Where should I stay in Rome?
The central area of Rome is not huge, and a fit person can travel between the town’s tourist attractions on foot. However, it can be very tiring trekking around the streets and too much reliance on public transport might fray your temper. So it’s worth taking some time to consider what would be the best area for you to stay in. Do you want to be near transport for day trips outside the city? Or do you want to wander back to your palazzo along tiny medieval streets? You’ll undoubtedly have a great stay, wherever your accommodation, but hotel location is bound to make a difference to your Rome experience. Here’s a brief guide to the main areas of the city, and links for booking recommended Rome hotels in those areas.
A note on prices
Rome is a relatively expensive city for accommodation, and hotels are heavily-booked. If you want a good choice of hotels and prices, it’s best to book in advance. There are plenty of cheap and budget hotels in Rome, but be aware that you tend to get what you pay for. The typical price for a standard double room in a central three star starts at around 120 per night; a four-star is likely to cost between 160 and 300. At the bottom end of the scale are budget B&Bs and rented rooms where you might find a double room for 80. Staying outside the central area of Rome will also save you money, but is obviously less convenient. Price is often a better indication of quality than the star-rating. One of our favourites, the three-star Raffaello, costs more than some four-star hotels, but is also more comfortable.
Colosseum / Roman Forum
For archaeology buffs
The area around the Colosseum and the Roman Forum is crammed with archaeological sights, and the visitor is cheek-by-jowl with reminders of the emperors and ancient Rome. The area is conveniently placed for public transport, with a Metro station right opposite the Colosseum, and is only a short distance from Stazione Termini. It’s possible to walk into the Centro Storico or the shopping area of Via del Corso; there are also plenty of buses. Note that the main road past the Colosseum and Forum is very busy, but is pedestrianised on Sundays.
> Hotel Raffaello ***
> Hotel Capo d’Africa ****
> Find more hotels in the Colosseum area
The Centro Storico (‘historic centre’) is the name given to Rome’s central area of winding medieval streets, built over the Campo Marzo, which the ancient Romans used for military exercises. This is where you’ll find Rome’s most beautiful squares and fountains, including Piazza Navona. This area of Rome is packed with restaurants and bars, and is a lovely place to wander at any time of day or night. Piazza Navona and Campo dei’ Fiori are both busy; popular with tourists as well as Romans, but within a few streets you will find a more tranquil brand of charm. If you want to wander back to your hotel on foot, clutching a bunch of roses, this is the area to choose.
The Metro doesn’t pass very close to Piazza Navona; the nearest stop is Spagna, about 20 minutes walk away. The larger streets in the area are served by buses, which are quite easy to use, although journeys can be slow and crowded. If you’re arriving at Stazione Termini with heavy luggage, a taxi will be the most comfortable way to reach your hotel.
> Residenza in Farnese ****
> Check hotel availability and prices around Piazza Navona
For cosmopolitan shopaholics
Via del Corso is Rome’s equivalent of London’s Oxford Street; the ancient street is the city’s busiest shopping thoroughfare. The area between Via del Corso and the Spanish Steps (in the Piazza di Spagna) is cosmopolitan and buzzing, made up of narrow streets lined with expensive cafes and exclusive boutiques. Close to the Spanish Steps are the park of the Villa Borghese, attractive Piazza del Popolo, the legendary Fontana di Trevi and the pretty artists’ lane, Via Margutta. There are several nice restaurants and bars in this area.
The Metro station at the Spanish Steps, Spagna, is three stops from Termini on Linea A. Via del Corso is served by a number of buses, and most of the city is within walking distance (the Pantheon is just a few streets away).
> Relais Fontana di Trevi ****
> More hotels around the Spanish Steps
Stazione Termini is Rome’s main train station. The express train from Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci) Airport arrives here, as do the budget airline buses from Ciampino Airport. Rome’s two Metro lines intersect here, and so do most bus routes, day and night. So for a mobility point of view it’s ideal. Staying near the station is a convenient option – particularly if your time in Rome is short as you can arrive and depart without fuss. If you’re staying longer but planning days out of the city, it’s also handy.
The downside is that the area closest to Termini doesn’t have much charm, and the area closest to the station, although not terribly unsafe, can feel rather seedy. You won’t get the same atmosphere or views you would find in less accessible but more historic areas. This is, however, the area where most tourists stay, and although the hundreds of hotels here may be rather anonymous, they are used to international tourists and are usually efficient. Especially if your hotel is on the Centro Storico (western) side of Termini, the location is not bad for sightseeing. Via Cavour will take you straight downhill to the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, while Via Nazionale is good for shopping, and runs into the heart of town. The Teatro dell’Opera, Rome’s opera house, lies just off Via Nazionale (Repubblica Metro).
> Hotel Igea ***
> Hotel Milo ***
> Hotel Romae ***
> Hotel Torino ****
> Hotel Quirinale ****
> B&B ‘A Casa di Maryelen’
> More hotels around Stazione Termini