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Rome: Which neighborhood is right for your trip?

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The Trastevere Hood in Rome. Photo by controvento ®.
The Trastevere Hood in Rome. Photo by controvento ®.

Whether you like romantic cobbled streets, nightlife, shopping or convenience to the main transport hubs, choosing the right Rome neighborhood can make or break your holiday experience. Here is our guide to help you make your choice.

Trastevere

For scenic streets and nightlife

Literally meaning “across the Tevere” (or the River Tiber), Trastevere is a tourist attraction in its own right, with postcard-perfect cobbled streets, artists’ workshops, and ancient churches.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from (try Dar Poeta for great pizza), but be warned that around midnight the area becomes packed with locals and tourists who come to party the night away. (It can be noisy if your hotel is centrally located.) Just a 10-minute walk to Largo Argentina, it is also great for visiting the historic center.

Nearest Metro: Trastevere is not well-connected to the metro. Instead, tram 8 connects to Largo Argentina, from where you can catch a bus to anywhere in the center.

Nearest Attractions: Trastevere itself, Santa Maria in Trastevere, Isola Tiberina

The Forum, near Colosseo and Monti

The Forum, near Colosseo and Monti

Colosseo and Monti

For a still scenic, less touristy experience

As Umbria is to Tuscany, Monti is to Trastevere. While the guide books rave about Trastevere, Monti is just as pretty and much less touristy. There are lots of places to eat and drink—check out Tre Scalini (Via Panisperna 251) for a plate of ham, cheese and wine—mixed in with traditional workshops, music schools,  and lots of cobblestoned streets.

The Colosseum is visible at the end of almost every street. From this area, it’s just a short walk to the Forum and about a 15-minute walk to the center.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

Nearest Metro: Cavour (one stop from Termini), Colosseo (Linea B)

Nearest Attractions: Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus

Historic Center – Pantheon/Campo de’ Fiori/Piazza di Spagna

For sightseeing right outside your door

If you want to be in the heart of things, then this is the zone for you. With the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon on your doorstep, you will be able to walk out of your hotel and have Rome’s main attractions before you.

You will pay more for your rooms here, and there will be tourist groups everywhere you go, but getting lost in the crowds  is half the fun. Watch out for “tourist prices”  at restaurants in the historic center.

Nearest Metro: The historic center is not well-connected to the Metro—Spagna is the nearest stop.

Nearest attractions: The Pantheon, Campo De’ Fiori, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain

Termini Station (north and south)

For convenience, not charm

This is not the most picturesque part of Rome, but the area north and south of Termini Station does offer great connections to the airports, the bus/metro system, and good value in terms of hotel prices.

Around Termini Station

Around Termini Station

From this area, the historic center is a 30-minute walk or 10 minutes by bus. As with any main station, take care during the evenings and be prepared for plenty of “adult” nightclubs. The area just south around Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II has quite an ethnic vibe with a daily food market selling international foods and spices.

Nearest Metro – Termini (connects to both Line A and B. Direct train connection to Fiumicino and bus connection or train/bus to Ciampino.

Nearest Attractions – Santa Maria Maggiore, Teatro dell’ Opera

Vatican and Prati

For visiting the Vatican and the Castle St Angelo

Prati itself is a little boring. Its streets are wide, the buildings genteel, but without a cobbled street in sight, it lacks atmosphere. That said, Via Cola di Rienzo is one of the best shopping streets in Rome.

Near the Vatican

Near the Vatican

The hood’s best attribute has to be its proximity to the Vatican. If strolling along the river under Castle St Angelo floats your boat, you’ll find this area convenient as well.  The center is accessible on foot or by bus. You cannot go wrong here,  but don’t expect to fall in love with this part of Rome.

Nearest Metro:  Ottiviano/Lepanto

Nearest attractions: The Vatican, Castle St. Angelo, Piazza Navona, Via Cola di Rienzo

About the author

About the author: Samantha Collins is a freelance travel writer and editor, who has lived in Rome for the past two years.  She is originally from Manchester in the UK.  Read all about her adventures by visiting her blog,www.samanthacollinsrome.blogspot.com.

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