls? Ok, but which walls? The Aurelian Walls? The train ring? Whatever the exact boundaries may be, if you can afford to rent an apartment or hotel in the city centre you will have all the best monuments in Rome within easy reach: Navona Square, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, People’s Square, Via del Corso (the main shopping street), the Colosseum. Accomodations in the area are very expensive, so you can choose this areas only if you have a high budget. If you want something in the centre but more affordable, opt for St. Peter’s area or Termini station.
Choose the City Centre if: you are not on a budget and you want the highlights of the city to be within walking distance.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE A (red) “Flaminio”, “Spagna”.
It is very easy to find a cheap accomodation near the main train station in Rome: this area is a plethora of 2-3 stars hotels and b&b and even if there is nothing beautiful to see here, the area is quite safe and you have both underground lines and tons of buses at your disposal. In fact Termini might be the one of the most convenient districts to stay in Rome. Five minutes walking from the station you will enter another district, Esquilino (one of the 7 hills of Rome), the immigrant district of the city. You can walk here to explore its chinese shops for jewellery and clothes, food shops from all over the world and a huge market.
Choose Termini area if: you want to stay close to the main train station; you travel on a budget; you want to take the bus instead of the subway.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE A (red) and B (blue) “Termini”.
Within 10 minutes walking distance from Termini station you will enter the pictoresque San Lorenzo district. Once a working-class neighbourhood, now it is mainly known as the University district. “La Sapienza” University lies here and being the biggest in Europe it is inhabited by hundreds of students, who love the vibrant nightlife and the many buses and trams which stop in its streets. San Lorenzo is indeed full of pubs and shops and it is nice to have a nice pizza or a sandwich, but they are open until late and youngsters are very loud: it might not be the best idea to stay in this area if you want a quiet place to sleep or if you are traveling with kids!
Choose San Lorenzo if: you travel with friends and want to mix with Italian young people
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE B (blue) “Termini”, “Policlinico”.
Not far from San Lorenzo district, most of the apartments here are rented to students: the area is absolutely not touristy, but if you find a b&b or a flat here, it might be a convenient area to stay. It is very well connected with buses and the line b of the underground (Bologna STOP). Restaurants, shops and supermarkets are also available and are often open until late.
Choose Piazza Bologna if: you want to save money; you need to easily reach the city centre or the main train stations
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE B (blue) “Bologna”.
If you love vintage shops and independent boutiques and are in the search of the typical roman “trattoria” (rustic restaurants), nice pubs and tea rooms, the perfect place to stay is Monti district. Once the red-light district of Ancient Rome (Suburra), Monti is now a maze of medieval cobblestoned alleys, with many restaurants and shops. It is ideal if you want to be near the Colosseum and Roman Forum area and if you want to stay well connected to the subway (the nearest stop is Cavour on the line B). In the area there are also two beautiful Churches to visit: the Basilica of St. Mary the Mayor and St. Peter’s in Chains, where you can admire the impressive sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo.
Choose Rione Monti if: you love boutiques; you want to taste local food; you want to visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE B (blue) “Cavour”.
A bit further from the historical centre, but still very well connected is also the Prati district. Having been built in the 19th century, its spacious streets cross forming a grid, which makes it easier to orientate and wander around. Its proximity to the Vatican, the presence of the line A stops Ottaviano and Lepanto make it a very popular area for tourists, which can find quite a few of hotels, b&b and apartments to rent. The area is often crowded, due to the presence of the Civil Tribunal, many office and shops, mainly lined on the streets Via Ottaviano and Via Cola di Rienzo.
Choose Prati if: you want to visit the Vatican; if you wish to stay in a safe area but you don’t mind the crowds; you want to do some shopping away from the city centre.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE A “Lepanto”, “Ottaviano”.
This district lies south of the Aventine Hill and is one of the less touristy areas in Rome. It is a modern, urban place, providing markets, shops and some of the best restaurants, bakeries and clubs in town. It is an ideal place to stay if you want to avoid the crowds but you are still looking for a safe area, close to the subway: Line B stop Piramide will easily get you to the centre and to Termini Station and you can even take the train to get to the seaside area of Ostia and its amazing archaeological area!
Choose Testaccio if: you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre; you want nice places to get dinner and aperitifs.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE B (blue) “Piramide”.
The Jewish Ghetto (Ghetto Ebraico, in Italian) is a beautiful witness of one of the oldest Jesish community in Europe. It is in the city centre, not far from Piazza Navona and the River Tiber, from the amazing Campo de’ Fiori market and from the Theatre of Marcellus, also known as the “mini Colosseum”. Wandering in this area you will be able to visit the Synagogue, the Mouth of Truth and the many traditional Jewish shops and restaurants: you HAVE to try their delicacies, especially their amazing fried artichokes!
Choose the Jewish Ghetto if: you want to explore the Jewish shops and food and explore a fascinating part of the city centre.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE B (blue) “Colosseo” (20 mins walking). To reach the Colosseum take the 87 bus; for the Vatican the 81 bus; to reach the Spanish steps take the 80 bus.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE B (blue) “Piramide”.
None of these two areas are in the centre of Rome, but they are by far the poshest and most elegant district in the city. If you choose to stay in a hotel in Flaminio-Parioli you will pass beautiful villas, Museums, Gardens and elegant cars: most of the inhabitants are wealthy romans, foreign embassies, lawyers, doctors and politicians. In Flaminio area you will find the Maxxi Art Gallery, the Auditorium (venue for concerts and plays) and the Flaminio Stadium (where most of the Rugby matches take place), while Parioli is near to the biggest gardens in Rome, Borghese Gardens and Villa Ada, as well as the GNAM (National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art) and Ponte Milvio, where you can find many clubs and restaurants.
Choose Flaminio or Parioli if: these are the best districts to stay in Rome if you want to visit museums and gardens; you want to attend rubgy matches, you want a super safe and elegant areas; you don’t mind not having a subway line close to your accomodation.
Nearest Subway Stop: LINE A (red) “Flaminio” (depending on your accomodation’s address it can be up to 20 mins walking).