While most European capitals are divided up into fairly distinct and organized neighborhoods, Rome marches to its own beat. That's perhaps not surprising -- the landscape is a bit haphazard, dictated by thousands of years of history and the whims of urban planning. Figuring out where to base yourself in Rome can be a challenge, especially given the underwhelming public transportation options and major sights that are scattered across the city. With that in mind, we're breaking down Rome's best neighborhoods based on our many visits to the city. Whether you're here for ancient history, shopping, or food, we've got you covered no matter your budget or travel style.
When you think of Rome, you likely think of monuments like the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo — both of which call Campo Marzio home. Campo Marzio is one of those neighborhoods that blends Rome’s ancient soul and modern style seamlessly. You’ll find work by Bernini and Caravaggio at Santa Maria del Popolo, as well as an incredible array of luxury designer outlets, especially near Piazza di Spagna and along Via Condotti. It’s a monumentally sized district, but there are plenty of quiet and quaint corners, too. That’s especially true along Campo Marzio’s Via Margutta, which is lined with tiny art galleries, cute cafes, high-end boutiques, and luxury boutique hotels. We love options like Margutta 19, though historic properties like Hotel Locarno also draw plenty of locals to its lovely, leafy terrace during aperitivo hour.
Hotel Pick in Campo Marzio, Rome:
If you’ve done any research about Rome, you’ve likely read about Monti. This is central Rome at its most charming. Cobblestone streets wind their way through buildings that are impeccably dressed in flowering vines, while historic bakeries like Ciuri Ciuri and Antico Forno Serpenti crank out mouthwatering pastries all day long. In fact, Monti is flush with Roman trattorias and cafes, all of which spill out onto sunny pavement terraces that are great for people-watching. Contemporary boutiques line the charming lanes, including several popular vintage spots like Pifebo, while Mercato Monti draws a bohemian crowd looking for indie designer goods on the weekends. What’s more? Monti is one of the most central neighborhoods in Rome, and while it’s busy, it feels far less hectic than areas closer to the major tourist sights like the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.
Hotel Pick in Monti, Rome:
If you want to be right in the middle of Rome’s tourist madness, then Trevi is the district for you. Officially known as Rione II, Trevi centers on the landmark from which it derives its name: the Trevi Fountain. This white-marble beauty forms the heart of the neighborhood, and is like a magnet that reaches its waves out across the city, drawing visitors in endless droves. The Trevi district is best for travelers looking to be centrally located or who are only in town for a couple of days and want maximum convenience for reaching the city’s biggest monuments. We often hear the question, “What is the best time to visit the Trevi Fountain?” If you’re staying in the Trevi district, you’re in luck, because you can simply step out of your hotel to glimpse the iconic fountain without the insane crowds. The neighborhood is also home to Piazza Barberini (which is near the sunning Crypt of the Capuchin Friars and Palazzo Barberini and its incredible sculptures) and near Piazza Venezia.
Hotel Pick in Trevi, Rome:
There once was a time when Trastevere was the epitome of untouched, classic Rome. While those days are waning, you’ll still find the right amount of local charm. Trastevere is easily one of Rome’s most picturesque neighborhoods, with a wide network of semi-pedestrianized streets winding in every direction. The district’s most famous landmark is the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, but the restaurants are the main reason most travelers will find themselves visiting the area. For amazing panini, stop by La Renella (but be prepared for lines) or opt for evening pasta at Osteria da Zi Umberto. There are also delicious Italian cookies at the charmingly frill-free Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti. If you need to work off all that indulgence, head up the steps to the Gianicolo, which has some of the best views of Rome. Alternatively, hit up the antique market at Porta Portese on Sundays for only-in-Rome finds.
Hotel Pick in Trastevere, Rome:
The Trevi Fountain is far from the only monument in central Rome. In fact, it’s incredibly close to several other major landmarks, including Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, and the Pantheon. Technically, the neighborhoods that hold them are known as Parione, Sant’Eustachio, and Pigna. Parione is home to both Bernini’s stunning Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, while Sant’Eustachio is best known for the Pantheon and Pigno is packed with churches and palaces. Despite a plethora of big-ticket sights and tourist-oriented cafes, the area also has a ton of history, and the narrow lanes that wind east from Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori are lined with cool boutiques, charming restaurants, bakeries, and bars. Looking for a great place to sip on an aperitivo any night of the week? Arrive early and grab a table at Bar del Fico for a taste of how the locals live. You’d also do well to try the famous Roman-style pizzas at La Montecarlo.
Hotel Pick in Piazza Navona, Rome:
Pigneto: Best for Brooklyn-esque Vibes and Italian Traditions
Pigneto is not the most central district in Rome, but if you’re after a local experience, then this neighborhood is your pick. Here, you’ll find a cool mix of indie boutiques, record shops, bookstores, and vintage spots alongside old-school Roman bars, charming trattorias, and a bustling weekday produce market. Pigneto is home to Necci dal 1924, which was the haunt of regulars like Pier Paolo Pasolini (the famous Italian director), though it still draws devoted locals to its leafy outdoor terraces. Quaint cafes and gelato shops also call tree-lined Pigneto home, while plenty of street art and a mix of Roman denizens, newly arrived youngsters, and a thriving immigrant community all give this neighborhood its Brooklyn-esque vibe. It lacks the historic architecture of the city center, but it’s connected by the metro and is a go-to destination for weekend drinks.
Hotel Pick in Pigneto, Rome:
Regola and Sant’Angelo might just be the most charming districts in Rome’s compact and busy core. The streets of these two neighborhoods are calm when compared to those found just north in Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, and Trevi. What Regola and Sant’Angelo lack in packed sidewalks, they make up for in charm and atmosphere. Regola in particular offers a cool mix of Old World Rome alongside boutiques and cafes, especially along Via Giulia and Via dei Banchi Vecchi. Regola is also home to Roscioli, which arguably serves one of the most famous cacio e pepe dishes in the city (and also includes a bustling bakery and salumeria) — reservations are a must. Heading east into Sant’Angelo, you’ll eventually reach the Jewish Quarter, which also holds countless restaurants, cafes, and bars plus ancient Roman ruins and sobering relics of the atrocities perpetrated during World War II.
Hotel Pick for Regola and Sant’Angelo, Rome:
Testaccio: Best for Famous Pasta, Cool Art, and Rowdy Nightlife
With architecture that hails from Rome’s more industrial past, Testaccio isn’t a hotbed of Renaissance style or Baroque excess. It is, however, emblematic of all things Roman, from past to present. Here, you’ll spot elderly locals and families who’ve called Testaccio home for decades alongside hipsters, artists, and queer couples. They line up for some of the city’s most famous pasta at Felice a Testaccio and Flavio al Velavevodetto, or head to funkier newcomers like Ristorante Angelina and Trapizzino Testaccio. There are several leafy plazas to kick back in with a bag of cookies or a scoop of gelato, as well as sycamore-filled boulevards that lead to the wild nightlife in Monte Testaccio. Here, rowdy bars and nightclubs line the back side of a “mountain” that’s made from cocci — ancient Roman pottery that’s been broken, piled high, and turned into a mountain by the centuries. Testaccio’s slightly off-center leanings are also on display at Mattatoio and Citta dell’Altra Economia — a sprawling former slaughterhouse turned art space, cultural center, farmer’s market, craft fair, and gathering spot.
Hotel Pick in Testaccio, Rome:
While it’s not replete with ancient Roman ruins or the narrow alleyways that make central Rome so iconically romantic, Prati is a major neighborhood for tourists visiting Rome. That’s in large part due to its next-door neighbor, Vatican City. Technically an independent nation, the Vatican pulls thousands of visitors on a daily basis to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica and Square. The whole complex is monumental, but be sure to book your tickets in advance online. The Prati neighborhood itself holds plenty of gems, and is by no means sedate. This is one of Rome’s luxury shopping hubs, particularly along Via Cola di Rienzo and the streets branching off of it. You’ll also find cool neighborhood holes-in-the-wall, like 200 Gradi (serving an inventive panini), Pizzeria Giacomelli (for traditional Roman fare), and Pompi (a chain, but still worth checking out).
Hotel Pick in Prati, Rome:
San Lorenzo: Best for Bar Hopping and Street Art
While Pigneto gets the lion’s share of Brooklyn comparisons, San Lorenzo is certainly its rival for all things hip, young, and irreverent. The neighborhood is one of Rome’s scruffier central quarters, and is set just north of Termini Station. Even so, there’s a lot of charm here, including cool bookshop cafes, antique bakeries, lively open-air bars, parks, and a literary subculture that’s fueled by the nearby Sapienza University of Rome — the city’s largest. Because of that, the neighborhood is home to plenty of students (and the requisite rowdy bars), but the politically charged, anarchist, and socialist leanings of the local population aren’t ever very far from the surface. Live music as well as impromptu art and community spaces flourish here for now.
Hotel Pick in San Lorenzo, Rome:
Flaminio: Best for Laid-Back Vibes, Local Style, and Cutting-Edge Art
Flaminio doesn’t get much love from travelers to Rome, but for those willing to be slightly removed from the city’s packed tourist core, this neighborhood can be worth visiting. For starters, the streets are far less hectic than what you’ll find south of Piazza del Popolo. Additionally, you’ll find prices at cafes and restaurants to be more reasonable around here, since most tourists don’t make their way to Flaminio. It’s fairly well-connected by metro and tram (by Rome standards, at least), and Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo, Prati, the Spanish Steps, and the Tiber River are all within walking distance, if you’re staying in the southern parts of the neighborhood. Flaminio is also home to MAXXI, the Zaha Hadid-designed contemporary art and architectural center that’s a must-see.
Hotel Pick in Flaminio, Rome:
Esquilino is one of the largest districts in central Rome, and the character of the neighborhood varies depending on where you are. The parts that are closest to Termini Station’s tracks are scruffy and may feel a bit unnerving for inexperienced travelers at night. Those found closer to Termini Station’s main entrance are packed with budget hotels, tourist-friendly restaurants and bars, and plenty of street life. Head southeast and you’ll enter Rome’s Chinatown, where some side streets can feel a little dicey after dark (if you’re not familiar with urban environments). Esquilino is also home to its fair share of landmarks. Termini Station is abuzz all day with travelers, and major churches in the neighborhood include the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Scala Santa (which is just across from the striking Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano). You’ll also find a smattering of Roman ruins here, including Porta Maggiore and the Arco di Gallieno. Hotels at the western edge of this neighborhood put you close to the Roman Forum and Colosseum, as well as Monti’s charming lanes.
Hotel Pick in Esquilino, Rome:
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