Where to stay in Rome: a neighbourhood guide

Where to stay in Rome: a neighbourhood guide

Rome is the biggest city in Italy, and a postcard-perfect view is hidden around every cobblestoned street corner. With so much to do the city can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to help you out and tell you everything you need to know about the best area to stay in Rome.

Rome is a city that you’ll never get enough of. Everywhere you look you’ll find marbled figures standing still, breath-taking architecture and pieces of history ranging from B.C. to modern. Backpackers love it because it’s one of the biggest open-air museums in the world – all you need to do is walk around to take in the beauty of the Eternal City. And let’s not forget about the food. I mean, real Italian food, everywhere. Walk around with a gelato in hand before stopping for a slice of pizza (it’s gotta be square!) or a supplì (a fried ball of risotto) as a midday snack. Rome is the perfect destination for every backpacker with hungry eyes… and a hungry stomach!

The rich history of Rome can be seen in its patchwork structure, where every neighbourhood merges seamlessly into the other. Officially, the historic centre is divided into twenty-two districts – an upgrade from the original four Roman regions! Monti is where you’ll find the Coliseum and the Roman ruins whispering the tales of brave men and ancient glory. San Giovanni is a land of parks, aqueducts and chill cafés. Trastevere literally means “across the Tiber” and offers the hip vibe you would expect from a south-of-the-river neighbourhood. Its chic jazz bars, amazing food and ivy-covered yellow houses mean you’ll find the perfect balance between history and fun. For a crazy night out with a youthful feeling, head over to the university neighbourhood of San Lorenzo, where new ideas and revolutions are born between glasses of wine, and prices are student-friendly. Finally, don’t forget that there’s a whole other country inside Rome’s walls: the Vatican. Don’t miss out on the Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, where you can take a walk with angels and demons.

The best way to get around Rome is by metro. The two lines (A and B) link all the biggest attractions, so you won’t have to wear through the soles of your new Italian leather shoes. A one-way trip is €1.50, or you can save money by getting a daily or monthly ticket. These tickets will allow you to use any form of public transport, though trams tend to be more reliable than buses in Rome. Choosing to go by foot will ensure you don’t miss out on any of the awesome sightseeing. You may end up bumping into some incredible and unexpected monument or a nice café, and it’s a great way to burn off all the pasta you’ll be gobbling down. To get to Rome from the airport, you can simply hop on the train. Stay away from taxis though: they tend to be very expensive! If you’re thinking of relying on Ubers you should know that only Uber Black is available, so that can be on the pricier side too.

Still confused as to what’s the best area to stay in Rome for you? Don’t worry, our Rome neighbourhood guide is complete with everything you need to know – from where to stay, to what to do to and, most importantly, where to eat!

where to stay in rome - tree with snow by colosseum

📷 @dreamingromehostel

Jump straight to:

Trastevere: the best area in Rome for the hipster wanderers

  1. What to do in Trastevere
  2. Places to eat in Trastevere
  3. Best hostels in Trastevere

Monti: the best area in Rome for sightseeing

  1. What to do in Monti
  2. Places to eat in Monti
  3. Best hostels in Monti

Esquilino: the best area in Rome to explore the city… and country!

  1. What to do in Esquilino
  2. Places to eat in Esquilino
  3. Best hostels in Esquilino

San Lorenzo: the best area in Rome for party animals

  1. What to do in San Lorenzo
  2. Places to eat in San Lorenzo
  3. Best hostels in San Lorenzo

San Giovanni: the best area in Rome to do as the Romans do

  1. What to do in San Giovanni
  2. Places to eat in San Giovanni
  3. Best hostels in San Giovanni

Prati: the best area in Rome to touch the sky with a finger

  1. What to do in Prati
  2. Places to eat in Prati
  3. Best hostels in Prati

1. Trastevere – the best area in Rome for the hipster wanderers

Trastevere is the area right across the Tiber from the historic centre. It’s one of the most interesting and beautiful places in Rome, where old meets new in the most colourful way. It holds on to its medieval lineage with its narrow streets and bright walls, but it’s also the centre of Roman nightlife and an art hub for young creatives.

Trastevere is a magical place where you’ll find locals drinking espresso or putting clothes on the line, right on top of a newly opened modern art gallery.

where to stay in rome -car in italian street

📷 Faruk Kaymak

What to do in Trastevere

If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning film The Great Beauty, you might know that the top of the Gianicolo hill is where the intro scene was shot, and is one of the most impressive lookout points in Rome. Across the park you’ll find Villa Farnesina, a Roman villa filled with frescoes by Raffaello and other incredible artists.

You’ll notice that Roman street art is different from what you’re used to, and that’s because it’s created largely from stickers. Trastevere is the best place to spot this fun, creative phenomenon, and you’ll be able to catch an interesting expression of sticker art around every corner of this ivy-covered neighbourhood. Some artists like to incorporate paint and stencilling too, others glue poems and stories to the walls.

where to stay in rome - sticker wall

📷 Nathan Dumlao

Did you know that there’s an island in the middle of the Tiber? The Tiberian island is shaped like a ship and has a rich history. Nowadays, other than being home to some of the best restaurants in Rome, it also has two hospitals and a beautiful baroque church! Stroll by the Tiber on a warm summer evening to understand the meaning of the words ‘Dolce Vita’.

Are you the thrifty type? Porta Portese is the most famous flea market in Rome and you’ll find it in Trastevere. It goes on every Sunday from 6am to 2pm and it’s the perfect place to snag some interesting finds; from accessories to vintage clothing and antique furniture. Just make sure you know where your wallet is, as this market is known for pickpocketers!

where to stay in rome - wooden frames

📷 Jessica Ruscello

Trastevere is Rome’s trendiest neighbourhood, which you’ll notice just by walking around. It’s filled with extravagant boutiques like Romastore 63, which specialises in high-end perfumes, Harvey Shoes selling hand-painted Chuck Taylors, or Polvere di Tempo, a store all about hourglasses and old maps. At night, this part of Rome lights up, with everything from chic cocktail lounges to hipster bars. Piazza Trilussa is the place to be for a fun night out and you’ll love mingling with the Romans as they sip their drinks, enjoy the weather and break hearts (not yours we hope!)

Places to eat in Trastevere

Trastevere is full of cute cafés and fancy bars to spend your days at. San Callisto square is the perfect spot to start your mornings with a cappuccino and a cornetto (Italian croissant). The San Calisto Bar is more than fifty years old and it’s a real institution in the city. Come back after 8pm for a beer and experience a piece of Italian nightlife history.

Around San Callisto square you’ll find a bunch of tiny restaurants, each with its own concept. They’re not much bigger than a room, so it may be hard to find a spot, but it’s definitely worth it! Eggs specialises in egg-based food, including the pasta alla carbonara, one of Rome’s most famous dishes. Pico’s Taqueria is your best bet if you’re craving Mexican – hit them up on Taco Tuesday for a beer and three tacos for only €8!

If you’re after something a bit more authentic, head over to the Tiberian Island. There you’ll find Rome’s most famous restaurant Sora Lella. This place is as much a part of Rome’s history as the Coliseum, which is why you’ll always find it busy (book in advance!) It can be pretty pricey, but it’s worth it just for its famous cacio e pepe: they say the secret ingredient is fresh Roman mint leaves! For dessert, just walk outside the restaurant and grab some gelato. What’s more Italian than delicious handmade gelato from a little wooden window over the Tiber? Our favourite flavour is basil, but they change seasonally so get ready to improvise!

Finally, end your night at Piazza Trilussa, the social centre of Rome. Hipster in Rome means industrial, handmade and a bit rough. You’ll find all of that at Meccanismo Bistrot, a great place to stop for a nice aperitivo (basically drinks before dinner), or Freni e Frizioni, famous for its film star inspired cocktails. All you classy people out there, don’t skip Alcazar Live, an ex-cinema turned into a jazz bar and concert space with free complimentary popcorn.

Best hostels in Trastevere

After walking around all day between Roman villas and art galleries, filling up your stomach with delicious Italian food and burning it off bar-hopping all night, you’ll need a good place to rest your head so you can be ready to do it all again tomorrow.

Hostel One Trastevere has all the hipster vibes you may expect from a hostel in this part of Rome, with a secret garden and lines of Edison bulbs. It offers free dinners every night, so you can save money for another glass of wine and even meet someone to have it with! As if you needed more convincing, there’s also a pool, and yeah, it’s heated during the winter months.

where to stay in rome - Hostel One Trastevere - tables and chairs outside

📷 Hostel One Trastevere 

2. Monti – the best area in Rome for sightseeing

Monti is where most of the attractions in Rome are found, yet it’s managed to hold on to its local soul without becoming a tourist trap. Travellers love it for its incredible sightseeing (it’s where the Coliseum is!), locals love it for its hipster bars and vintage stores, and backpackers love it because they want both!

where to stay in rome - the spanish steps

📷 Ilnur Kalimullin

What to do in Monti

Monti is home to the most iconic Roman monument: The Coliseum! This incredible amphitheatre was built in 72 B.C. and used to host gladiators fighting lions, and was even filled with water to host ship battles in the centre of Rome! You basically haven’t been to Rome until you’ve seen this, so put it at the top of your itinerary.

where to stay in rome - girl sat by colosseum

📷 @annalisati_

Right in front of the Coliseum you’ll find another testimony to Rome’s great history: The Imperial Forums. This archaeological site is made of layers of ruins of buildings that used to serve as the political and social centre of the city. You can catch a glimpse of what Rome used to look like between temples, arches, and columns and walk around a piece of history. From the Forum you can reach the Palatinum, one of the seven hills Rome was built on, and one of the biggest open-air museums in Rome. The best part? It’s completely free!

Legend has it that Rome was founded right there by the two twins Romulus and Remus, and that’s just one of the stories that surround this myhtical place. At the base of the hill there was a cave that was home to an order of priests called ‘Luperci’, who used to wear sheepskin and called themselves wolfmen. The Palatinum was the place to be if you were a big name in the Roman Empire, and it’s where you can see the rest of the emperors’ mansions, called domus. If you ever wanted to trace the steps of Cicero, Augustus or Nero, you should head over here

Very close to the Roman Forum is the majestic Piazza Venezia, where the embassy of the Republic of Venice used to be. The grand Vittoriano will leave you breathless, a monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s first king. In this marble triumph you’ll find a bunch of museums and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Despite its beauty, this monument has a dark history as Mussolini used it a lot in his fascist propaganda and it was often used as a stage for the dictator’s speeches.

where to stay in rome - view of the rome with trees

📷 @idcuak

Monti isn’t only about history though, as it’s considered one of the chicest places to go out in Rome. Shopping is great between these cobblestone streets, whether you want the classic stores of Via del Corso or the designer names of Via Condotti. Vintage boutiques populate the whole neighbourhood, and you should look for names like King Size, Pifebo, Flamingo or Blue Goose.

Places to eat in Monti

Monti is one of the best neighbourhoods to just walk around and stumble into cute little cafés or cocktail bars. Considered the best place in Rome for a glass of wine, head over to the streets twisting around Piazza Suburra after sunset for a stunning experience of Rome by night.

Analemma Cafe is one of our favourite places, and the hipster décor and cheap prices will steal your heart too. We recommend going there for aperitivo, because for the price of a drink you’ll be able to refill your plate with delicious vegetarian food (including lasagna!) all night long. It’s open all day, so whether you want a cappuccino (customarily before 2pm) or a fancy cocktail, it’s the place to go.

Do as the Romans do and stop for a glass of vino at Fafiuché, a small family-run wine bar whose tagline is ‘Great Wines, Small Kitchen’. If cocktails are more your thing, get ready to feel like a chic revolutionary during the Prohibition era, as Monti is famous for its speakeasy bars. The Race Club is hidden behind a mechanic store, whereas The Barber Shop is a candle-lit room under what looks like an ordinary barbershop, where cocktails are served in vintage glasses.

La Madre is the most famous gourmet pizzeria in Monti, and Pizza Trieste makes city-famous round pizzas to take away.

If you’re a health nut you’ll go crazy for Aromaticus, half gardener shop and half restaurant specialising in tartare and filled with fresh herbs and aromatic olive oil. The Avocado Bar is a tropical space serving avocado-based dishes that boasts an impressive grass ceiling.

Via del Boschetto has the most restaurants per square meter in Rome. We recommend Ai Tre Scalini, a small wine bar with a handful of dishes on the menu, Italian wine and an international atmosphere.

Best hostels in Monti

Walking around all day taking in the best views of the Eternal City can be tiring, so you’ll need a good bed to rest your head at the end of a big day of exploring. Luckily, the hostels in Monti are as amazing as the neighbourhood itself.

Sandy Hostel is an incredible place located in the heart of Rome and super close to the metro station Cavour. It offers dorms and private rooms and its owner, Franco, is famous for his awesome insider tips about Rome.

If you’re looking for a true Roman experience, the amazing Hostel Mosaic Central is your best bet. Start your day with some fresh fruit and stroll around the villa this hostel is located in. La vita è bella at Hostel Mosaic Central.

The New Generation Hostel Santa Maria Maggiore has everything you may need. With an inside garden, an in-house bar and restaurant and a cute brick wall to pose in front of for your Instagram, the only downside is eventually having to leave.

where to stay in rome - New Generation Hostel Santa Maria Maggiore 

📷 New Generation Hostel Santa Maria Maggiore 

3. Esquilino – the best area in Rome to explore the city… and the country!

The best asset of the Esquilino area is Termini station, located right in the heart of the neighbourhood. This is the most important train and metro station of the city, where you’ll be able to catch both the A and B line to go basically anywhere you want.

If Rome is not your only stop in Italy, this is the most convenient neighbourhood to stay in as all the trains to cities like Florence, Milan or Naples depart from here. That being said, as with everywhere in Rome Esquilino is also filled with incredible architecture and mouth-watering food. Plus, Esquilino is only about 20 minutes walking from the historic centre and 5 minutes by metro.

where to stay in rome - red vespa on road

📷 Vincent Versluis

What to do in Esquilino

Esquilino is one of the seven hills Rome was built on and therefore one of the oldest parts of the city. Its history is recorded from B.C. and it’s a melting pot of cultures, plus the home of the hectic Termini Station.

In the heart of Esquilino you’ll find Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, the biggest square in Rome. Stroll by the arcades or relax in the beautiful garden filled with statues of nymphs and a magic door to an old alchemist’s house.

The Esquilino neighbourhood is Rome’s most multicultural area, which you’ll be able to appreciate at the weekly market, open from Monday to Saturday in the Vittorio Emanuele square. Here you’ll find spices from all over the world, exotic food and funky clothes, just in case you’re craving something spicier than pasta!

Rome is filled with incredible churches, and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the seven most important. Filled with masterpieces from iconic artists, it’s even more incredible on the 5th of August when it’s covered in fake snow to re-create a miracle from 358 A.C. If you’re a fan of Michelangelo, you can’t miss the San Pietro in Vincoli Church, where you’ll also be able to admire the massive statue of Moses.

where to stay in rome -beautiful church ceiling

📷 @asoggetti

Another Italian speciality is the opera, and if you’re interested in the genre you’ll be happy to know that the Rome Opera Theatre is right next to Termini station. In this theatre you’ll be able to see opera or ballet shows… just be sure to book your tickets in advance and wear something fancy!

Places to eat in Esquilino

It may be weird to suggest a station as a place to eat but you’re about to have your mind blown, not to mention that this tip will come in really handy when you’re in a hurry to catch your train on an empty stomach. Right at the centre of Termini station you’ll find the Mercato Centrale, which is the most glorious food hall in the history of food halls. Imagine being able to have a gastronomic tour of Italy just by walking around a room. From the North to the South, from pizza to pasta, from cannoli to wine, you’ll find everything you may be craving here and it’ll be out-of-this-world good. Our top pick is not for the faint hearted: the ‘C’ho Fame’ combo from the Fritto stand. It’s basically six different fried dishes (including the cacio e pepe supplì, which you have to try) for only €12. Remember that sharing is caring, and that eating it all by yourself will probably send you to the hospital.

Hopefully you’re not over gelato yet, because Gelateria Fassi deserves a visit. Order the famous ‘Sanpietrino’, named after the cobblestone Rome is built from. This little brick of chocolate covered ice-cream has made this gelato shop famous throughout the country.

For a quick trip to Sicily without leaving Rome, don’t miss out on a visit to Pasticceria Dagnino, where you’ll be able to taste incredible Sicilian treats like cannoli or cassata, a cake made with ricotta cheese and candied fruit.

Esquilino’s multicultural soul can be tasted at Vittorio Spezie & Cucina. This restaurant and pizza place offers three different rooms, each with its own theme: Oriental, Cuban and Italian, as well as signature drinks. For a cheaper option, Panella is a historic bakery established in 1929, known for its carb-heavy aperitivos and affordable prices.

If you happen to visit Rome during the summer months you can’t miss the Voodoo Bar, an open spaced bar where you’ll get your face painted before sipping an exotic cocktail, all in front of a guy blowing fire on a pair of stilts. You can also sit on a wooden throne, get palm-readings and enjoy all the magical vibes of this quirky place.

where to stay in rome - girl with painted face in voodoo bar

📷 @purezaabrantes

For the fancy backpackers out there, Gatsby Café will fulfil all your 1920s dreams thanks to its three floors and rooftop terrace open 24/7.

Best hostels in Esquilino

Because it’s so conveniently located, this neighbourhood is filled with incredible hostels that will make it hard to leave and explore the city. It’s also the number one pick for backpackers, so you’re guaranteed to meet some amazing people to live your Roman Holiday fantasies with.

If you’ve ever been to a Generator hostel, you know they never disappoint. Generator Rome is no exception. Featuring neon bar signs and optional private rooms, this hostel is incredibly chic. With seven floors of dorms and a huge common room, you’re definitely going to meet your new best friend here!

where to stay in rome - Generator Rome bar

Generator Rome 📷 @claudiadusk

Hey party people, The Yellow Hostel is the answer to your prayers. With a rooftop terrace, a complimentary welcome drink and an in-house escape room (yeah, that’s right!), you won’t get bored here. Pro-tip: pay a visit to this hostel even if you’re not staying here: the parties are that good.

If you want to live the Italian dream, Hostel Alessandro Palace & Bar will steal your heart. Relax in the plant covered terrace before taking part in a beer pong tournament or karaoke night. If that isn’t enough, how about welcome prosecco and free pizza 4 days a week? We know, we should’ve opened with free pizza.

4. San Lorenzo – the best area in Rome for party animals

Did you know that Rome is home to the biggest university in Europe? Yup, La Sapienza University of Rome is more than 2000 years old and its name translates literally to ‘Knowledge’. The campus, which is more than 10,000km squared, is located in San Lorenzo, forming a real city within the city.

As every backpacker knows, student areas mean cheap prices, lots of young people and most importantly, parties! It’s time to let loose in the Eternal City!

where to stay in rome - san lorenzo - polaroid picture of archway

📷 @instant.tours

What to do in San Lorenzo

As we said, San Lorenzo is the party neighbourhood. You should note that clubs in Italy don’t start getting busy before 11pm, and parties keep going until 5. Start your night with a beer in Piazza San Lorenzo, get a drink inside the club (that’s usually included in the cover price, which is about €10) and finish with a fresh cornetto before heading to bed.

One of the best clubs in the city is Ex-Dogana, set in an ex-warehouse with huge rooms, high ceilings and an industrial vibe. Here you’ll be able to dance to virtually every genre from techno to EDM, just check on their Facebook page to see what DJ is playing.

San Lorenzo is the best area in Rome to marvel in awe at some incredible street art. Roman artists take bare walls and turn them into masterpieces, inspired by the Eternal City’s rich history and the current political situation.

where to stay rome - graffiti art of eyes

📷 Chris Barbalis

Get your cultural fix at San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, one of the seven main churches of Rome. It may not look like much from the outside, but the inside will leave you breathless. Columns, stairs, arches and a mosaic floor are some of the things that make this building one you can’t miss.

Places to eat in San Lorenzo

Because of its student population, expect cheap and informal places in San Lorenzo that are nonetheless delicious.

Ferrovecchio is a hamburger place with an Italian twist. It offers meat from Tuscany and gourmet recipes that use Italian ingredients like fresh salted ricotta cheese, ‘nduja (spicy salami from the South of Italy) and homemade buns.

Said is a chocolate-themed restaurant located in an ex-chocolate factory. The industrial vibe and vintage furniture make it the perfect place to try chocolate filled ravioli for the first time.

To start off your night, head to one of the many beer places in San Lorenzo. Luppolo 12 has an impressive selection of craft beers for happy hour prices, and Na Biretta Social Club offers aperitivo for €5. Il Serpente is a social hub in the neighbourhood for craft beers and good company.

Remember that the best nights in Italy end with a cornetto fresh out of the oven before stumbling home at the same time you usually wake up. At the Cornetteria di San Lorenzo a delicious pastry will only set you back 50 cents!

What could be an Italian students’ favourite food if not pizza? I Fratelli offers a lunch menu for €8, and you’d get dirty looks at Farinè if you tried to eat using cutlery… that’s what your hands are for!

where to stay in rome - Farinè pizza

Farinè 📷 @gianmarcovavalle

Best hostels in San Lorenzo

Maybe your bedtime won’t be before 5 am, but you still need a bed! These hostels are great to get some rest… or to keep the party going!

With an in-house chef making a great cacio e pepe, you shouldn’t need any more reasons to choose Roma Scout Center. This eco-hostel offers free breakfast (with pastries!) and a 24-hour reception, so you’ll always have someone helping you find your room after one too many drinks.

Youth Station Hostel is a colourful spot located in the heart of San Lorenzo that will make you feel right at home thanks to its cosy atmosphere and cute cafè. This hostel was recently renovated, and it’s one of the few places in Rome where you won’t have to pay the City Tax!

where to stay in rome - youth station hostel canteen

Rome City Hostel offers a variety of private rooms to choose from, free breakfast and an outdoor terrace. Super close to the metro station and to supermarkets, you can’t beat this one for convenience.

5. San Giovanni – the best area in Rome to do as the Romans do

San Giovanni is a nice area far from the hustle and bustle of the city, but still close enough to metro stations to make it a convenient place to stay. Its lush parks and open spaces make it the best neighbourhood for all you nature lovers that may feel a bit overwhelmed by city life. If you’re after an authentic and non-touristy way to experience Rome, look no further!

where to stay in rome - girl standing by huge door in San Giovanni

📷 @cristinafonsousa

What to do in San Giovanni

San Giovanni gets its name from the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, the oldest church in all of the western world. This baroque masterpiece is right in front of the tallest obelisk in the world: over 32 metres!

where to stay in rome - Basilica di San Giovanni

📷 @francescatrl

Italy is full of thermal water springs and Romans used to enjoy a cheeky spa session (sans toga) pretty often. In San Giovanni, you’ll be able to admire the Caracalla Terme and all the rooms that used to make up this ancient spa.

San Giovanni is one of the greenest areas in Rome and you’ll find locals like to hang out in parks more than in bars after dusk. Go to a supermarket and buy some delicious Italian cheese, a bit of prosciutto and a bottle of wine, and head to a park for a picture-perfect picnic. Villa Celimontana boasts luscious vegetation, ruins and a towering obelisk, and the Aqueduct Park is stunning when the sun sets over the ancient arches.

By now you know that pretty much every neighbourhood in Rome is home to an incredible archaeological site. The Tomb of the Scipios in San Giovanni does not disappoint. In this underground wonder you’ll still be able to see seven sarcophagi of the Scipio family, one of the most influential clans in Ancient Rome.

If you enjoy a night of drag queens and glitter you should know that San Giovanni Street is Rome’s gay quarter, with incredible clubs and bars to live your rainbow dream. Coming Out and Poppe are two of the most popular among Rome’s LGBTQ+ community.

Places to eat in San Giovanni

If you’re the kind of backpacker who loves to sit in a coffee shop while filling up their travel journal or writing postcards to friends and family, you might have noticed by now that it’s not so easy to do in Rome. Italian coffee culture is all about the espresso and drinking coffee on the go, or standing at the counter. San Giovanni offers a couple of places where you’ll be able to order a cappuccino and sit for hours, but still for Italian coffee prices – so less than 2€! Materia is an aesthetically gorgeous, plant-covered coffee shop where everything you see is on sale (a great way to rest your feet and buy some souvenirs at the same time!) It doubles as a brunch and lunch spot, before turning into a bar that’s open until 10pm. Anticafé is an interesting concept from France: you pay for the time you spend there and can eat and drink as much as you want.

Tiramisù is Italy’s most popular dessert, and for good reason too. Coffee, mascarpone and cocoa are combined to create a treat that’ll leave you wanting more. The name literally translates to ‘pick-me-up’ and it’s easy to see why! Pompi is the best place to get tiramisù in Rome, offering the classic version and a bunch of others, like strawberries or banana and chocolate. You’ll find it all over the city, but the first store was opened in San Giovanni!

where to stay in rome - pompi tiramisu

📷 @ineeslourenco

During the Prohibition era, “Blind Pigs” were secret places selling alcohol illegally, and that’s where The Blind Pig speakeasy bar gets its name. Quench your thirst with a fancy cocktail, a craft beer or a glass of wine before looking at their mouth-watering menu. Imagine if bread and pizza had a baby, and you topped it with stracciatella cheese (like a creamier mozzarella), Sicilian anchovies and orange powder… that’s one of the Blind Pig’s gourmet focaccias that make it an unmissable spot in San Giovanni.

Best hostels in San Giovanni

Hostels in San Giovanni keep with the chill, local vibe of the neighbourhood. You’ll find yourself feeling right at home in these places, where relaxation and comfort are the main priority.

Hostel Lodi seems too good to be true. Located in an art nouveau villa and surrounded by a garden filled with fruit trees, you’ll feel like you’re in a Dolce & Gabbana ad. All you need now is a glass of wine.

Dreaming Rome Hostel provides free breakfast and a bunch of discounts for the main attractions in Rome. Chill on the hammock in the inside garden or play games in the exposed brick common room. There you can pin where you’re from on a corkboard, which is a great way to break the ice.

where to stay in rome - group eating food at Dreaming Rome Hostel

📷 Dreaming Rome Hostel

Nika Hostel has a hotel vibe, and that’s why we recommend checking out their private rooms. Marvin, the manager, is undoubtedly its best asset, as he’ll gladly double as your personal Rome guide, giving you all the insider tips you may need.

6. Prati – the best area in Rome to touch the sky with a finger

Prati is a very chic neighbourhood where you’ll find law studios and liberty style buildings. It’s incredibly close to Saint Peter, one of the most beautiful attractions in the Eternal City. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to stay in this area though, especially if you follow our tips! Get ready to have the best of both worlds.

where to stay in rome - St. Peter's cathedral

📷 @cbriangarcia

What to do in Prati

The main reason to stay in this area of Rome is its proximity to the Vatican City and Saint Peter. The Vatican City is actually not part of Italy, but is one of the smallest countries in the world. Don’t worry though, you won’t need your passport to get in! The Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of the main symbols of Rome and you’ll be able to spot its famous dome wherever you are. The square in front is impressive in itself, with over 200 columns and 140 statues.

where to stay in rome - girl by fountain at St. Peter's cathedral

📷 @whatanotherlife

If you can, get inside the basilica and wonder at the triumph of gold and baroque decorations. Every inch of the church is covered in detail, from the floor to the ceiling, and you could easily spend hours trying to admire them all. The basilica is completely free to visit, but you’ll have to pay around €8 if you want to get to the dome and have the beauty of Rome take your breath away.

The Vatican Museum is one of the biggest museum complexes in Italy, and the building itself is stunning, with spiral staircases and frescoed vaults. The collection is incredibly vast (think Louvre big!) and it may take you more than three hours just to take a short tour! The one thing you can’t miss is the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s masterpiece with the world-famous Last Judgement fresco: you know, that image of God and Adam touching fingers?

where to stay in rome - vatican museum staircase

📷 @cbriangarcia

Although the proximity to The Vatican City is one of the biggest perks of Prati, the neighbourhood itself deserves a visit. The main square is Piazza Cavour, featuring the impressive white building of the Cassazione, Italy’s courthouse.

If you wanted to take a peek at Milan’s cathedral, but couldn’t fit it in your trip, don’t worry! You can find a similar gothic church (though way smaller and less impressive!) in the Sacred Heart of Suffrage Church, right in front of the Tiber.

If you’re ready to spend some money, Cola di Rienzo street is one of the main shopping destinations in Italy, offering both high street and luxury stores.

Places to eat in Prati

So, obviously pizza in Rome is great, but if you want to taste something that’s typical of the Eternal City you should try pinsa. The difference is in the dough, which is made with different kinds of flour and more water, making it easier to digest. If you want to try it (and see if you like it better than pizza) head over to Pinsa’Mpo, a place that serves more than 20 varieties of pinsa, all delicious.

Osteria di Birra del Borgo is a local’s favourite, perfect for a nice dinner and good wine. Whether you want pasta, meat or pizza, you’re guaranteed to leave this place feeling satisfied… and full!

To chill on a summer evening, the wine-bar Passaguai is your best bet. This underground bar (literally!) serves a great selection of wine that can be accompanied by rich cheese boards or Italian cured meat. Sorpasso is its sister restaurant, a bit more hip (think exposed bricks and Edison light bulbs) and with a bigger selection of food. Try the trapizzino, a sandwich with focaccia instead of bread (I know, genius!) that will fill you up for only €3,50.

If you’re bored of pizza and pasta you may enjoy Ted, an American-inspired spot selling lobster rolls, fish tacos and burgers. It’s a little on the expensive side, but very yummy and a nice change of taste!

Best hostels in Prati

The hostels in Prati match the chic vibe of the neighbourhood, but at backpacker prices. Enjoy this area incredibly close to Rome’s best attractions, yet not too touristy, by booking one of these great hostels.

Colors’ best asset is its terrace, and having a buffet breakfast there is the best way to start the day. The rooms are spacious and clean, and you can decide to book a dorm or a private room. This is the perfect place for a luxury hotel experience at a hostel price!

where to stay rome - hotel colours - terrace

📷 Hotel Colors

Comic’s Guesthouse is a fun comic-themed hostel, with a games room featuring PlayStation and Wii consoles. The rooms are colourful and decorated with comic strip and superhero art. You know the bedroom you always wanted as a kid but never got because you were worried it’d be too nerdy? Yeah, very that.

We hope this insider guide to Rome helps you discover the perfect neighbourhoods for your trip. Are you more interested in the history of Rome or is your mind set on a food tour? Let us know in the comments below if you’ve stayed in one of these neighbourhoods, or if you know about a neighbourhood you think other backpackers shouldn’t miss. Wear your stretchiest pants and comfiest shoes and get ready to explore Rome!

where to stay in rome - 3 girls by trevi fountain

📷 Court Prather

About the author:

Hello! I’m Linda, born in Rome under the Aquarius constellation. Hobbies include drawing on coffee cups ☕️, playing with glitter✨ and pretending to be a witch 🧙‍♀️🌍 Favourite place on earth: Budapest, Hungary 🏡 Favourite hostel: Clink261 – London, UK. Catch me on the ‘gram @lindasaidmeow!

Where next? ⬇️

🌟 Where to stay in Venice: a neighbourhood guide

🌟 The best hostels in Rome for your Dolce Vita trip

🌟 Chic things to do in Florence on a backpacker’s budget

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About The Author

Linda Massi

Hello! I'm Linda, born in Rome under the Aquarius constellation. Hobbies include drawing on coffee cups ☕️, playing with glitter✨ and pretending to be a witch 🧙‍♀️. 🌍 Favourite place on earth: Budapest, Hungary 🏡 Favourite hostel: Clink261 - London, UK. Catch me on the 'gram @lindasaidmeow!

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