Where to stay in Rome

The Historical Centre of Rome within the city walls is only 13.7 square kilometres (5.3 sq miles) the areas of the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Campo de’Fiori, Trastevere, Vatican and Villa Borghese, Colosseum and Termini are all within this area so almost all of Rome can be navigated on foot each area is from 5 to 30 mins from each location

Each above-mentioned central area has a distinct flavor and some areas are busier in the day than the evening, some are better for night life, others for shopping or are full of history, read our descriptions below to help understand where you should stay.

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps area is the location of Rome’s most prestigious shopping, stores such as Fendi, Prada, Zegna, Boss, Louis Vuiton which are located in the famous streets in the area like via Condotti and via Frattina. The most luxurious and famous of Rome’s 5 star hotels are found in this area. The Spanish Steps area is where many wealthy Roman families live so you will also find small open food markets and supermarkets, delicatessens and bakeries as well as excellent restaurants serving the local population as well as tourists. This area is a good base for those who prefer their action in the day as the evenings are relatively calm by Rome standards. There is a rental car drop off and pick up under Villa Borghese that you can get to in around 15 mins which is under Villa Borghese, the entrance is in Piazza di Spagna and the Metro Stop SPAGNA is on the Metro line A.

Approx Walking distances from the Spanish Steps to:
  • Piazza Navona 15 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 20 mins
  • Trastevere 30 mins
  • Vatican 25 mins
  • Villa Borghese 15 mins
  • Colosseum 30 mins
  • Termini 25 mins

Piazza Navona

The area of Piazza Navona is bustling by day and night. There are many interesting independent boutiques and vintage stores around via Governo Vecchio and the side streets are the home of some of Rome’s best trattorie and the Pizzerie. Campo de’ Fiori is just a five minute walk from here, so if you love to cook this area is very convenient to Rome’s largest daily food market. The evenings attract a large crowd of local people to the abundance of bars and cafes so if you area looking for tranquility or early nights you should by mindful that in this area people will be out till late enjoying the nightlife.

Approx Walking distances from Piazza Navona to:
  • Spanish Steps 15 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 5 mins
  • Trastevere 30 mins
  • Vatican 25 mins
  • Villa Borghese 25 mins
  • Colosseum 30 mins
  • Termini 25 mins

Campo de’Fiori

The Campo de’ Fiori area is the location of the famous open air food and flower market of the same name. Mon to Sat each week sees the whole piazza filled with produce and the perimeter of the piazza has outdoor cafes, a perfect position for people watching the boistrous market workers and locals going about their daily lives. By mid afternoon the market stalls have all been packed away and all the refuse removed and cleaned and the piazza becomes a meeting place for the young of Rome. By late night on a Saturday night you will find a sea of young people peacefully gathering, some eating a gelato others having a drink in the cafes and bars and others just walking through on their evening passeggiata. Keep in mind that this beautiful area suits those visitors who would like to be in the centre of the action, however of course there are many apartments that area tucked away in the site streets that are relatively quiet, the main street noise is found in the piazzas.

Approx Walking distances from Campo de’ Fiori to:
  • Spanish Steps 20 mins
  • Piazza Navona 5 mins
  • Trastevere 10 mins
  • Vatican 20 mins
  • Villa Borghese 25 mins
  • Colosseum 25 mins
  • Termini 35 mins

Trastevere

Trastevere is one of Rome’s oldest areas, just over the Tiber river from Campo de’ Fiori. Many of the local inhabitants (Trasteverini) have lived there for generations and some boast that they don’t ever cross the river. The area still has many artisan’s workshops today especially on the quieter left side of the Viale Trastevere which cuts through the middle of Trastevere. Whereas the right hand side where you’ll find the main piazza, Santa Maria in Trastevere which is busy in the day and night with both Romans and tourists alike. Here you’ll find an abundance of cafes and bars and most of the shops. Trastevere is the home to the John Cabot University and is therefore the favorite meeting place in the evenings of the young international University crowd doing their year or semester abroad.

Approx Walking distances from Trastevere to
  • Spanish Steps 30 mins
  • Piazza Navona 10 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 5 mins
  • Vatican 20 mins
  • Villa Borghese 35 mins
  • Colosseum 25 mins
  • Termini 35 mins

Vatican

Within the walls of Vatican City you’ll find tour groups, tour groups all with the purpose of visiting the magnificence of Saint Peters. However there is a very large residential area surrounding the walls of the Vatican which include the middle class area of Prati with it’s popular shopping street of Cola di Rienzo which has a daily covered fresh food market, large supermarket and Coin department store as well as shops representing almost every major mid market label. Via Cola di Rienzo runs between Vatican City and the river near to Piazza del Popolo. The ancient area called Borgo is the older part of the Vatican with cobbled streets and trattorie often filled with Nuns and Priests enjoying the delicious Roman fare. The Vatican/Prati area is very well connected via tram, metro and bus services and is an excellent choice for those who want to live away from the main tourist area and enjoy living around the locals.

Approx Walking distances from the Vatican to
  • Spanish Steps 25 mins
  • Piazza Navona 20 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 20 mins
  • Trastevere 20 mins
  • Villa Borghese 30 mins
  • Colosseum 40 mins
  • Termini 50 mins

Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese is one of Rome’s very large public green spaces, once the home and private parklands of the Borghese family. The gardens meet the Spanish Steps and then reach further North into the edge of the residential Parioli district. The residential streets surrounding the park benefit from the rare green space and respite from the hustle and bustle of Rome, especially in the long summer months. There are tram services running around three sides of the park and an electric bus service that runs through the park that can take you to other parts of the city, however it’s still close enough to walk to most parts of the city.

Approx Walking distances from Villa Borghese to
  • Piazza Navona 25 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 25 mins
  • Trastevere 35 mins
  • Vatican 30 mins
  • Villa Borghese 30 mins
  • Colosseum 40 mins
  • Termini 50 mins

Colosseum

The Colosseum area, also called Monti, is one of Rome’s oldest areas, steeped in history being the home of the Trajan Market, the Roman Forum and the Colossuem. This is a residential area with many old Roman families still living here after many generations and with excellent trattorie and pizzerie where you can eat very well with the locals. Like Trastevere, Monti is a favorite area for expats due to it’s very Roman atmosphere.

Approx Walking distances from the Colosseum to
  • Spanish Steps 30 mins
  • Piazza Navona 30 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 25 mins
  • Trastevere 25 mins
  • Vatican 40 mins
  • Villa Borghese 40 mind
  • Termini mins

Termini

The area around Termini station is fairly typical of all large European cities where the local population tends to be a multicultural mix, stores catering for the needs of the local population and some of the better ethnic restaurants can be found here and the small Chinatown area is just a few blocks from the station. The streets surrounding the station are busy in the day, but quieten down in the evenings. Many of Rome’s less expensive hotels and hostels and the larger hotels catering to tour groups are dotted around the area and the via Nazionale is famous for it’s well priced shopping. There are also many lovely residential streets as you move toward the colosseum area. The bus station outside of Termini has buses going to all corners of the city and Termini station is where you train will come in from Fiumicino airport and where you will depart on the Eurostar and other intercity trains.

Approx Walking distances from Termini Station to
  • Spanish Steps 25 mins
  • Piazza Navona 25 mins
  • Campo de’Fiori 35 mins
  • Trastevere 35 mins
  • Vatican 50 mins
  • Villa Borghese 50 mins
  • Colosseum 20 mins