See Also: Best Things to Do in Rome
They say, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Well, a place as majestic as Rome, certainly wasn't. Welcome to the land of ancient ruins, vibrant culture, and authentic Italian ambience. Keeping in touch with its roots, rich cultural history and traditions, modern Rome has built itself around it, giving every visitor a taste of ancient Rome's history with a modern touch. Even with its monumental presence, the city is much more than the Colosseum or the Pantheon. It is natural to be overwhelmed with the Vatican City being in the near vicinity, yet, it will be quite unjust to consider this city to be all about the glorious past with a religious significance.
With sculptural masterpieces, beautiful marble fountains, and historic ruins spread all over the city; there's more to Rome than one can experience in one visit. As the city is spread out over a vast region, every neighbourhood sports a distinctive personality with noteworthy features that leave a memorable experience in any visitor's mind.
While the Tridente region of the city is where you can expect to find the marble wonders along with various other important sights and magnificent churches, Parione, on the other hand, is filled with bars and famous for its experience of Roman nightlife. If you are looking for an exciting party atmosphere post-sun-down, Parione is the place for you. Places like Garbetta and Borgo is home to the impressive Roman architecture and traditional neighbourhood of Rome. Along with historical importance, Borgo serves as the neighbourhood bordering Vatican City, and it is where Michelangelo lived while he worked on the Sistine Chapel. While on the one hand, Aventino provides a serene ambience with picturesque gardens and views towards the Vatican City; on the other, you have the neighbourhood Ostiense, where you get to see Rome's street art.
Rome is much more than a citywide web of 17th-century architecture, and definitely a lot more than a place with buzzing city life. Its people, their culture, their traditions, and the very place itself provide a beautiful adventure to any tourist that visits this iconic capital city. So, before you plan your holiday in this beautiful Italian capital, let's take a closer look at this city's neighbourhoods to help you decide where to stay in Rome.
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If you are looking for the best neighbourhood to enjoy the Roman nightlife, Trastavere is your place. Across the Tiber river from central Rome, Trastavere is a picturesque destination as the beautiful medieval streets are lined with pizza stalls, neighbourhood cafes, and fine dinings serving authentic Italian cuisines and delicious pizzas. Once you visit this neighbourhood, you will fall in love with this Roman district. Famous for its colourful lanes over the river from the Roman Historic centre, here you can marvel at the roman architecture of the old churches and crumbling walls of the villas. Do check out the Basilica of Santa Maria if you are in Trastevere. While it is a great place to explore and find yourself amidst Roman history as you enjoy delicious food, Trastevere is quite different in the after-hours.
Every night Trastavere comes up with a colourful party ambience as the cafes and the bars become a hangout spot for the locals and the tourists post-sun-down. Enjoy a happening Roman party life along with the native Romans, the locales, students, and the tourists amidst the party buzz and a never-ending flow of wine.
Famous for some popular bars and Rome's oldest jazz clubs, Prati sports the vibe of an elegant and calm neighbourhood that is active with the rush of tourists and crowds and quietens down at the nights. The wide streets of Prati attract tourists for its magnificent palazzos and the opportunity for shopping on and around Via Cola di Rienzo. Home to a large number of shopping centres, trattorias, and restaurants, this vibrant neighbourhood is a great place to stay if you are looking for a relatively calmer experience of Rome.
Bordering Prati, the Vatican gives its tourists a spell-bounding experience of Rome's religious history. Situated on the left bank of the river Tiber, tourists often come here to visit the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica.
Known for Rome's famous tourist attractions like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the outstanding churches of the Piazza del Popolo, Rome's Tridente is a place you would love to explore. In the tourist-filled shopping strip of Via de' Condotti, you will find many high fashioned designer boutiques and flagship stores of famous brands. Rome's Tridente also has the most glamorous hotels in the city. Being a posh neighbourhood, with significant Italian Baroque icons and some major attractions in its near vicinity, accommodation at Tridente comes at a hefty price. Yet, Rome's Tridente is loved by tourists for its busy fashionable street and city's most elegant restaurants.
On the other hand, if you are looking for the ambience of an old Rome, The Trevi Fountain area nearby is where you would like to be. Filled with small hotels and B&Bs, The Trevi Fountain is a populated central Rome neighbourhood area, that still holds on to its with tiny cobblestone streets.
A neighbourhood centred around the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and other Italian ancient ruins, Ancient Rome is all about Roman architecture, history, and of course, eateries. Although mostly known to tourists for its sightseeing options, Ancient Rome does have several excellent hotels and accommodation options. While ancient ruins and sights like Pantheon and Trevi Fountain beautify the neighbourhood, over the river, you have St Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.
Close to Ancient Rome, Monti radiates a young Roman feel with a laid-back village vibe. Filled with fashionable boho boutiques, hip cafes, bars, excellent restaurants, and fine-dining, Monti has a lively neighbourhood that gets amped up at night, mainly near Piazza Madonna dei Monti, Via Leonina and Via Urbana. Being close to the Colosseum, the area is always buzzing with tourists as the hip crowd gathers together to eat, share wine, and hang out around the central fountain. Monti is a vibrant and fun place to stay with the typical Roman neighbourhood of orange townhouses, offering a surreal experience with the view of the grand amphitheatre filling up the skyline. It's also very close to the famous Piazza di Spagna.
Southwest of Monti is Celio, right behind the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. This small neighbourhood has a strong history, and despite the flow of tourists it attracts, it still holds on to its past. There's more to this district than the cobblestoned streets, or quaint churches, as with changing times, tall buildings have lined up along the streets. Filled with restaurants, bars, and a daily market, the life of the local community in Celio has become all the more happening as tourists pour into the neighbourhood during the weekends. The nightlife here has a party vibe thanks to the bars and pubs on Via San Giovanni in Laterano. Even with changing times, Celio has managed to hold on to its past while giving a modern touch to it. While the areas close to the Colosseum are touristy and buzzing with the crowd, the lanes near the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano are quieter and residential.
Famous for being a foodie's hotspot, for the authentic Italian dishes and the traditional Roman food, Testaccio used to be where Rome's working-class once lived. A little away from the rush of the touristy crowd, located to the south of the city's centre, Testaccio has changed a lot from what once it used to be. What was once the slaughterhouse, has now been converted into the MACRO art museum. In addition to that, the old market has also been shifted to a newer location. Yet, it still holds on to its roots and maintains its landmarks like the surviving ancient Roman pyramid, the old Roman dump called Monte Testaccio, Rome's Emporium (port), and the famous food market. The once historical place is now renowned for its night clubs and discos.
Talking about food, modern Testaccio is mostly famous for its culinary scene, and it is where most Roman cuisines originated. If you want to try authentic Italian dishes, Testaccio is still the best neighbourhood for that.
What was once a port for the Roman Empire and a slaughterhouse that employed generations, is now home to an active population with numerous popular restaurants and diners favoured by chefs and locals alike. If you are in Testaccio, taking part in the Testaccio food walk, visiting the restaurants on Via del Portico d'Ottavia, enjoying the street art, and a visit to the Testaccio Market should be in your to-do list.
Ideal for people who want to explore Rome, other than the obvious Colosseum and Spanish Steps, Aventino is a hilltop haven, perfectly suited for the souls looking for a serene experience. Located on one of Rome's seven hills, Aventino is one of the greenest parts of the city, away from the rush and noise of the city centre. With beautiful tree-lined avenues of grand villas, the Aventine neighbourhood has multiple historical sites to boast about while providing with numerous cafes and bars for drinking wine and tasting Italian cuisines. With the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla and some quaint churches in the neighbourhood, the place provides an exceptional view of St. Peter's Basilica, beautifully framed by the villa gardens, from Magistral Villa itself. The Savello Park acts as a refuge to many tourists, proving a picturesque view of the sunset from the west-facing hill.
With a rich history in its books, the Aventine neighbourhood is a popular residential area, with elegant villas and classy gardens. To get the proper taste of the district, away from the rush of the tourists, explore the region by foot and have a calming experience in the Orange Gardens. Far from the general route taken by the tourists, The Aventine neighbourhood has still held on to its one of a kind personality.
A neighbourhood with a fascinating history of the World war II era, Pigneto is a funky bohemian area outside the tourist sections of Rome. What now is known for its student and nightlife, during World war II days, Pigneto was the centre of Roman resistance. Later on, many Italian Neo-Realist cinemas were based on this very neighbourhood.
Although a bit subdued compared to the happening lifestyle of the rest of the Roman districts due to its location away from the centre, Pigneto is still preferred by locals for its lively ambience and an active nightlife. Known mostly for its large scale student population, Pigneto is preferred by the tourists if they are looking for cheaper options for accommodation. Filled with excellent cafes, wine bars, and restaurants, expect to find diners with the best of diverse international cuisines along with some Ethiopian food, Brazilian and Greek delicacies in the area.
Ostiense stands in the cultural and historical map of Rope as a perfect example of the union of past and present times. Situated on the banks of the Tiber river, Ostiense is the home to four major basilicas of Catholic Rome. With spell bounding architecture, authentic Italian cuisine, and an active nightlife, Ostiense has a thriving countercultural art scene. While ancient Roman sculptures at Centrale Montemartini is a significant tourist attraction, street art is the neighbourhood is an Ostiense-exclusive as the fresh paints add a new look to the forgotten buildings. Explore the creation of worldwide recognized artists as you get involved in a world where ancient dilapidated ruins smoothly transform with this unique art form.
Being a city covering up such a large area, Rome can be considered into smaller chunks of the neighbourhood based on the personality or their geographical location. Yet, the Eternal City is the sum of all its parts. Each with its one of a kind feature, from mouth-watering dishes to jaw-dropping architecture, every neighbourhood has something to offer. It doesn't matter where you stay, be it close to the centre- amidst the rush or away from all of that- hoping to enjoy a calmer experience, you will enjoy Rome; for Rome is a city that is loved by all.