Rome sits sprawled and perched upon nine hills with an elaborate history spanning 3000 years coursing through its veins. Crammed with landmark monuments ranging from the relics of the ancient Roman Empire to the jaw-dropping fine art of Renaissance, dazzling churches, and picturesque piazzas, people believe a lifetime is not enough to explore this breathtaking Italian capital. There are several best neighbourhoods to stay in Rome.
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At a first glance, Rome overwhelms even a seasoned traveler. Fear of missing out on salient sights pressure people to make wrong decisions, accommodations being one of them. So, don’t tax your next Roman holiday with your family by saving on time and crimping on comfort. You can have it all. Wondering how? Devise a careful plan to design that perfect family holiday. See our take on the best neighbourhoods to stay in Rome. Spend your day ticking off all the city must-sees. As you settle down for the night, enjoy a leisurely stay with your family to soak in the Roman atmosphere with not a worry in the world.
Best neighbourhoods to stay in Rome if ‘centro storico’ is your call!
Rome has quite a compact city center, also known as Centro Storico. All the famous tourist attractions are sprinkled around this area and this is where all the action is! If you are visiting Rome for the first time with your family, you can choose to stay here because that quintessential Roman experience starts right at your doorstep. It is a great time-saver, hands down! Especially for those who want to see the historical sights on foot.
But to put things into perspective, there are a few drawbacks that come with this central location. Premium location means stretching your purse strings. A tourist hotbed means it’s noisy and crowded almost all throughout the day. And if you want some green open space for your kids to run about, it will be a little difficult for you to find it in the vicinity. Also, if your kids are stroller-bound, cobblestoned streets can give them a bumpy ride.
1. Colosseum/ Forum
What to do here
Public transport is not every parent’s cup of tea (or shall we say a shot of espresso). So staying near an attraction means everything to them! Squeezed between the beautiful district of Roman city center on one side and Termini Station on the other, the Colosseum area has two contrasting neighborhoods to offer – one scenic and the other, not as much. So you can choose a boutique five-star accommodation or a moderate stay to suit your budget. Wake up on the wealthy side with an iconic view of the Colosseum. If you want to cover more ground on foot, pick a stay in an area towards the city center.
Fancy staying in a 17th-century palazzo with lavish interiors and antiques dotting the decor while the windows are adorned with the stately sight of the coliseum? Well if your pocket permits, dunk in the luxury of Palazzo Manfredi – Relais & Chateaux, a five-star boutique hotel that offers an unobstructed view of the amphitheater and generously sized apartments and family suites to accommodate families. Breakfast is included with the room rate in most cases. You can also request a babysitter at an extra cost.
Converted from a 15th-century convent and containing a charming courtyard scented with growing lemon and olive trees, Hotel Kolbe offers a rare calm amidst the hubbub of the busy city center. Sporting 17 family-friendly rooms equipped to accommodate a family of four, the rooms are spacious and airy with a pleasing touch of modern aesthetics and original architecture. Family rooms are either spread on one floor or have a mezzanine section. A family package includes perks like free airport transfers, complimentary meals, and free wifi. All major tourist attractions are within walking distance.
For a budget option with a touch of history, Hotel Grifo is a great option for families! Located in Monti, the hotel is believed to be sharing its location with the birthplace of Julius Cesar, the erstwhile ‘Suburra’ as this locality was known in ancient times. A Classic triple Room of this hotel is equipped with one king-size and one single bed. They easily accommodate up to three adults or a small family. Hailing from 1600, Hotel Grifo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today.
What to See/Do here
The perfect way to introduce Rome to your kids is a visit to the Colosseum – the grand Flavian amphitheater. Take a walking tour with a kid-expert guide. Spot a ‘dressed up’ gladiator on the campus and get that perfect shot – fun poses and wacky faces. Drop by the Gladiator school and sign the kiddies up for a two-hour lesson on ‘Being a Gladiator’. Though Roman Forum does not offer much by way of enticing history to hook a child’s imagination, they can nonetheless spend their time strolling around in the magnificent surroundings.
What to do here
Are you looking for a location with proximity to all major sightseeing attractions? Do you want the best classic Roman atmosphere and a plethora of dining and shopping options nearby? Then Pantheon it is. It truly has it all. All famous Roman landmarks like Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Piazza Navona can be reached on foot easily from any hotel located in this area. The coliseum is just a stone’s throw away, and the Vatican can be reached on a short bus ride. Combat the noisy crowd and go for rooms with double-glazed windows. Keep the street noise at bay or choose a room facing the hotel’s interior for a quiet restive night.
Join the legion of esteemed guests like Picasso, the French writer Stendhal and Pope Pius IX who made this 17th-century palace-turned-luxury hotel their home on their Eternal City visit. Grand Hotel de la Minerve is a five-star historic property that is located just 2 minutes walk from the Pantheon. It boasts one of the best views of the monument, especially from its rooftop restaurant, ‘Roof Garden’. Upgraded recently, the rooms are elegant, clean, and comfortable and come with minibars and marble bathrooms. Don’t forget to request a room without a balcony (because that’s one of their distinguishable features) if you think it is risky for your kids.
If your purse protests and you are looking for a mid-range hotel in this historical palazzo, don’t look past this quaint and homely property, Hotel Le Clarisse al Pantheon. Armed with only 24 rooms, the hotel offers all modern amenities wrapped warmly with generous Italian hospitality. The rooms have a traditional Italian feel with old-world details. Traveling families can check out their two-room apartment for that true Italian home feeling, replete with a separate kitchen. They really value their little guests. They provide facilities like a baby crib, bottle warmer, stroller, and high chair to look after the comfort of young children.
What to See/Do here
Unravel the magic of ancient architecture. Take your kids to check out the Pantheon dome and its gaping hole in the roof. Unbeknownst to them, the marvel of this Roman building from 27 BC lies in its unsupported dome that is more than 42 meters across. The wise architects of the time solved the lighting problem of this windowless hall by creating a hole in the roof for the sunlight to come in and illuminate the interior. If this doesn’t light up their curious faces, get them a gelato from Lindt store Roma just next door. Make the street walks fun and challenge them to find a small car-sized marble foot on Marble Foot Street or Bernini’s famous obelisk on an elephant’s back at Piazza Della Minerva! Pack a picnic lunch from Campo Dei Fiori and head for a day at the park with your family.
What to do here
If you love to be in the thick of things and your family is unaffected by crowds, you must pick a stay at Piazza Navona. This is the haven for sightseers and an epitome of everything Italian. All major tourist attractions are close by. The piazza itself sports the three famous fountains: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana di Nettuno, Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and Museum of Rome in Palazzo Braschi at the southern end of Piazza Navona. Hog a seat at any restaurant or cafe. Spend time people-watching in between sipping limoncello. Get serenaded by countless street performers as you soak in the true Roman vibe of the square.
Only a short walk from Piazza Navona will bring you to this wonderfully quirky and hip five-star boutique property situated right on historical Via Giulia. Hotel Indigo Rome St George is a member of the illustrious IHG group and promises an international standard of hospitality.
Housed inside an Italian mansion, the hotel doesn’t allow more than three in a room. For a bigger family requirement, opt for a stay at their Family Deluxe. It’s composed of 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2 independent entrances. You’ll get a stylish and spacious stay for the whole family where privacy is a priority. The decor is contemporary with pop Italian icons like a Fiat 500 framed print rendition dominating the accent wall. After a day of sightseeing, retire for a spot of massage at their in-house St. George Spa which has a large hot tub and a Turkish bath. They also offer babysitting services.
Lodged between Campo de Fiori and Trastevere, Maison Giulia is a chic and lovely family-friendly guesthouse situated just ten minutes walking from Piazza Navona. It sports three buildings with rooms of various categories. Their triple standard room measures 20 square meters and the family rooms are 25 square meters. Equipped with en-suite bathrooms, the rooms have minibars and complimentary wifi. Enjoy living like a local at a premium location surrounded by boutiques, trattorias, and historical buildings.
What to See/Do here
After sampling the baroque architecture of the three fountains, descend 5 meters below the square to check out Rome’s first and only masonry stadium, the Stadium of Domitian. A lot of ancient roman sports were played here, especially races. Leave the underground and emerge back on the streets to grab a gelato. Check out the talented street artists who put up a myriad form of entertainment like music, portrait painting or silent statues. Share the world-famous Il Tartuffo or ‘Death By Chocolate’ from Tre Scalini, every foodies’ must-eat local dessert.
4. Trevi Fountain/Spanish Steps
What to do here
With an ambiance of romance and opulence of elaborate art, this area in the heritage heart of ‘Centro Storico’ promises everything that you desire from an outstanding central location. Ease of connectivity with a metro stop located just next to Spanish Steps. Properties offer a stellar view of the fountain. You will stay surrounded by expensive boutiques, so stylish shopping is just around the corner. And all the major tourist attractions are within walking distance. The only gripe is the price, noise, and absence of green space for the kids to run around. But the little legs can surely do their daily stretching walking on the nearby pedestrian-friendly streets.
Located on Rome’s most popular square, Piazza di Spagna, Internazionale Domus is an exceptional property. It offers suites and apartment facilities that can fit two to ten. Run by a family, this apartment hotel is not your usual deal with a 24-hour front desk or an in-house restaurant. But countless restaurants and cafes are around. You can grab your grub in a wink or get them at your doorstep. A few units even contain a kitchenette for you to rustle up quick meals. Owing to its location, we recommend this to young parents who need to pop in for frequent nap time. Be in the middle of the action, yet with all the comforts a baby craves.
Set in a historic building dating back to 1800, Cosmopolita Hotel Roma is a kid-friendly property offering family and quadruple rooms on a moderate budget. The rooms are sized generously and bear a touch of classical modern with, thankfully, no antiques strewn around. Good for kids who can sometimes accidentally knock down precious knickknacks. A two-minute walk from Trajan’s Column, this property has a premium location. It promises plenty of tourist sites within 15 minutes of walking distance. It is a steal deal to get a rooftop cafe with breathtaking city views and praiseworthy quality food and drinks. The property has two apartments to offer on the topmost floor of a historic building if families want independent accommodation.
What to See/Do here
Take the Italian trip down this favorite children’s alley of frozen fantasy. Treat your kids to a tasting trip when they have accomplished climbing the Spanish Steps (maybe). The narrow cobbled alleys of Rome are bursting at their seams with these creamy wonders. Stop at any of the ‘gelaterias’ for your frozen fill. Try out their myriad flavors – crème caramel, coconut, raspberry, lemon, marron glace, and the list just goes on. Romance Rome with this myth and fun combined activity in Rome’s largest Baroque fountain.
As the ‘Trevi’ legend goes – those who throw a coin in this fountain return to Rome on another visit! This alluring promise itself is potent to capture your child’s imagination. Teach them to make the throw over their left shoulder with their right hand. The rule of the game goes such! And coupled with gorgeous architecture (which took thirty years to complete) and breathtaking sculptures, Trevi Fountain stands as an ode to Roman art and architecture.
Best neighbourhoods to stay in Rome if you want to live like a local!
If local customs intrigue you, start your day with a cup of cappuccino and a sweet croissant. And if you want to check out how living like a local truly feels in this vibrant capital city, leave the city center. Explore other areas which are more residential in nature. For a stay laced with luxury, a rich taste of aristocracy awaits you in Aldrovandi palace overlooking Villa Borghese that you can rent. Or you can also enjoy the carefree and light Roman life in their working-class neighborhoods. Prime for people-watching and evenings filled with lively chats in between sips of aperitif, paused only to bite into pizzas from family-run trattorias.
What to do here
Between the historic district and the suburbs, this second quarter of Rome is situated just north of the city. Traditionally it was home to all the affluent and fashionable crowd of Rome. There were prominent political figures, businessmen, and cine stars as residents. You will find elegant buildings and villas from the 1930s. And lush green gardens and famous parks ideal for kids who want to spend a day in the sun. Unlike the busy buzz of the center, calm and quiet will greet you here with a charming and chic backdrop. Connectivity is excellent, and you can avail yourself of the metro, tram, or bus to the city center.
Staying at Parioli comes with an automatic advantage. That’s quick access to the green lungs of Rome, Villa Borghese Park, and also its zoo, Bioparco. And if you want to book a stay next to it, don’t look past the luxurious yet family-friendly Parco Dei Principi Grand Hotel. This five-star resort is fitted with a big outdoor garden with a heated pool and spa. There are giant hot tubs, an indoor pool (for four-year-olds and above), and a sauna. They offer immersive experiences like pizza making with your kids. Plan a Papal Audience on the weekend to make your Roman holiday memorable.
What to See/Do here
Besides being a tranquil oasis of gleaming green, Villa Borghese is a hidden gem. It offers a plethora of children’s activities to keep them on their toes and entertained. Discover a cute little playground with swings and slides or catch a children’s film in the world’s smallest cinema. Pack your kids up in a rented electrical-powered pedal car or give them a segway ride instead to explore the park. There is a little amusement park tucked away with fun rides that will definitely rob your kid’s heart. And don’t forget to take them to say hi to another 1000 animals that have made the Bioparco, Italy’s largest and oldest zoo, their home. It is located on one corner of Villa Borghese Garden.
What to do here
Across the Tiber River from Rome’s historical heart, Trastevere is a trendy neighborhood famed for its electrifying nightlife. You might think that it is not suitable for a family stay, but you will wipe all of that out once you experience the serene and moody mornings over the narrow cobblestoned streets of this quaint neighborhood. Participate in their Passeggiata or an evening stroll, a local tradition of a pre-dinner leisurely walk, and feel like a local as you explore Trastevere’s delightful streets on foot.
An ideal choice for travelers who don’t want to splurge their vacation money on accommodation, Trastevere offers all kinds of moderate and budget stays. Skip its noisy nights by staying on the quieter side of the street at this former monastery converted into an inn. Hotel Santa Maria provides an atmospheric and intimate experience with its earthy appeal. It has 18 rustic rooms with terracotta flooring and exposed beam. The rooms border a dreamy courtyard furnished with wrought iron furniture. It will give you more of a country home feel rather than a city hotel. You will get free breakfast, free Wifi, and free bicycles. Babysitting services can be arranged against extra costs.
Old neighborhoods like Trastevere often contain buildings with cramped quarters, not ideal for vacationing families. That’s where Relais Le Clarisse stands out with its 21 square meter-sized triple rooms and 45 square meter Family Suite. The family suite contains one large bed, one double sofa bed, and one ‘roll-away bed, ideal for a family of five. Some suites come with their own terraces and kitchenette. The hotel is located inside a former convent dating back to 1122 and has a courtyard with a Mediterranean garden setting with lemon and olive trees around. Campo di Fiori is just 10 minutes away on foot which is very convenient.
What to See/Do here
Put a spin on the usual church visit by jazzing it up for your kids. Take your kids first to learn the art of mosaic from a real mosaic artist who will teach a real technique in a real artisan lab in Trastevere. Chase this with a trip to the Basilica of Santa Maria where they can spend time spotting mosaics near the altar of Santa Maria. Enjoy a walk around the octagonal fountain in the middle of the square and settle down for some people-watching or tasting pizzas from local bakeries. For some time amidst nature, visit Orto Botanico, Trastevere’s botanical garden. Then head to Janiculum Hill just above Trastevere for a sunset overlooking the Roman spread of all the main sights of the city right in front of you!
Best neighbourhood to stay in Rome if you want to visit the Vatican!
1. Vatican City
What to do here
Another safe and secure region you can venture to with a lower price tag on the other side of the river Tiber, is the Prati district situated in the Vatican City. It is basically a middle class suburban area that is laid out in a grid-like structure so essentially it lacks any artistic visual appeal like that of an idiosyncratic neighbourhood of Trastevere or the opulent vintage charm of Pairoli. What can come as a comfort for your pocket might not be the same for your capacity to handle kids and public transport together in a foreign city. This area is well connected with metro and buses and great for families looking to explore the Vatican attractions extensively.
Since this otherwise is a business district, it is no wonder that you will find a whole spectrum of accommodations here. Starting from luxury hotels with pools to moderate business hotels with cushy comforts and budget establishments that take care of the basics with a clean and safe environment, options are endless. Epitomizing luxury with its resort-style pool and a mix of modern upscale amenities and a patrician majesty is Gran Melia Rome housed inside the historic Villa Agrippina. It is comfortably located between Trastevere and the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica. The villa enjoys a stately setting with a grand green ground, an instant attraction for kids to spread their wings and run around. Adults can also make full use of their spa after a day full of Roman activities.
Right next to the Metro is this little gem of a B&B, Vatican Skyline that will please any pocket-conscious family. The B&B is located on a high rise on the 7th floor with a lift service which means you can leave the noise and rise above it all to savor this capital city from a height. They offer sweet Italian breakfast and clean, comfortable, and spacious rooms. Vatican Museum is within a 15 minutes walking distance, and St. Peter’s Basilica is at a 25-minute walk. They don’t have round a clock front office though and do not offer an infant crib. But all rooms are smoke-free and you can access the terrace for some fresh air.
What to See/Do here
It might worry you that kids might not find the same awe and pleasure in the spectacular art and culturally dense Vatican experience as their adult counterparts. But you can always punch in some fun elements like find a mummy or try to read the hieroglyphs to make the museum visit more of an interesting activity. If they want a spill of thrill and are big kiddos who enjoy heights and don’t mind walking, climb the dome of St. Peter’s basilica with them. Hire a guide who specializes in the Vatican for kids to unravel the visual magic of the square and explain the wonder that is the Sistine Chapel. Vatican Museum is stroller-friendly.
Best neighbourhood to stay in Rome if connectivity is your top priority
1. Stazione Termini
What to do here
Ideal for families on a multi-city hop in Italy who want access to a quick transit, a stay near the main railway station is everything to them. Granted that it is not as beautiful as the rest of Rome and many might consider it an eyesore with a non-descript setting and rundown buildings making for most of the setup, still if you are curious enough, you can chance upon pretty bylanes concealed around the locality like the charming street of Monti. You can also get an airport shuttle to and from here, and it is recommended to stay in this area if you have to choose between staying near the airport or the railway station. The area sports a selection of modern business hotels and a bunch of value stays that cater to all the needs of a traveling family.
Amidst an unattractive neighbourhood, it is indeed a fortune to find a world-renowned reliable brand like Radisson Blu who consistently offers quality service and amenities of international standard. Located close to Termini Train Station, the hotel provides a seasonal rooftop pool and a separate kiddie pool, spa with a whirlpool tub and sauna, on-site restaurants along with 232 contemporary and sleek guestrooms. You can request for baby cribs for the room and they will happily comply. Though the most famous Roman sights in the city center are located 4 metro stops away, Colosseum is just a twenty minutes’ walk and other attractions like Trajan’s bath and ruins of Nero’s House can be reached on foot in 15 mins.
For a budget stay with a difference, do check out this family-run hostel which has been around for 2 decades, The Beehive. With an eco-conscious vibe, the property rightfully embodies the ‘home away from home’ spirit. You will find the atmosphere extremely relaxing with plenty of amenities thrown in like kitchen classes and massage treatments. They have 12 guestrooms, out of which 10 are private and two are dormitories. Dormitories can be converted to family rooms if informed in advance. They can also arrange for cots for infants. Their food is to die for with organic breads and a selection of vegan and gluten-free food in their dinner pop-ups.
What to See/Do here
This area is great for a quick in and out of the city as its connectivity makes it super special. So take this opportunity to whisk your kids off to Rome’s only amusement park, Rainbow Magicland, which is an hour outside the city. Termini station has train and shuttle bus services available.
We hope that with our elaborate coverage of all the best neighbourhoods to stay in Rome and a variety of family-focused accommodations available in those respective locations, we have dispelled some chaos and confusion and brought a semblance of sanity to your Roman Holiday plans! Evaluate the pros and cons and see which area is best suited for your travel style and family requirement. Once in Rome, time is of the essence, and wise planning will help you sail through it like a breeze.