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Esquilino-San Giovanni, Rome Travel Guide

Esquilino-San Giovanni Summary


  • The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, dating to the 5th century A.D.; it's the largest church dedicated to Mary in Rome
  • The Basilica of San Giavanni in Laterno, the official seat of the Pope, housing the holy steps which Jesus allegedly climbed to get his death sentence
  • Somewhat close to Rome's most popular ancient monuments
  • Easy access to Termini station and the Metro
  • Easy access to buses


  • Seedy, rundown area (especially at night)
  • Hotels in area are often rundown and past their prime
  • Heavy bus and train traffic brings bad air quality
  • Flagrantly racist graffiti is common

What It's Like

As with many neighborhoods surrounding major transportation hubs, the vicinity of Termini Station can get pretty seedy with vagrants and gangs of youth milling about. The neighborhood is rundown and dirty, with racist graffiti (local bigots bemoan that fact that the area is now home to a high number of Chinese immigrants). Ask any native Roman and they’ll tell you it’s not a fun place to be wandering about at night. And while the area isn’t terribly far from Rome’s popular ancient sites, it’s not nearly as convenient as staying near the Pantheon or Colosseum, especially for first-time visitors.

Where To Stay

Your best option for avoiding a seedy, rundown experience is to stay in the northern part of the neighborhood, above Via Cavour near the Opera House. Staying near the area's main tourist sights, such as Santa Maria Maggiore, is also a good bet.

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