From Termini to Lateran, a walk around Rome

Where to stay in Rome

Advice for travelers: where to stay in Rome for a tourist. The pros and cons of the different districts of Rome, as well as other useful information about the city, which is worth reading before booking a hotel or apartment. Choose the right places! Talusha shares her experience.

Rome is known to be one of the biggest tourist cities in the world and one of the most saturated. So in order not to spoil the impression and to protect yourself from all sorts of trouble, it is important to approach the question of choosing a hotel seriously.

On one of the tourist forums at one time so characterized the ideal hotel in Rome:

  1. 1) the main “beauties” and sights can be reached on foot;
  2. 2) not very noisy at night;
  3. 3) safe neighborhood.

Let’s find out if there is such a thing in nature.

What is the best neighborhood in Rome to stay in?

Rome is a city where the expression “legs fall off” becomes close and understandable, due to the fact that the sights are located at a considerable distance from each other: from the Colosseum to the Vatican a few kilometers! So you have to live in the historic center of the city . Probably you can book a hotel on the outskirts in one of the residential areas. It will cost much cheaper. But to spend an hour or two every day on the way to the center is still a pleasure. And time is a terrible pity, especially if you are only planning to stay in Rome for a couple of days. I understand that people from big cities can’t be afraid of this, but in everyday life we commute to work, and on vacation I would feel terrible about that hour and a half.

The center in Rome is long, stretching from Termini Station and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to the Vatican, from Parco Borghese to the Colosseum. This area is quite large (for example, from the Vatican to the station Termini is a good hour walk), so in the center of Rome there are several areas, each of which has its own characteristics. So, below we will consider the following areas and neighborhoods:

Surrounding Roma Termini Station

The area around Roma Termini station is probably the most budget-friendly option in central Rome. This is where domestic tour operators like to settle tourists. But this place is also of interest to independent travelers.

There is a widespread belief that the station area is dirty, rude and unsafe. I dare to challenge this point of view. Actually, the station has long been a place, though crowded, but quite clean and comfortable, valuable not only for being Rome’s largest transportation hub, but also for the fact that it (including the underground floor) has many stores, including a late-night supermarket, of which there are not many in the city center. Homeless people can still be found in the square near the bus platforms, but if you keep that in mind and avoid the square, you won’t have to cross with them

In terms of infrastructure, the station is also good: there are stores in the station building, grocery stores around, and small pizzerias frequented by locals and tourists who happen to wander in. The Termini area is also very convenient if you are planning to leave the city: there are many trains and buses (including those going to the airports), and two branches of the Rome metro intersect here. It is convenient to get to many attractions: to the forums and the Colosseum – about half an hour walk, but to the Vatican you will need to walk about an hour. However, as already mentioned, the Roman sights are scattered throughout the city, and if some object will be within walking distance, then some will certainly be quite far. So when choosing a hotel in Rome, proximity to attractions is more of a convention than a rule.

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How to choose a good place to stay in the area of Termini? Here you should stick to two guidelines. From the station, the vicinity of via Marsala, viale Castro Pretorio, and viale dell’Università, lies the university district, and from the other side, the streets leading to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colosseo. Both are good places to stay. If you prefer large chain hotels, look no further than Best Western Plus Universo, UNAHOTELS Decò Roma or the Independent Hotel. If you prefer smaller, cozy hotels, check out Gemme Di Roma.

The hotels near the aforementioned Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore are a different story.

The area around the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore

The area around the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and via Cavour, leading from Termini to the Roman Forums and the Colosseum, is interesting and quaint. The Fifteen Keys Hotel and Princeps Boutique Hotel are worth checking out, as are numerous budget guesthouses and B&Bs like Relais Forus Inn, Aenea Superior Inn, Merulana Inn and Domus Liberius.

The neighbourhood is relatively quiet and chambery, despite the fact that the train station is within walking distance (10-15 minutes) and the Imperial Forums and the Colosseum are in many cases even closer than to Termini. In the local streets you can find interesting places – for example, a coffee house “for himself,” or selling unique perfume perfume store with a century-old history. If you like to cook for yourself and you crave fresh food rather than restaurant food (although there are plenty of restaurants and wine cellars), you’ll find an excellent food market in the area (in via Baccina) where you can buy fresh fish and seafood, among other things. It makes sense to go for apartments with a kitchen and all the necessary utensils, rather than hotels. Between the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the forums, and the Colosseum, you can stay at the House & Colosseum (right next to the market) or the Urbana Apartment Colosseum, for example. If you want, of course, you can find other options, both on Booking.com (here’s a direct link to the “apartments and apartments” section) and on other hotel and apartment booking sites.

Via Nazionale

From Piazza della Repubblica, near Termini station, a long and lively Via Nazionale, one of Rome’s main shopping arteries, leads practically to the forums. The main, in my opinion, minus of the street and the hotels located on it is the street noise. There is a constant stream of traffic. So if you decide to live in Via Nazionale, it is worth asking for a room with a window overlooking the courtyard or choosing a hotel on the side streets: see, for example, the more or less budget Urben Guesthouse or the Villa Spalletti Trivelli, which is not the cheapest but very nice.

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But in terms of infrastructure, the street itself and its surroundings are good. The side streets are full of pizzerias, restaurants and a late-night Pam Local supermarket – small but smart. Stores selling clothes, shoes, and handbags are in almost every building not occupied by a hotel. Geographically the street is just as convenient. From here you can walk to the station in about 10-15 minutes. About the same time it takes to get on foot to the Capitoline Hill, the forums and the Pantheon. From this point of view, via Nazionale is probably preferable to the immediate surroundings of Termini, but hotels here are also more expensive on average. If budget allows, look out for Hotel Artemide. Cheaper options include Britannia Hotel, Nazionale 51 and Gea di Vulcano.

Caelius, or the vicinity of the Colosseum

Perhaps the most recognizable landmark of Rome is the Colosseo, near which there are a large number of hotels, guest houses and apartments. Some are not without a view of the famous ruins of the amphitheatre: see for example the five-star Hotel Palazzo Manfredi or the milder B&B Colosseo Panoramic Rooms. Most accommodation is concentrated south-east of the Colosseum in an area called Celio, after one of Rome’s seven hills.

Avoid hotels in the high-traffic streets and focus on in-block solutions, such as Hotel Celio and the hotels Lancelot and Marco Aurelio apartment complex49. Location-wise the Colosseum and the forums are within walking distance and Piazza Navona (which can be considered the core of Rome’s historic center) is a 20-minute walk through the shopping street Via del Corso. It is about the same distance to Laterano, the old residence of the Pope. But the main advantage of Celsius, in my opinion, is that this area is not heavily trampled by tourists and here you can see the quiet quiet non-touristy Rome. However it is worth considering the age of most of the buildings here: there are often problems with water supply, and the elevator in your chosen hotel may not be available at all. So before booking you should carefully read tourist reviews to make sure you have all the amenities you need.

Lateran

Another interesting Roman neighborhood is Laterano, once the seat of the Pope. It is, in fact, adjacent to the Caeli discussed above. It’s also a tourist-free place, but it’s quite far from the center and the Vatican – each walk will be half an hour longer, or you’ll have to use public transportation. But to live here is much cheaper than in the center, and problems with parking will be less if you’re going to Rome by car.

While there are few big chain hotels in Lateran, there are plenty of hostels, B&Bs, and apartments. Piazza San Giovanni with its metro station (San Giovanni) is an excellent base, around which you can find, for example, the Rome Central Rooms guesthouse, Vacanze romane holidays apartments and many other interesting options.

Via Veneto

Go to another part of Rome. Northwest of Termini station is the area of Via Veneto, Via del Tritone, and Via Barberini. From a tourist’s point of view, it’s no less convenient than the Via Nazionale neighborhood discussed above or the neighborhoods adjacent to Via Cavour. From the same train station you can walk to via Veneto in 15-20 minutes or take the metro (the nearest station is Barberini). Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Villa Borghese are even closer – 10 minutes walk. And to not once mentioned forums and the Colosseum from here really is reached in 20-30 minutes. However, unlike via Nazionale and via Cavour (not to mention Caelia and Lateran), prices here tend to be noticeably higher.

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If you decide to stay in one of the hotels in Via Veneto or somewhere in the neighborhood, it will probably cost you a pretty penny. In the 1960s Via Veneto played the role of the center of social life in Rome and was glorified by Federico Fellini in the cult film “La Dolce Vita”. To this day it has a large concentration of expensive hotels, restaurants, fashion stores and boutiques of famous brands. Do you want a taste of the sweet life? Then you are here. Hotels such as the Aleph Rome or Majestic Roma are always at your service and are ready to satisfy the most demanding public, as it is customary to say in such cases.

However, for travelers on a shoestring budget you will also find options. Consider the three-star Hotel Cinquantatre and La Piccola Maison, for example.

Be that as it may, when choosing a hotel in the area, be sure to pay attention to the quality of sound insulation (information you can get from reviews), because the noise coming from the street or from the next room can ruin the impression even of not the cheapest hotel.

The very, very center

If you want to live not just in the center, but in the very center of Rome, consider the area between Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. The place is fantastically convenient: it’s surrounded by sights, stores, and restaurants, and even the Vatican doesn’t seem that far away (it’s about a half-hour walk).

At the same time, it should be understood that the tourist center of Rome is extremely crowded . The most popular are the Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) and the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). It gets very crowded until late at night. Piazza Navona, if inferior, is not so much. One of Rome’s largest shopping streets, via del Corso, is close by and, again, incredibly bustling and lively. If you decide to stay somewhere near these places, you should be prepared that when you make your way to your hotel or apartment in the evening, you will have to pull the crowd with your shoulder (sometimes literally).

To the disadvantages of the center, in addition to the crowd and noise, can be attributed as characteristic of many historic buildings problems with plumbing, sewerage, ventilation, internet, etc., etc. Cramped rooms, worn-out interiors, old furniture and outdated equipment are also not uncommon. And the prices here are often high without any good reason, and not only in hotels, but also in restaurants, coffee houses and even grocery stores. However, despite all the pitfalls, and in the heart of Rome you can find interesting accommodation options for all tastes and wallets. You just need to be more scrupulous and careful in your choice than usual.

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Need the chic and glitter, but without the smell of mothballs and age-old dust? Consider, for example, the boutique hotel J.K. Place Roma, just off the main tourist routes. Would you like a hotel with a view? You’ll find one. The elevated Hotel Hassler Roma seduces with rooms overlooking the Spanish Steps and other Roman landmarks, and the somewhat more modest Hotel Eitch Borromini boasts beautiful views of Piazza Navona and the famous Four Rivers Fountain.

With budget options, things are certainly more difficult, but not hopeless: the relatively inexpensive hotels Teatro Pace (near Piazza Navona) and San Silvestro (near Via del Corso and about the same distance from the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain) are particularly worth a look, B&Bs and guesthouses like the Internazionale Domus (a few steps from the Spanish Steps), Domus Fontis (near the Trevi Fountain), Dreaming Navona Rooms (near Piazza Navona) or Dimora degli Dei (near the Pantheon).

When it comes to apartments, there are plenty of choices: see the HiSuite Rome apartment hotel or the Maison Letizia Roma apartment (not the cheapest, but it has a modern renovation and is very spacious with three bedrooms and two bathrooms).

Read more about hotels in the center of Rome in this article.

Campo dei Fiori and Trastevere

The more often you come to Rome, the more you begin to appreciate its authenticity and areas with few tourists. It’s great when you can go to a grocery store and chat about the weather with the owner, who already on his second visit starts calling you by your name and treating you to olives or sun-dried tomatoes. In the central part of Rome, the neighborhoods around Campo dei Fiori and the area “beyond the Tiber,” Trastevere, are places like this. They are very cozy, quiet places, Rome without the glitz and the eternal crowd hungry for sightseeing, entertainment and shopping (at least if you compare it to the very center).

Campo de’ Fiori is a bit more central and more expensive. It’s not far from the crowded Piazza Navona (5-10 minutes walk), the Imperial Forums (about a 15-minute walk), and many other tourist attraction points. It is especially convenient to live here if you plan to rent an apartment and cook by yourself, because in the morning (every day except Sunday) on the square there is a market where you can buy vegetables, fruit, pasta, meat, fish, spices, olive oil and other products. Nearby Campo dei Fiori you can check out for example Hotel Lunetta, Residenza Spada apartment complex and Casa de’ Fiori guest house.

Trastevere is in the middle of nowhere, but here you can see Rome itself. Trastevere is home to a number of private shops selling wine, spices, and homemade sausages, as well as a very large number of local but not exclusively tourist-focused eateries. Some of the hotels and apartments in the area are La Gensola in Trastevere, Residenza delle Arti and the WRH Trastevere B&B.

You can find more detailed hotel listings and relevant maps here:

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Near the Vatican

Hotels near the Vatican City are very far from the many attractions of Rome. For example, to the forums and the Colosseum you will need to walk an hour. But the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Castel Sant’Angelo and even Piazza Navona are within walking distance. In addition, the infrastructure of this area, in my opinion, is better: the houses are newer, and the order seems to be more than in the rest of Rome. It’s close to the Vatican:

  • and its own shopping artery – via Cola di Rienzo (via Cola Di Rienzo), which has, among others, the Coin department store and the Mercato dell’ Unità food market, plus several supermarkets nearby;
  • A local train station, San Pietro (Roma S.Pietro), from which you can take a train to the airport or to, say, Viterbo and other surrounding towns (there’s lots to see around Rome!);
  • Several metro stations, including Ottaviano station, for getting around Rome in general, and for getting to Termini station.

Here I suggest hotels and apartments located in quiet alleyways between the Vatican and the Tiber. Only hotels on the way from the Castel Sant’Angelo to St. Peter’s Cathedral are probably not the best option. The area is noisy, crowded, and lacks views, but the prices are steep. Overall, the neighborhood is very quiet. Take a look at Starhotels Michelangelo Rome (halfway between St. Peter’s train station and St. Peter’s Cathedral), MJ Roma San Pietro Guesthouse (a bit closer to the Cathedral), or Andrea’s Vatican Museum apartments (close to the metro and a 5-10 minute walk from the Vatican).

Around Europe by car and not only

The next point of the walk in Rome was Lateran. In addition, for a long time, Latheran was the residence of the Popes, even before the Vatican. Then the Holy Roman Emperors lived here.

Rome,

Walk to Lateran from the Colliseum along an ordinary Roman street.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

At Lateran, we ran through the rooms of the papal palace and the cathedral itself.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome, Lateran Cathedral.

Rome,

The Egyptian obelisk at Lateran.

Rome, Lateran district.

Next to Lateran is a “piece” of some temple or arch with mosaics.

Rome, Lateran district.

Rome,

Gate of ancient Rome at Lateran

By this point, the strength of travelers who had already covered 20 kilometers in Rome, had run out. With difficulty we crawled to the Colliseum, where we took the subway. The fare is 1 euro. To the station Termini – 1 or 2 stops. The subway is very usual.

Rome,

In the evening we took another walk around the city for culinary purposes.

Rome,

Rome,

Rome,

This temple and palace are not far from the station.

Rome,

Rome, chanterelles and boletuses

At first glance, not at all Italian cuisine, but … in Umbria in the mountains, as it turns out, grows excellent chanterelles and boletus. Offered in almost many street restaurants. So to attract visitors in seaside towns they put fresh fish on ice. In Rome, there are mushrooms.

Rome,

And there’s a plaque.

We got acquainted with Italian pizza, which in this country can be without cheese. For example, the cheapest Marinara is just a piece of dough smeared with tomato sauce. So when you get pizza in Italy, make sure it has cheese in it. However, you have to eat this dish in Naples.

Rome, chanterelles and boletuses

Rome, St. Colosseum at night.

And the last picture from Rome. The Colosseum at night.

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