In this blog post, we will be looking at Where to stay in Rome first time, best areas to stay in Rome for first-time visitors (with a video and map). I’ll also give you the list of the best hotels in Rome for all budgets (including the hotel where I stayed) and the safest places to stay in Rome.
Rome is the capital and the most visited city in Italy and is the 4th most populous city in the European Union. Rome was the capital of the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic, Roman Empire, and the birthplace of Western civilisation.
Known as the City of Seven Hills because, according to tradition, Rome was founded on seven hills east of the Tiber River, in 753BC by its first king, Romulus, and his twin brother, Remus. Rome was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC.
Rome is divided into two areas by the Tiber river:
- On the east side of the Tiber river, you can find Centro Storico, with Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Imperial Forums, Pantheon, and Roman-era Colosseum.
- On the west side of the Tiber river, you will find the Vatican city and Trastevere.
Rome is general a safe city to visit, but as in any tourist city, you should stay alert and be aware of pickpocketing and scams. You should avoid areas around Corviale, Tor Bella Monaca, Romanina, San Basilio, and Termini station at night.
Rome Historic Center, Trastevere, Prati, Aventino, and Testaccio are some of the safest areas to stay in Rome for tourists. It’s always recommended to exercise caution, keep an eye on your belongings, and be aware of your surroundings, regardless of the neighborhood you are in.
🎬 you can watch this very short video (only 1 minute) about best areas in Rome, and continue reading with a map. I will put the link to the full video is at the end of this post:
Where to stay in Rome first time?
The best areas to stay in Rome for first-time visitors are Centro Storico, Piazza di Spagna, Trastevere, Prati, Monti, Termini Central Station, and Testaccio. These are popular and safe neighborhoods, offering a wide range of attractions and amenities.
Centro Storico is the overall best area to stay in Rome for first-time visitors due to its central location and proximity to iconic attractions such as Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Colosseum. Staying here offers easy access to many sights, restaurants, bars, and shops.
If you are more interested in visiting the Vatican, you might want to stay over the city’s western side across the river Tiber. Borgo and Prati is an excellent choice if you want to stay near the Vatican.
Rome has some decent public transport. You can travel around Rome easily on the Metro subway system, but there are only four lines, so it isn’t the most extensive network. The city has a good bus service, and a tram network too.
As a visitor, something you should look out for is the combined public transport and museum tickets that allow you to travel around the city for free, exploring a number of the major sights at no additional cost.
If this is your first visit, I suggest spending at least 3 to 5 days, which is good amount of time to see attractions, enjoy famous food and drink, as well as get the sense of the local history and culture. If you have more days, you can explore the city in a slower and more relaxing pace.
Where did I stay in Rome?
When I first visited Rome, I stayed for 5 nights at the historic center at Hotel Barrett. It has a prime location within walking distance from most major sights, close to Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon. My room has a massage chair, a coffee maker and a good mini bar with food.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:
|💎 Best luxury hotel:
|The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:
|Little Queen Pantheon
|💰 Best budget hotel:
|Albergo del Senato
Below is the Map of areas to stay in Rome. You can scroll down to view an interactive map:
Best areas to stay in Rome for first-time tourists are:
1. Centro Storico
Centro Storico is the best overall place to stay in Rome for first-time visitors due to its central location, safety, proximity to tourist attractions and amenities, as well as excellent connections to public transportation.
Staying here allows you to be located close to major attractions such as the Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Square, as well as some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and shops.
Centro Storico is generally a safe area for tourists with very low violent crime rate, but being the most popular tourist destination in the city, it has scams and pickpocketing. If you pratice common sense and protect your belonging, you can enjoy your visit without any issues.
Historic Center is the heart of the Eternal City and is located on the east side of the river Tiber. The area spreads out around the old Roman forum and is packed with fabulous Renaissance architecture and any number of historical sights.
The Pantheon is one of the oldest and most impressive things to see in the historic center. This ancient church dates back to the 2nd century when it was built by the emperor Hadrian. It is a stunning structure with a unique domed roof, and it is still used as a functioning church today.
There are many other beautiful churches near the Pantheon, including the Sant Ignazio di Loyola Church with its beautiful ceiling art and San Luigi dei Francesi with several paintings by Caravaggio. Other Roman attractions nearby are the Piazza della Rotonda, Obelisco della Minerva, and Temple of Adriano.
Perhaps the best way to experience the central historical is just to explore it on foot, strolling around the beautiful ancient squares, visiting palaces, museums, and fountains as you come across them, and stopping for a coffee in one of the scores of little restaurants and cafes around the area.
The Piazza Navona is a particularly attractive square that contains the stunning church Sant’Agnese in Agone, Fontana del Moro, Fountain of Neptune, Fountain of the Four River, Pamphilj Palace, and Museum of Rome (Palazzo Braschi).
The square was built on the site of ancient Domitian Stadium in order of the emperor in 86 AD. It was Baroque masterpieces of Bernini and Borromini. There is a christmas market here in Dec.
Another lively nightlife area of the historic center is the center of ancient Rome called Campo de’Fiori. Literally means field of flowers, this is a square with a daily outdoor market for vegetables, fruits, flowers, and even souvenirs. There is statue of philosopher Giordano Bruno in the middle of the piazza who was burned here in the 17th century.
Nearby, the Jewish Ghetto is where you can enjoy the best of Italian and kosher food. The Ghetto was home to a very important Jewish community, built in 1555 in the Rione Sant’Angelo. You can find Teatro Marcello, Great Synagogue, Jewish Museum of Rome, La Bocca della Verità, and Turtle Fountain.
The Historic center is also famous for its beautiful narrow cobbled streets, Via Giulia is one of the city’s most charming streets. Designed in the 1500s by Bramante to ease access to the Vatican, today Via Giulia is lined with elegant palazzos, embassies, and the Michaelangelo’s Farnese Arch.
There are some fantastic places to eat here, including fabulous pizzerias, delicious gelaterias with incredible gelato ice cream, and some splendid little tavernas and wine bars. For the best coffee, head to the famous Sant’Eustachio, and Punto Gelato is next to it if you want good scoop of ice cream.
All tourist attractions are located within walking distance apart, you can easily explore on foot saving money on taxi and public transport. Additionally, this area is well-connected to public transportation and the Roma Termini, making it a great base to explore Rome without a car.
Rome historic center offers wide range of accommodation options ranging from luxury 5 star hotels to budget backpackers and guest houses. Due to its prime location and popularity, it can be an expensive area, but it is well worth it when staying in the heart of the city.
The Centro Storico can be quite busy and crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. If you prefer a quieter area, you may want to consider Trastevere or Monti, with easy access to the historic center but with a more local feel.
Stay in Centro Storico if you are first-timers; you want the most central location, close to major attractions; you prefer authentic vibe; couples and families who want a safe location to immerse themselves in the city’s rich history;
Best places to stay in Rome Historic Centre for first-timers:
luxury ($$$): The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, Autograph Collection This 5-star hotel is located few steps from Pantheon and Piazza Navona. You can enjoy a meal at on-site Michelin- starred restaurant and drink at The Divinity Terrace Lounge Bar with views of Rome’s rooftops.
mid-range ($$): Little Queen Pantheon This guesthouse is located right in a safe area in the heart of Rome. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a kettle, a minibar, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, as well as a private bathroom.
budget ($): Albergo del Senato Boasting a rooftop terrace overlooking the Pantheon dome, the hotel is located in Piazza della Rotonda square, close to the popular sights such as Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain, as well as many restaurants and bars and shops.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN HISTORIC CENTRE
2. Piazza di Spagna
The area around Spanish Square is one of the best areas for first-timers due to its central location and safety. It is one of the safest areas to stay in Rome, providing proximity to the famous landmarks like the Trevi Fountain, Piazza del Popolo, Borghese Gardens, and Pincian Hill.
Piazza Di Spagna, or Spanish Square in English, is one of Rome’s most visited and famous squares. The area is a wealthy and attractive part of Rome. They are delightful places to stay if you want luxury hotel, designer shopping, and fine dining restaurants.
Piazza di Spagna is so famous for many reasons. First, the square is home to the Spanish Steps, a grand and sweeping staircase that you will recognize from any number of movies. These baroque-style public stairs were built in the 18th-century to connect Piazza di Spagna to the Trinità dei Monti church.
Additionally, Piazza di Spagna is home to some stunning statues and sculptures. There is an authentic Egyptian ancient Obelisk and a spectacular fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia, sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Finally, Piazza di Spagna is well-known for its stylish luxury shops. Via dei Condotti and Via del Corso nearby are the main shopping drags in Rome and is dedicated to high fashion with brand like Gucci, Bulgari, Fendi, Valentino, Versace, Chanel, and Prada.
There are some fabulous restaurants around Via Veneto. A visit to Harry’s Bar is a tourist favorite since it was immortalized in the movie La Dolce Vita. Enjoy a dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant like La Terrazza, or grab a morning coffee at the historical Antico Caffé Greco.
Right next door to the Spanish Steps is Keats-Shelley Memorial House, the final home of Romantic poet John Keats. If you want want a taste of England in an Italian setting, head to Babington’s Tea Room to enjoy an authentic high tea experience.
Spanish Square is an excellent place to stay if you’re with family since you have a large park and zoo nearby. Villa Borghese gardens have been opened to public since 1903. The garden has a stunning ornate landscape that contain spectacular buildings and attractions such as:
- The Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese) has splendid sculptures and paintings, including works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Rafael and Titian.
- the Museo Carloi Bilotti and Canonica with various works of art.
- the Villa Borghese Zoo / Bioparco di Roma with more than 1,000 animals include big cats, meerkats, reptiles, and hippos. It’s a great attraction for the whole family, no matter what age you are!
Other places of interest are a tranquil lake, Pincio’s Water Clock, The Globe Theatre, Temple of Asclepius, Puppet Theatre, Cinema dei Piccoli, and the 16th-century mansion Villa Medici. You can cycling, walking, take Segway tours, or enjoy picnics here.
Located next to the Villa Borghese, the suburb of Parioli is a beautiful and extremely upmarket District of Rome. If you want to stay in relative peace and quiet, but still conveniently close to the modern and historical centers of the city, then this is a good option.
The Spanish Square is mostly pedestrianized, you can explore on foot, but because lots of cobbled street, make sure bring good pair of shoes. Several buses and the metro serve this area. There is Metro Line A at stops Barberini and Spagna.
Stay in Spanish Square if you travel with your family; couples who enjoy high-end fashion, art, and fine dining; you want a beautiful, quieter part of Rome with a classy, upscale hotel; you are visiting Rome for the first time;
Best places to stay in Rome in Spanish Square for first-time visitors:
luxury ($$$): Hassler Roma This 5-star hotel is located at the top of the Spanish Steps, 5-minute walk from Spagna Metro. Its restaurant and gym have panoramic views over Rome’s rooftops. There is a Michelin-starred Imàgo on the 6th floor, the stylish Salone Eva, and the Palm Court restaurant with its ancient stone walls.
mid-range ($$): Condotti Boutique Hotel This 4-star boutique hotel, located just around the corner from Spanish Steps. It is only 20m from Spagna Metro Station, line A offers quick links to Vatican, Trevi Fountain, and Termini Central Station.
budget ($): Hotel Scalinata Di Spagna This 3-star hotel has a covered rooftop terrace, rooms with a free wifi and free minibar. It is within easy walk from Spagna Metro Station. There is a sweet and savoury buffet breafast with scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, cold cuts and cheese.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN PIAZZA DI SPAGNA
Trastevere is one of the best places to stay in Rome for first-time visitors who want vibrant nightlife and authentic local atmosphere because it is one of the most traditional Roman areas in Rome that offer central location but less crowded than the historic center.
Trastevere is a Roman suburb on the west bank of the river Tiber, just south of Vatican City. The historic center of Rome is just across the Tiber River, and you can easily access it by crossing one of the bridges.
Trastevere offers easy access to Rome’s major attractions. It is only within a 30-minute walk from Vatican City, Colosseum, Pantheon, Campo de’ Fiori, and Piazza Navona.
If you want lively nightlife, hip, bohemian, and inviting part of town, Trastevere is a great option. This part of Rome is also an excellent choice for travelers on a budget. It’s a very cosmopolitan area and is home to two large universities.
Trastevere is packed with good value traditional restaurants, trattorias, pizzerias, wine bars, pubs, and clubs. Famous for its thin and crispy pizza, check out La Boccaccia, Dar Poeta, Ivo a Trastevere for fresh from a wood oven pizzas.
Trastevere is home to the Orto Botanico, or Botanical Garden where you can fine bamboo groves, Japanese gardens, and greenhouses. It was the private garden of the nearby Palazzo Corsini. You can head to the Gianicolo hill after visiing the garden.
Rome is a city built, famously, on seven hills; and Janiculum Hill, Gianicolo in Italian, is one of them. While you are in Trastevere, you should climb up here and enjoy spectacular views across the city. Grab a drink and enjoy lovely sunset.
This district is one of the most exciting parts of Rome to explore on foot. There are charming cobbled streets, lively markets, beautiful churches, and Piazzas full of places to eat, drink, and shop, inlcuding:
- The Piazza Santa Maria, home to Rome’s oldest Marian church, Basilica of Santa Maria, and a fountain is a meeting place.
- the Church of Santa Cecilia, famous for its elaborate crypt and a charming Baroque-era sculpture of the saint.
- San Crisogono, one of Rome’s oldest churches, located on Piazza Sidney Sonnino.
- the local food market in Piazza di San Cosimato, selling local fresh fruits, vegetables, sausage, and cheese specialties. It is a great place to experience the local life of Rome.
- the Sunday Porta Portese flea market, one of the largest flea markets in Europe. There are hundred of stalls, you can find vintage clothing and antiques, rrare books, and chandeliers.
- the Piazza Trilussa, a hangout place for locals and students to enjoy the nightlife, eating, and drinking.
History lovers can take a look at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, located in Sant’Egidio Square, to learn about Roman life in the past. Other well-worth visit places are The Pharmacy Museum, Villa Farnesina, and Vicolo della Torre alley.
Trastevere is connected with the Historic Center by several bridges. Ponte Sisto bridge is one of the city’s most popular bridges, connecting Campo de’ Fiori with Trastevere. It attracts lots of musicians and street performers in the evening.
If you walk across the Sistio bridge, you can visit the small Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island), in the middle of the River Tiber. It is a peaceful place to relax, enjoy the views of the city. The island also hosts events and food festivals, and the open-air Isola del Cinema in summer months.
Trastevere offers the romantic atmosphere with small picturesque cobbled streets, traditional houses, and green spaces. Many of Trastevere’s cobbled streets are called vicoli. Have look for Vicolo del Piede, Vicolo del Cinque, and Via Titta Scarpetta.
Trastevere is well-connected by trams and buses. The Trastevere train station can be found at the south of the area, offering connections to Fiumicino airport, Ciampino airport, and Port of Civitavecchia.
Right outside of the train station is the popular tram #8, which connects Trastevere and the Historic center, running along Viale di Trastevere to Piazza Venezia and Roman Forum.
Trastevere, like other popular parts of Rome, is a safe area for tourists, but it is always pickpocketing and scams to watch out for. It is recommended to be aware of your surroundings and practice common sense as you travel to any crowded touristy areas.
There is good value hotels here compared to the popular historic center, with plenty of hostels, small hotels, and apartment rentals. The best area to book the accommodations in Trastevere is around Via della Lungarina, between Tiber Island and Viale di Trastevere.
Stay in Trastevere if you want buzzing nightlife scene; you are a first-timers, couples, and families who want to experience authentic Roman life; you’re traveling on a budget; you want quality traditional food;
Best places to stay in Rome in Trastevere for first-time tourists:
Luxury ($$$): Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá the 5-star Gran Melia is set on a hill on the banks of the Tiber River. It features an on-site spa, an outdoor swimming pool, a wellness center, and an on-site restaurant that serves classic Italian and international cuisine, along with local wines.
mid-range ($$): Horti 14 Borgo Trastevere This 4-star modern hotel in Rome offers modern and fully equipped, rooms with air conditioning, free WiFi, a minibar, a flat-screen TV, slippers, and some also provide bathrobes. It also has a garden, a bar, and a rooftop lounge.
budget ($): In Trastevere House A small bed and breakfast hotel is in the Trastevere area, within a 5-minute walk to River Tiber, and there’s a bus stop nearby that takes you to Termini Station. It has elegant and colorful rooms have air conditioning, a TV and a balcony.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN TRASTEVERE
4. Vatican and Prati
Prati along with Rome hictoric center, is one of the safest places to stay in Rome due to its close proximity to the Pope’s residence. Prati is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Rome and is a popular shopping spot for high-end brand.
The Vatican, the home of the Pope and the seat of the Catholic church is a wholly independent state from the rest of Italy and the smallest country in the world.
Once you enter The Vatican, one of the first things that you’ll see is the Swiss Guards, who with their spectacularly colorful uniforms, are very hard to miss. The majority of Vatican City is closed to tourists but an exception is St. Peter’s Basilica, a stunning church that is topped by a vast dome designed by Michelangelo.
One of the best things to do on your visit here is to climb the steps to the top of the Dome for a fantastic view (but not one for people with a fear of heights!)
Outside of the Basilica is the famous St. Peter’s Square with ornate fountains and a prominent obelisk in the middle of the square. The other main parts of the Vatican that are open to tourists are bundled together as the Vatican Museums.
These are a treasure trove of antiquities of the Catholic faith. The most famous building here is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s spectacular ceiling art.
If you would like to explore elsewhere in The Vatican, you’ll need to plan ahead and book a tour directly with the Vatican 60 days before your trip. Alternatively, you can inquire at local travel agencies and you may be able to book a tour at shorter notice with a local tour agency.
Prati is also close to the Castel Sant’Angelo, or Mausoleum of Hadrian, which was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian as a monumental tomb for his family and later was used by the popes as a castle. It connects with Michelangelo’s Saint Peter’s Square by Via della Conciliazione.
Prati is a charming residential neighborhood with wide boulevards, art nouveau buildings, and high-end shopping streets. It is a white-collar neighborhood, with many offices, barracks, and courthouses.
The main attraction in the Prati is the most well-known shopping street called Cola di Rienzo with many high-end design shops, cool restaurants, and bars.
Prati is home to many beautiful squares that are packed with wine bars, live music venues, and restaurants such as the Piazza Cavour, houses the Supreme Court; the Piazza Risorgimento serves as tram terminal; and the Piazza Mazzini.
If you are interested in the history of the area, you can visit the Casa Museo Balla, and Balloon Museum. For a local daily life experience, visit the local daily markets such as Mercato della Vittoria and Mercato dell’Unita’.
In addition to Prati, another popular neighborhood to stay close to Vatican City is the 14th historical district of Rome, Borgo. The area has excellent tourist infrastructure, including lots of hotels and guest houses catering to most budgets.
Prati and Borgo have a quieter atmosphere compared to the hustle and bustle of centro storico, but still close to all the major Roman sites. They are well-connected to public transportation, making it a great location to explore the city.
As a popular tourist destination, the area around Prati and Borgo has plenty choices in accommodations. You will able to find all range of budget in this neighborhoood.
Stay in the Prati- Borgo if this is your first-timers; you want to stay near the Vatican City; you want to stay in a safe neighborhood; you are traveling as a couple seeking for a relaxing holiday;
Best places to stay in Prati and Vatican for first-timers:
luxury ($$$): Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá – The Leading Hotels of the World This 5-star hotel offers rooms with views of the Vatican, Castel Sant’Angelo, Vicolo di Sant’Onofrio or the hotel’s garden. There is an on-site spa, My Blend by Clarins, and an outdoor swimming pool.
mid-range ($$): Hotel Della Conciliazione This 4-star hotel is located within easy walking distance from Saint Peter’s Basilica, and terminus of bus 40 Express, providing direct links with Roma Termini Train Station. It is also close to Ottaviano Metro Station, on line A, and San Pietro Train Station, with trains connect to Fiumicino Airport.
budget ($): Eccelso Hotel This 3-star hotel is just short wlk from Ottaviano Metro Station, St Peter’s Square, and Vatican. The accommodation has a tour desk and luggage storage for guests.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS HOTELS IN PRATI
5. Colosseum and Monti
Monti is the best area to stay in ancient Rome due to its proximity to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Piazza Venezia. The area was the place where the gladiators lived, far away from the rich Romans in ancient times.
The neighborhood was regarded as a dangerous district at one time even in more modern times, but today this hipster hotspot is home to many artists, offers fine trendy restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene.
You will be able to see the magnificent Colosseum from many of its streets. However, the best view of this wonderful structure is from Colle Oppio Park.
The Colosseum is a place you really should visit on your trip to Rome. This spectacular amphitheater is incredibly well preserved, given that it dates back to the first-century ad.
The Colosseum was the entertainment center of ancient Rome. It once seated up to 50,000 spectators who watched gladiatorial combats, animal fights, and a range of entertainments that would be seen today as bloodthirsty and barbaric.
Close to the coliseum is the ancient Roman Forum, which was the center of power of the ancient Roman empire. It’s an atmospheric place to explore and contains many ancient structures, like The Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Septimius Severus.
The Colosseum area has several other places of historical interest that are well worth visiting, including the Arch of Constantine, built in the 4th-century AD. Palatine Hill is close to the Colosseum and next to the old Roman Forum. It contains some fascinating old Roman villas.
In addition to the Colosseum and Roman Forum, Monti is also home to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains Church), which have beautiful architecture and are well worth a visit.
There are numerous squares in the area where local and tourist gathering. The Piazza Della Madonna Dei Monti, for example, is a good spot to enjoy coffee, wine, and do people-watching.
You can also take a stroll along picturesque streets of Monti such as the Via Urbana with lots of artisan shops, restaurants and boutique hotels. The Via San Giovanni is a lively hub of LGBTQ+ culture, home to many restaurants and bars that cater to LGBT communities.
Monti has several local markets to experience daily local life and browse local products at the Mercato Rionale Monti and Trajan’s Market, a historical complex of the Roman period.
Other places of interest are the Capitoline Museums – art and archaeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, Vespa Museum, Monumento Nazionale.
The neighborhood is easy to explore on foot, and is well-connected to public transportation. Subways stops such as the Cavour, Termini, and Colosseo are in area, while Roma Termini train station, the city’s transportation hub is only 15 minutes walk away.
Overall, Monti is one of the best areas for the first time due to its central location, proximity to the famous Colosseum, as well as hippy vibe, and wide range of budget-friendly accommodation options compared to the historic center.
Stay in Monti if you’re first-timers and young couples looking for a mix of history and modern vibes; you want to stay close to ancient Rome and the Colosseum; you want good nightlife locally; you want budget-friendly choices compared to Centro Storico;
Best places to stay in Rome near Colosseum for first-timers:
luxury ($$$): Hotel Palazzo Manfredi – Small Luxury Hotels of the World This 5-star hotel is a great place to stay in Rome for couples and families. It offers breathtaking views of the Coliseum at the rooftop terrace, a 2-minute walk from Colosseo Metro Station.
mid-range ($$): Monti Palace Hotel This 4-star hotel is within walking distance from Cavour Metro, Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica, Via Nazionale shopping street. it has elegant rooms with a smart TV, parquet flooring, and free wifi.
budget ($): Hotel Raffaello; Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western This 3-star hotel is situated in a quiet street in a pleasant area less than 10 minutes’ walk from both Rome Termini Station and the Coliseum.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN ROME MONTI
6. Termini Station/Esquilino
Roma Termini, or Rome’s central station, is the biggest train station in Rome. It is where most people pass through when coming to Rome by airplane. It’s within walking distance to the sights of the historic center, Trevi fountain, the Colosseum, as well as a short metro and bus ride to the Vatican city.
Termini Railway station is best area to stay in Rome for one night due to its central location, well-connected to public transportation, offering easy access to major tourist attractions, as well as the airports, both Fiumicino and Ciampino.
You can find some good value accommodation here, and there is a lot of choice of low to mid-range hotels, hostels, and guest houses, making it a great base for budget travelers.
There are several interesting sights around the station such as the National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo, and the Baths of Diocletian (the Latin word for baths is “thermae”).
Located just south of the Termini railway station, the districts of Esquilino and San Giovanni are central districts of Rome. Esquilino is the home to Rome’s Chinatown, and there is some good value and delicious Chinese food to be had here.
Even though this part of town isn’t the most famous for historical sights, there are still some splendid things to see, including the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This church dates all the way back to the 9th century and is lavishly decorated in gold leaf.
The central square of this district is called Piazza Vittorio. It’s a lively and bustling place, excellent for shopping and people-watching. Nearby the Piazza dei Cinquecento is packed with shops and restaurants, travel agents, and currency exchanges booths.
If you’re a keen shopper, you should also visit the enormous indoor Mercato Esqualino market, which has a particularly inviting food section. Mercato Centrale is also nearby, providing a wide range of food stalls and gourmet products.
Termini is not the most secure areas in Rome, so if you choose to stay around Rome central station, I suggest to avoid walking alone at night in this area. And always take care of your belongings to avoid pickpocketing.
Stay in Termini station and Esquilino if you’re traveling on a budget; you want to be close to the central rail station; you want convenient to the train; you stay one night in Rome;
Best places to stay in Termini Station for first-time visitors:
mid-range ($$): Eurostars Roma Aeterna This 4-star hotel is a former pharmaceutical factory located in the pedestrian area of Rome’s Pigneto, popular for its cafés and bars. A bus stop nearby take you to Termini Train Station, while Pigneto Metro Station is a 5-minute walk away.
budget ($): The Cross Hotel this 3-star hotel is set in a 19th century villa, in a quiet yet central location, 8 minutes’ walk from St. John Lateran Basilica. It offers a garden terrace, air-conditioned rooms, and free wifi.
budget ($): Hotel Balilla The hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a desk, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. There are continental or à la carte breakfast.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN ESQUILINO
7. Testaccio /Ostiense
Testaccio is located off of the main tourist path over on the south side of the city, making it a great base to sample everyday Roman life. Formerly a working-class district, Testaccio was slowly transformed from into a popular food destinations, full of restaurants, bars, clubs, and lively nightlife.
Testaccio was one of the Roman Empire’s major trade hubs. You can find a small hill, Monte Testaccio, which is home to 53 million broken amphorae (wine jars). The hill is set right next to the ancient Tiber River port, and the warehouses.
Testaccio has an excellent food scene. It is home to the covered market, Mercato Testaccio, where you can find all kinds of fabulous Italian produce at affordable prices. There are also top-quality Italian food in the cluster of cafes and restaurants surrounding the market.
You can also find Città dell’altra Economia, which was once part of Rome’s old slaughterhouse, now home to social and cultural events, summer music festivals and organic food markets.
Other places of interest are the Non-Catholic Cemetery, which is the graves of the English poets Keats and Shelley, as well as Testaccio Pyramid, and Mattatoio Modern Art Museum.
Located to the South of Testaccio is the Ostiense, a former industrial district. You will have a half-hour journey into the main Rome attractions each day, but your base offers a real feel of today’s Rome with great street art, vibrant nightlife, and good food.
A significant historical landmark at the northern end of Via Ostiense there is the ancient Pyramid of Cestius, made from white Carrara marble. The Basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls is a massive church close to the San Paolo metro station.
Other cultural attractions are the Ostiense Necropolis, the catacombs of Santa Tecla and Commodilla. For shopping, you have Eataly, the famous shopping center. For nightlife, visit the area of Via Libetta, near the Testaccio zone.
Testaccio is a good area to find budget accommodation since it’s a little bit out of the center, prices are a bit lower and you can find some real accommodation bargains.
Stay in Testaccio if You’re traveling on a budget; you want great local vibe; you’re adventurous couples and food lovers who want to experience Rome like a local;
Best places to stay in Rome in Testaccio for first-timers:
budget ($): Hotel Major Aventinus this hotel is located within walking distance from the Testaccio area, Tiber River, Trastevere area, and Circo Massimo Metro Station. All guest rooms have free wifi, a desk, and have private or shared bathroom.
budget ($): Althea Inn Roof Terrace This guest house is set in Ostiense district, it offers a a paid airport shuttle service to Rome Ciampino airport. All guest rooms have a wardrobe, a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN ROME
This colorful area is a tram ride of 15 minutes from Rome’s center but what is that to make your base in an ever-improving, hipster district. You will find street art and murals as well as interesting graffiti and art installations. World travelers often liken it to Brooklyn in New York.
Today you will find lively nightlife with trendy bars and restaurants, intermingled with local houses and apartments. You may like a break from a hectic itinerary to just sit in one of its cafes to watch the world go by from early in the morning until late.
Try to avoid its pedestrianized main street, via del Pigneto, or Isola Pedonale, as there are many Acchiapini, people asking you to sit in their bars or restaurants.
Sandwiched between the Via Casilina and Via Prenestina, near the Tuscolana train station and Metro A line, the Pigneto area has good public transportation. You can find budget accommodation here, as well as mid-range hotels, often located on a piazza.
Best places to stay in Pigneto for the first time:
Eurostars Roma Aeterna is a 4-star hotel, located in the pedestrian-only area of Rome’s Pigneto, within a 5-minutes walk from Pigneto Metro Station. You can also take trams for the Vatican and Villa Borghese depart from Piazzale Prenestino which is 300m away.
Relais Villa Fiorelli Located in Piazza di Villa Fiorelli square, within walking distance from Re Di Roma Metro Station; Roma Tuscolana Train Station is 700m away, where you can go to Fiumicino International Airport.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS NEAR PIGNETO TRAIN STATION
9. Tridente and Trevi Fountain
Tridente is one of the best areas for the first time because it is the heart of tourist Rome. It is the area between the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Venezia. Here you will find the famous Trevi Fountain, and if you walk on, the Spanish Steps. Both appear in the list of ‘Top Ten’ things to see in Rome.
The most famous Trevi Fountain is a stunningly ornate marble sculpture completed in the 18th century. The site of this fountain dates back far earlier than that, though since it was the endpoint of an ancient Roman viaduct.
As you probably know, the saying goes that if you drop a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you will one day return to Rome. Think carefully before dropping three in though, since this apparently means that you will marry a Roman! Whether or not this is true, it’s one of the classic bucket list things to do while in the city.
The Piazza del Popolo square, or the People’s Square, is set next to to the Aurelian Walls and close to Porta del Popolo (formerly Porta Flaminia). It was the main entrance to Rome city during the Roman Empire.
In and around People’s Square stands Fontana dei Leoni and Santa Maria del Popolo, the Chigi Chapel by Raffaello, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Santa Maria in Montesanto, and Pincio Terrace.
There are also the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Barberini Palace, Quirinal Palace, Modern Art Gallery, Capuchin Crypt, and Vicus Caprarius.
You can wander around its streets that start from the square such as Via del Babuino, Via del Corso, and Via di Ripetta. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to fine dining, casual, and more formal. The shopping is wonderful high-fashion boutiques like Gucci, Valentino, and Fendi, and all the architecture is impressive.
You will find that accommodation can be more expensive than in other parts of Rome, but you will still find good value if you do your research. While you may not get a feel of local Rome, there are few other drawbacks if you choose Tridente as your base.
Best places to stay in Tridente for first-timers:🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN NEAR TRIDENTE
10. San Lorenzo
Known as Rome’s alternative spot, San Lorenzo is vibrant, student-friendly with the Università La Sapienza nearby, a slightly down-at-heel area of Rome just to the southeast of Rome’s Termini train station and close the Campo Verano cemetery.
It’s great for budget travelers, people seeking fun nightlife, but perhaps not the best choice for families. The area around its main square, Piazza, has a highest concentration of nightlife venues.
Certainly, there are far more scenic and attractive areas of Rome, since poor San Lorenzo was almost totally destroyed during World War II. But its lack of striking architecture doesn’t mean that the district isn’t full of charm.
In fact, what San Lorenzo has to offer is an intoxicating and bohemian collection of very affordable, very delicious restaurants, hip bars, and up-and-coming urban charm.
This part of the city is covered with colorful and vibrant street art that goes a long way to make up for the relative blandness of the architecture. Check out the painting and murals the long wall along Via dei Sardi, Via dei Sabelli, andVia Dei Lucani.
One of the few old buildings that escaped the bombs of world war II is the Basilica di San Lorenzo Fuori Le Mura (St Lawrence Outside the Walls), which is an ancient church with a spectacular mosaic covering its vast dome.
San Lorenzo is well-connected public transportation with Prati, Appia Nuova and the downtown areas. From Castro Pretorio Metro Station, you can visit famous Piazza di Spagna and Via dei Condotti.
Stay in San Lorenzo if you’re traveling on a budget, you want a hip, bohemian vibe, you want to stay close to the central station, you want great dining and nightlife at affordable prices.
Best places to stay in Rome in San Lorenzo:
budget ($): B&B Hotel Roma San Lorenzo Termini Located in the San Lorenzo district, only 15 minutes’ walk of Termini Station, and Porta Maggiore, this B&B offers both buffet and an Italian breakfast.
budget ($): Hotel Villa San Lorenzo Maria Located in San Lorenzo in the centre of Rome, this hotel offers air conditioned rooms with private bathroom, free wifi, and free car parking.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN SAN LORENZO
Located just half an hour by train from central Rome on Italy’s west coast, the resort town of Ostia is also set to the south of the airport town of Fiumicino and the head of the Tiber. This beautiful Roman countryside is surrounded by pines and cypress trees.
Ostia was very important in ancient Roman times since it was the central harbor city of the Roman empire’s capital. There is archaeological park here at Ostia Antica, where the river Tiber meets the sea. The ruins are open to tourists and there’s an on-site museum housing the most significant finds.
In this archaeological park, you will find the semi-circular theater, which was built during the reign of Augustus at the end of the first century BC. You can take a look at its countless mosaics, which is an ancient form of art. The ancient roman bar of thermopilus in Via Diana is one of the impresive parts of Ostia Antica.
Other ruins are The House of Diana, Bakery of Silvano, Piazza of the Corporations, Capitolium, Baths of Porta Marina, Public Latrines, Temple of Fabri Navales, Meat Market, and Fishmongers’ Shops.
Apart from roman ruins, you can visit a little area called Borgo di ostia antica. It’s a great place to take a photos and grab a meal!
If you are interested in water sports, diving, or fishing, all of these activities are easily arranged at local travel agencies or with your hotel. Ostia Beach is the closest beach to Rome, it can be crowded on the weekends.
You can rent lounger, a beach umbrella from the various stabilimenti or grab gelato or a cool drink along its broadway, Pontile di Ostia.
There are some good hotels and places to stay in Ostia, mostly at mid-range prices. Since you’re beside the sea, you might as well grab a seafront hotel or one of the many private apartments available to rent around Ostia Lido and Fumicino nearby.
Stay in Ostia if You want to stay by the sea, Don’t mind traveling into the city by train, You’re traveling with family.
Best places to stay in Ostia for first-time visitors:
mid-range ($$): Fly Decó Hotel This beachfront hotel is located in Lido di Ostia, easy walk from Ostia Lido Beach. Each guest room has air-conditioning, a desk, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet.
budget ($): Hotel La Scaletta This 3-star hotel is located in Ostia’s seaside promenade, 30-minute train ride from central Rome. It’s within easy walk from Lido di Ostia Centro Station with the links to archaeological ruins of Ostia Antica, and Rome’s historic centre.🔍MORE HOTEL DEALS IN ROME
🎬 you can watch this full video about best areas in Rome at my youtube channel.
Where should I stay in Rome for the first time?
Centro Storico is the best overall area for first-timers due to central location, walkability, safety, easy access to public transportation, attractions, and amenities. Staying here allows you to be located within walking distance to major sights, restaurants, bars, and shops.
What are the best areas to stay in Rome for tourists?
Centro Storico, Piazza di Spagna, Trastevere, Prati & Borgo, Monti, Trevi, Termini Central Station, and Testaccio are the best areas to stay in Rome for first time travelers because they are the most popular and safe neighborhoods that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.
Where are the best areas to stay in Rome with family?
Centro Storico, Trastevere, Prati, Spanish Steps, and Ostia are the best areas for families due to their central locations, proximity to family-friendly attractions, and its wide variety of facilities.
What are the best areas to stay in Rome for couples?
Trastevere, Centro Storico, Trevi/ Spanish Steps, Monti, and Prati are best bases for couples. Each area offers its own unique charm and romantic atmosphere, allowing couples to create special memories during their visit to the Eternal City.
What are the best areas to stay in Rome on a budget?
Trastevere, Termini Station, Monti, San Lorenzo, and Testaccio are the best areas for budget travelers. These areas not only offer budget-friendly accommodations but are also well-connected to Rome’s major attractions by public transportation.
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In conclusion, Centro Storico, Piazza di Spagna, Trastevere, Prati, Monti, Termini, and Testaccio are some of the best places to stay in Rome for tourists and first-time travelers. They offer safe central locations with plenty of accommodation options for all budget travelers.
Overall, I will recommend Centro Storico as the best location to stay in Rome for first-timers because it is the most convenient and safe location to see Rome’s major attractions. If you stay here, you will be surrounded by tourist landmarks, restaurants, bars, and shops.
By now, as you know where to stay in Rome, all you need to do is to book a hotel, and consider to buy an crossbody purse to protect yourself from pickpocket.