Where to Stay in Rome for a First Time Visit? An Insider's GuideSo, you have decided to go on vacation this year. Maybe it has been your dream to explore Italy and you think your first stop should be Rome.

Yes, it should be!

Rome is an absolutely amazing destination to have your sights on, but it is also a huge city with a lot of things to do and decide. This guide is here to help you decide where to stay in Rome. It includes the best areas for first-time visitors, couples, budget travelers, and more.

We even included a big map with all the neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for couples, families, and friends.

But first things first:

Question: Where to stay in Rome for a first-time visit?

Answer: that’s easy, stay central!

Rome is a huge city with a lot of neighborhoods to choose from. Depending on what type of traveler you decide which area is best for you.

Some of these areas include: 

  • Monti
  • Tridente
  • Prati

So, make sure you keep reading because here are descriptions for the top neighborhoods for each type of traveler!

But for now, why do I recommend these areas?

These three locations are centrally located to Rome’s iconic attractions that are scattered around. These areas make it easier to get to each and every destination without needing a lot of public transportation.

Good to know: Read our complete guide on spending 7 days in Rome.

I have also handwritten a guide on 32 best things to do in Rome (outside the tourist box!).

Even better, each neighborhood has a historic charm that excites every traveler. If you like cobblestone streets and tiny restaurants next to historical sites, then these three neighborhoods are perfect for you!

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

We highlight the districts, main tourists sightseeing in Rome and our handpicked accommodations.

Please note: those are not the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Rome

As mentioned before, Rome can be a bit confusing when it comes to picking which accommodation or area is right for you. However, you don’t need to worry because in this guide you will find all the answers!

Rome is a city best explored on your feet. It may be a long walk but what you see along the way is worth every step. That is why a lot of the accommodates listed below are from a lot of different areas, so that each and every traveler can see how many neighborhoods there are in Rome.

Below is a list of the accommodations that will work with whatever traveler you may be!

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

When traveling with your family, it can become a bit tricky to find the perfect accommodation for everyone’s needs.

If you are traveling with young children, multiple children, or any other type of family dynamic, it is important that everyone is comfortable with where they are staying to continue having a good time.

That’s why, for families, these are the best locations to choose from:

  • Tridente
  • Trevi

This map shows you the areas recommended for families:

Handpicked accommodations for families

Traveling with families can be quite challenging due to the different qualifications we should consider.

If traveling with kids, we can look for accommodations near playgrounds or parks. Or does the accommodation have cots or babysitting services we can use?

Moreover, it is much convenient if we could prepare our own food during the trip. Aside from we get to control what we want to eat, we also take control of our budget.

Internazionale Domus

Perfect for families, Internazionale Domus offers one to two-bedroom apartments that are large enough for the family size in the Tridente neighborhood.

Each apartment in Internazionale Domus comes with kitchenettes and is centrally located to overlook the widest stairs in the world, the Spanish Steps!

Each room is furnished beautifully with free internet to keep everyone entertained and comfortable before heading off to explore everything that Rome has to offer. To make things more convenient, the apartments are also close to the metro, bus stops, and taxis so that venturing off the unbeaten paths are easier for the entire family.

Book Internazionale Domus here

Internazionale Domus Rome Window View Internazionale Domus Rome Room

Hotel Cosmopolita

Hotel Cosmopolita is the perfect combination of elegance and convenience for every family.

Hotel Cosmopolita is in the Trevi neighborhood where you can literally walk to the Colosseum on foot as it is 10 minutes away. Even better, the bus stop to get you into St. Peter’s square is right next store.

Inside the hotel, each room is decorated with wood furniture and warm colors that also have a minibar and TV ready to be used. There is even an American breakfast served on their roof garden for anyone missing home.

For those that want to taste what the world has to offer, there’s Roman, Mediterranean, and other types of dishes served at the on-site restaurant.

Book Hotel Cosmopolita here

Hotel Cosmopolita Rome Window View Hotel Cosmopolita Rome Room

1.2 Couples

Italy is a beautiful place for couples to explore together. What’s greater than the first-ever successful empire to explore on your first trip!

Not only is Rome a historic city, but it is also romantic as well.

With cobblestone streets, Italian music, and gorgeous gardens scattered throughout the city, it leaves the perfect backdrop for any couple wanting to spend more time together in a beautiful city. For those wanting the perfect romantic getaway, the choice of neighborhood is really important.

That’s why, for couples, these are the best locations to choose from:

  • Parione
  • Regola
  • Monti

This map shows you the areas recommended for couples:

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Rome is a very much productive city and each neighborhood offers wonderful opportunities to all. And as couples traveling to Rome, you will definitely find romantic places to keep up with the mood.

There are even accommodations and hotels that offer special services like arranging dates, buying flowers, or any surprises you intend to give your partner.

Boutique Hotel Campo de’ Fiori

Boutique Hotel Campo de’ Fiori is an intimate accommodation that provides a stylish experience while also having honeymoon suites for those couples celebrating tying the knot.

Most rooms offer beautifully draped bedding with soft sheets that provide the sense of a royal atmosphere. If you ever wanted to feel like a queen or king, this is the place to stay.

Boutique Hotel Campo de’ Fiori prides itself on their attention to detail and a combination of modern and historic pieces, just like Rome itself.

To top it off, the hotel is located within walking distance of Campo de’ Fiori, an iconic square, and within the Latium Wine Region for those wine-lovers out there!

Book Boutique Hotel Campo de’ Fiori here

Boutique Hotel Campo de' Fiori Rome Rooftop Terrace Boutique Hotel Campo de' Fiori Rome Room Boutique Hotel Campo de' Fiori Rome Breakfast Area

Hotel Artemide Rome

The perfect place to stay for a romantic time with a loved one is Hotel Artemide Rome.

Located in the Latium Wine Region, this hotel offers a rooftop terrace, spa facilities, and a Turkish steam bath to soak away the sightseeing of the day.

Hotel Artemide Rome is situated in the Monti neighborhood, both close to the attractions and the train station for the best of both worlds.

The hotel is up-to-date and very modern for the perfect juxtaposition in this historically-preserved city. Every one of the 91 rooms is elegant and comfortable so that you and your loved one can share not only an amazing trip together but an amazing stay.

Book Hotel Artemide here

Hotel Artemide Room Rooftop Jacuzzi Hotel Artemide Room Rooftop Restaurant

1.3 Luxury Traveler

Coming to Rome is iconic enough, but if you are one for the modern and stylish, then the perfect accommodation is what you desire to have.

Rome already feels like a luxury itself, but why not top it off with these awesome hotels to make it feel even grander.

That’s why, for luxury travelers, these are the best locations to choose from:

  • Monti
  • Prati

This map shows you the areas recommended for Luxury Travelers:

Handpicked accommodations for luxury

Rome just like the other cities in Europe is a luxurious place to visit. And if we are talking about luxury accommodations, Rome will not be last on the list.

You will have plenty of choices to choose from.

The Inn at The Roman Forum

A perfect stop to rest both your feet and your eyes is the 5-star hotel The Inn at The Roman Forum. With a rooftop terrace, express check-in and check-out services, and staff available to feel book tickets and tours for you 24/7, why wouldn’t you stay here?

The Inn at The Roman Forum is located in the convenient neighborhood of Monti. Each room feels luxurious with completed amenities to make it all worth it.

This hotel is close to all the well-known tourist attractions and even close to dining options, nightlife, and shopping.

When wanting an extremely grand experience, check out this hotel!

Book The Inn At The Roman Forum here

The Inn at the Roman Forum Terrace View The Inn at the Roman Forum Room

Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie

If you wanted to live like a luxurious Roman, stay at Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie.

Tucked between Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps, this hotel features classic and cosmopolitan detail to enrich one’s aesthetic experience.

Just outside of the neighborhood of Prati, this hotel has a secret Mediterranean garden with a small waterfall! Guests can end their night with an aperitivo experience in their Stravinskij Bar, or dine in one of their fine Italian classics before heading back to their room for a good night’s rest.

Each room provides a modern flair with a mixture of comfort to makes it really hard to leave the bed in the morning, it is just so comfy!

Book Rocco Forte Hotel De Russie here

Rocco Forte Hotel De Russie Rome Terrace View Rocco Forte Hotel De Russie Rome Courtyard Rocco Forte Hotel De Russie Rome Room

Hassler Roma

If you ever wanted to get a photo of the Spanish Steps without all the crowds, the perfect time to go is at sunrise. But a long commute to get the photo may leave you grumpier than happy, so why not pick a hotel that’s literally at the top of the steps!

Hassler Roma is an exquisite hotel that offers amazing views of the Spanish Steps and every other rooftop in Rome. It is also close to the designer boutiques to do some amazing window shopping.

This hotel has 93 rooms and 13 suites that have the perfect mixture of classic and contemporary styles. It even has a spa facility and a Michelin-star restaurant on the top floor called Imagò.

Book Hassler Roma here

Hassler Roma Restaurant Hassler Roma Bar Hassler Roma Room

1.4 Design Traveler

For anyone that gets awestruck by design and architecture, a hotel with impressive detail is something you would appreciate, and Rome has all that!

Rome is the type of city that spends time perfecting the details, making sure everything is right for the end result. The hotels and neighborhoods are no different. Each and every place has enough historic charm to make you drool over.

That’s why, for design travelers, these are the best locations to choose from:

  • Ludovisi
  • Sallustiano

his map shows you the areas recommended for Design Lovers:

Handpicked accommodations for design

If you intend to stay in a design hotel, it would be very easy to distinguish one from the standard hotel. A design hotel stands out from the rest.

Baglioni Hotel Regina

Baglioni Hotel Regina offers a fabulous experience and service for each and every guest that walks through their doors. The entire hotel features Art Deco furnishing and a marble lobby.

Inside each of their rooms, there are Murano glass chandeliers, silk tapestries, and much more for everyone to marvel at.

Baglioni Hotel Regina has a relaxing spa and sauna, a lounge and restaurant and a beautiful experience for those design lovers out there.

Find more luxury and boutique hotels in Rome here.

Book Baglioni Hotel Regina here

Baglioni Hotel Regina Rome Terrace Baglioni Hotel Regina Rome Room

Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology

The beautiful building of Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology dates back to the 18th century and features a Neoclassical lobby with stunning attention to detail.

The entire hotel gives an airy and light experience for guests with their white marble bathrooms and fabulous panoramic terrace that was a swimming pool, wellness center, and a choice of restaurants.

Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology could most likely be the backdrop of any Italian film with its beautiful design and essence.

Book Palazzo Naiadi, The Dedica Anthology here

Palazzo Naiadi Rome Pool Palazzo Naiadi Rome Restaurant Palazzo Naiadi Rome Bar

St. Regis Rome

For those wanting a guaranteed beautiful accommodation, look no further.

St. Regis Rome embodies style and class, with all of their rooms having historic styles that will surely excite any design enthusiast.

This hotel has been the choice of many celebrities, governmental officials and royalty, not surprisingly, King Alfonso XIII of Spain even lived there for some time.

All in all, the symmetry and little details surrounding the property is worth the exploration as this hotel cares deeply about perfecting its atmosphere.

Book St. Regis Rome here

The St. Regis Rome Lobby The St. Regis Rome Room

1.5  Groups

Traveling to Rome with a group of friends? Awesome, that’s sure going to be fun!

It does mean that accommodations can be a bit difficult, especially if not booked far in advance. As Rome is a huge destination on everyone’s list, it’s better to plan ahead then wait for your one indecisive friend to make up their mind. We all know that it can be a bit annoying.

That’s why this list of accommodations will surely make it easy for everyone to decide.

To break it down further, for groups, these are the best neighborhoods:

  • Trastevere
  • Viminal Hill

This map shows you the area recommended for groups:

Handpicked accommodations for groups

One of the best options for traveling groups is apartment-style accommodations or hostels. This way, you and your group could be together in one place for a very affordable deal.

Hostel Trastevere

A perfect place to stay when traveling in a group is a hostel!

Not only Hostel Trastevere is cheap, but everyone can stay in the same room and keep the fun going.

Hostel Trastevere, or sometimes referred to as Trastevere, is the perfect blend of vintage and contemporary that has a strong style that will excite the younger crowd exploring the world for the first time.

This hostel has an on-site bar and restaurant that will surely suit everyone in your group. It also has a big common area and a garden for relaxation time. Oh, and did I mention they have a year-round swimming pool that they even heat up in the winter?

Go book now!

To make it better, your group can catch a train from Roma Trastevere to the main train station, making it an easier time to go explore more of Italy.

Book Hostel Trastevere here

Hostel Trastevere Rome Common Area Hostel Trastevere Rome Room Hostel Trastevere Rome Piano

Freedom Traveller

Located in Viminal Hill, Freedom Traveller offers four-bed dorms that will accommodate any size.

Freedom Traveller is a good option for groups as it is a lively social setting with a big kitchen, backyard garden, and multilingual staff to help any traveler.

For you and your group, go enjoy the happy hour that happens every night between 7-9 pm. There’s even free wine and snacks available so you can cheer with your new friend you just made.

Book Freedom Traveller here

Freedom Traveller Rome Room Hostel Trastevere Rome Kitchen

1.6  Solo-Traveler

So, you’re the type of traveler that is bold and brave. You go off on your own and you don’t let anything stop you, bravo!

Rome can be an intimidating city due to its large scale. However, this should not stop you and it won’t when reading this guide!

That’s why, for solo-travelers, these are the best locations to stay in:

  • Castro Pretorio
  • San Giovanni

This map shows you the areas recommended for solo travelers:

Handpicked accommodations for solo travelers

For a little more room and kitchen accommodations, Airbnb is always a great option for solo travelers.

The Beehive

The Beehive is an intimate experience in the heart of Rome.

This cozy and stylish hostel is owned by an American couple, Linda and Steve, who moved out of their comfortable lives in Los Angles to follow a traveler’s dream of living in Rome. For any solo-traveler, this type of host is a dream come true!

This hostel is located just two blocks away from Rome’s central train station, Termini, so it makes it easier to carry either your heavy backpack or annoying suitcase.

To make it easier to find friends, the hostel has two communal dinners and offers weekly cooking classes that teach everyone how to make authentic Italian food. This hostel is so inclusive, they even have their own organic, vegetarian café that serves breakfast daily, how awesome!

Book The Beehive Rome here

The Beehive Rome Room

Hostel Lodi (San Giovanni)

Hostel Lodi (San Giovanni) is the perfect retreat from the hustle of Rome.

Within walking distance of the Basilica di San Giovanni, one of the most important and ancient churches in Europe, Hostel Lodi provides a beautiful space and garden so guests can relax in the Italian sun.

If you’re a lover of books, the hostel even has its own private library that you can dive into. Even better, their staff is friendly and helpful when it comes to tips and tricks to feel like a local within the city.

Book Hostel Lodi (San Giovanni) here

Hotel Lodi Rome Computer Area Hotel Lodi Rome Room

1.7  Nightlife-seeking Traveler

For anyone that is a night owl, that loves to party with new friends and dance the night away, come to Rome!

This lively city not only has a history but an amazing nightlife. For those that love to see the city from the neon lights, the unique bars, or by walking the streets with new friends, Rome is the place to be.

To make it better, some accommodations already have a nightclub or bar within their walls, making it easier for the nightlife-seeker to find the place to be at night.

That’s why, for nightlife-seeking travelers, these are the best locations to choose from:

  • Esquilino
  • Castro Pretorio

This map shows you the areas recommended for nightlife:

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

As I have mentioned earlier, Rome has so much to offer. Whether you’re looking for a few glasses to drink or a party to remember, you can find it in Rome.

Alessandro Downtown Hostel & Bar

Providing everything you need for a great night out is Alessandro Downtown Hostel & Bar. Not only do they have a happy hour and cocktail parties, but they also put on events!

Some of the events include karaoke and beer pong, check out their page to see which events are happening when visiting Rome!

For those that want a more intimate experience, staying at Alessandro Downtown Hostel & Bar gives you a discount at the Bramble Bar & Kitchen close by!

The hostel is even a five-minute stroll from Termini and if you are flying in, it’s quite thirty minutes away!

Book Alessandro Downtown Hostel & Bar here

Alessandro Downtown Bar Alessandro Downtown Room

The Yellow

The Yellow Hostel is the ultimate party hostel!

On arrival, there will be a complimentary drink waiting for you (if you like them on Facebook) and snacks made accessible throughout the day.

Not only is it an affordable place to stay, they even have a nightclub right downstairs! For other events, The Yellow has its own bar where live rock bands, burlesque shows, and karaoke happen frequently.

On warmer nights, head up to their terrace and mingle with fellow travelers!

There is so much more to do, like gelato making and yoga classes, this hostel is all about making the experience you have with them memorable.

Book The Yellow Hostel here

1.8  Budget Traveler

You’re the type of traveler that lets nothing stop them from experiencing what the world has to offer.

If you’re the type that needs to save all of your money on the amazing Italian pizza, believe me, I get that. Here you will find all of the accommodations you need with great prices so you can try every pizza on every corner!

That’s why, for budget travelers, these are the best locations to choose from:

  • Ludovisi
  • Castro Pretorio
  • Nomentano

This map shows you the areas recommended for budget travelers:

Handpicked accommodations for budget

Traveler’s tip: The farther from the city center, the cheaper the accommodation. As long as you’re near a metro station, the city is at your fingertips.

Hotel Golden Rome

This family-run hotel provides an experience that makes you feel like you’re right at home.

If this is your first time traveling through Italy, Hotel Golden Rome provides a pleasant experience with a welcoming atmosphere as the Loria family has been managing the hotel for over twenty years.

Not only that, the hotel is very close to the Spanish Steps and Borghese Gardens. It is even within walking distance to other historic sites like the Trevi Fountain and Piazza del Popolo.

Legends

Legends Rome is accommodation perfect for the money-pinchers out there!

Legends provide the best value for your money as they been offering some of the cheapest dorm rates in Rome. They even provide free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a guest kitchen for those that want to cook their food instead of spending their money at restaurants all the time.

This hostel is simplistic in nature, has no curfew, and they even have a welcome drink with wine and snacks provided so you can meet other travelers.

Book Legends Rome here

Legends Rome Reception Legends Rome Room

Youth Station Hostel

Youth Station Hostel was designed with the budget traveler in mind.

With dorms that are both spacious and airy, with staff that is welcoming and travelers themselves, the modern backpacker will feel right at home!

Youth Station Hostel is a great place to meet fellow travelers and they do something that almost no accommodation in Italy does, there is no city tax!

This means that this affordable accommodation just got better! Plus, it’s newly renovated, what a win-win!

Book Youth Station Hostel here

Youth Station Hostel Rome Room Youth Station Hostel Rome Common Area

2. Top Ten Sights (and their locations)

Everyone already has a general list of what they want to do when visiting Rome.

Everyone thinks about the Colosseum, Vatican, and other things that all relate to the Roman Empire. Believe me, those things are on the list because they are absolutely amazing to see in person. But that won’t be all!

Some things you have to do in Rome is explored like you’re a local. The whole point of traveling is to immerse yourself in whatever culture you are exploring and feel like you are a part of their society.

We’ve created this useful map below with our top 10 sights of Rome.

It shows you the locations of the 10 top sights in Rome so you can save and use it during your Rome trip.

Make sure you read my handwritten guide on my 32 fun things to do in Rome. I share here more insider tips including food and bars you should not miss.

The top ten sights in Rome are:

  1.  Visit the Vatican
  2.  Go See the Pantheon
  3.  Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
  4.  Walk-Up the Spanish Steps
  5.  Get a Tour to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill
  6.  Experience a Food Tour with Pizza Making
  7.  Visit Piazza Navona
  8.  Check out the Appia Antica
  9.  Hike up Gianicolo Hill
  10.  Walkthrough Campo de’ Fiori

You can activate and deactivate the different layers in the left sidebar.

Tickets you should buy before (Must Read)

We all know that Rome is a very busy destination to visit, especially in the spring and summer months.

That’s why its important to buy tickets ahead of time if you want to guarantee that you will see all the attractions that you had in mind.

Although seven of the attractions I have listed are free to explore and do your sightseeing, it is still important to take the time before your trip and pick the tour and price that best suits your travel needs.

Below is a list of the tours that I believe is the best bang for your buck! These tours provide a comprehensive overview of these historic buildings and the journey of making them, what happens inside, and everything in-between

These are the tickets you should buy in advance:

  1.  Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica Tour
  2.  Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Guided
  3.  Rome Food Tour with Pizza-Making, Trattoria Tastings & Gelato

Throughout this post, I will explain in greater detail what each tour to offer!

2.1 Visit the Vatican

I know, I know, I’m not the first to mention that one should visit the Vatican. However, it is a marvel to see.

With its beautiful paintings, luxurious architecture, and impressive gardens and terraces that surround the building, you can easily get lost inside the museum for hours on end. However, it is important to plan this trip extremely well.

For starters, I suggest going on a tour because unlike myself, I know nothing about art! When hearing a local explain why this painting or sculpture was important during its historic time, or even hearing the backstory of the painter themselves, it makes the experience all the better.

However, the real star of the show is the Sistine Chapel!

I mean, we all know it’s a wonder in itself, but nothing beats seeing it with your own eyes.

Sorry, Google, but your photos don’t do justice.

One thing to note is that you cannot take any photos when entering the Sistine Chapel. Yes, there are some that take sneaky photos inside but please remember to respect the museum and this historic Chapel! Trust me, seeing it with your own eyes and taking the time to look up at Michelangelo’s beautiful work is way better than looking back at the photos you took.

I also suggest getting the earliest ticket possible to see all of this! This is because the Vatican Museum has CRAZY crowds! It’s sometimes hard to even walk inside some of the halls due to the masses. This is because the museum has no crowd limit, meaning anyone with a ticket can enter the museum. So, if you want to have space to move around, visit during the morning.

Also remember that if you are visiting during the summer months, that it gets extremely hot in the Vatican, but that does not mean you can show up in a tank-top or skirt. The Vatican has a dress code and you must follow it for entry.

Basically, you must have your knees and shoulders covered in order to enter.

Afterward, you get to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. This is a marvelous structure and a church that is still in operation today. So please be mindful of the people praying within the church!

The tour that I have suggested does not include tickets to the dome at the top of St. Peter, but this can easily be purchased after the tour. Just ask your tour guide where to go when the tour is over!

Book Vatican Tickets here

2.2 Go See the Pantheon

This had to be the best experience I had when visiting Rome. Not only is it free to enter, but its spacious enough to wander around and see this impressive and open-spaced church for yourself!

Even if you only have a few hours in Rome, visit the Pantheon!

It is the only ancient Roman temple that survived while being intact. It means that you can easily step back into history and see what the Roman people saw for themselves!

Book Pantheon Tickets here

Visit the ancient Roman temple of Pantheon

2.3 Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain

When you think about Rome, one of the first things you think about is the Trevi Fountain.

This is also free to view and is perfectly tucked inside Roman streets. It is almost surreal to be walking on the cobblestone streets and seeing this amazing fountain come into view.

The Trevi Fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732 and showcases the sea god Oceanus with his seahorses.

For a better experience, and maybe a photo opportunity, visit the fountain at sunrise. There are only a few people there and it makes for an amazingly intimate experience that you shouldn’t take for granted. Just take a seat and stare at all the details in front of your eyes.

If you are to throw a coin in this iconic fountain, legend says that you will one day return to Rome.

Update: We went once at 7:30am…it was PACKED already! This was in June, 2019. Give it a try anyways!!

Make a wish and drop a coin in Trevy Fountain

2.4 Walk Up the Spanish Steps

If you ever wondered what the widest steps in the world were, I mean if you’ve ever wondered that before, then look no further then the Spanish Steps!

The Spanish Steps were made famous from the Audrey Hepburn film called Roman Holiday.

This is a great area to sit and people watch everyone going about their day. When you’re done, you can start window shopping on Via Condotti to see everything designer.

Important: You are not allowed to sit and eat anymore at the Spanish steps! There is security checking on this.

Take a step in the world's widest steps in Rome

2.5  Get a Tour to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill

On everyone’s list is to visit the Colosseum, but did you know there was way more to it then just then the first-ever sporting arena?

This is the first area to have Roman civilization and each and every part of this historic landscape should be explored when visiting. Because the area is so important to Roman history, I would suggest getting another local guide to show you the area while providing you with interesting facts and debunked myths.

On this three-hour walking tour, you will be to see the impressive amphitheater, the site of the important houses of the Roman settlement, and an ancient Roman market!

For all of this, you most definitely need to buy your tickets in advance and buying this tour you won’t have to worry about buying all of the separate tickets as the tour makes it easy by having you just follow behind the guide as they handle all of that boring stuff! Instead, you get to have more time pretending like you’re a Roman walking through one of the first hills of the seven that created settlement.

This wonder of the world cannot be missed, so book ahead!

2.6  Experience a Food Tour with Pizza Making

Rome is a huge city with a lot of options when it comes to its variety of food choices and ranges of restaurants.

Sometimes, it gets overwhelming to decide which place to go for that specialty pasta or that authentic gelato, but food tours are here to make everything easier.

One tour that is exceptionally amazing would be Walks of Italy’s Food Tour and Pizza Making.

This three-hour tour gives you a comprehensive look into how the Italians prepare their meals while trying the delicious food yourself!

You will sample cheese while drinking Italian white wine, tasting everything from salamis to small plates at trattorias. But the real star of the show is when you actually get behind the counter yourself and make your very own Italian pizza!

You will learn everything from the history of pizza to the authentic technique behind this beloved food. Once you finish rolling out the dough, adding all your toppings, and placing your pizza in the oven, you can eat your creation and say to all your friends and family you worked in an Italian pizzeria in Rome….well sort of, but still how awesome is that!

Once everything is done, finish the day walking through the cobblestone streets with a gelato in hand while the guide provides more tips to continue eating like the Italians.

TIP: I would suggest doing this tour on your first day in Italy as it can be very helpful to find other authentic Italian restaurants that are not tourist traps.

Book your Rome Food Tour here

Make pizza the Roman way

2.7  Visit Piazza Navona

When in Rome, you must visit one of the most popular public squares, Piazza Navona!

This oval-shaped piazza is lined with shops and restaurants, but the thing to see is Bernini’s Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi.

This fountain has uniquely carved figures that represent the world’s four great rivers.

You can stand there looking at each detail and finding new and interesting carving while exploring how artistically-pleasing this fountain is. Better yet, go grab a gelato and take a sit relaxing in this beautiful square!

Enjoy the beautiful Piazza Navona in Rome

2.8  Check out the Appia Antica

There’s an old saying, “all roads lead to Rome”.

Well this is true for this sightseeing trip!

Appia Antica was exactly the road that connected ancient Rome to the rest of their civilization, and ultimately, the rest of Italy.

However, this road doesn’t lead to anywhere anymore, but it is an interesting spot to stroll around and pretend like you’re either a part of a wealthy family traveling to faraway lands, or a peasant guiding their cattle back. Either way, it’s like stepping back in time!

Tour a bike and see Appia Antica Rome

2.9  Hike up Gianicolo Hill

In my opinion, Rome is best explored on your own two feet. Even though there are winding streets, hill slopes, and long walks, it’s the best way to explore the city like a local.

One way you can do this is to walk up Via di Gianicolo, which runs up to one of the tallest hills in all of Rome.

When you get up to the top, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the city! So, it doesn’t matter how steep the hike maybe, just tie your laces tighter because the view is worth it!

Afterward, you can reward yourself with some cappuccinos or gelato at one of the cafes along the way back down.

See the wonderful view of Rome in Gianicolo Hill

2.10 Walkthrough Campo de’ Fiori

Another fun thing to do in Rome is to visit Campo de’ Fiori.

Even though this square used to be the site of public executions, you can find a lot of things to do in this small square!

3. Neighborhood guide (to understand the different areas)

Now that we’ve unpacked amazing hotels for each traveler and what to do in Rome, its time to pick which location is perfect for you!

Rome has a lot of different neighborhoods, big and small, so it is a little hard to examine every single one. Instead, we are going to explore some of the different and unique neighborhoods that are well-rounded for each type of traveler.

3.1  Aventine Hill (Great for Couples)

While this neighborhood may not way a lot in the way of bars or shops, it does have one of the attractions I have not mentioned yet!

Within this neighborhood, there is the not-so-secret keyhole with views towards Vatican City. This is a great photo opportunity for anyone that loves different types of photography.

Aventine Hill is a wonderful area for couples as it is a little bit off the touristic path while also having two types of gardens, Orange and Rose, that is perfect to wander through hand-in-hand.

If you do find a bar in this area, it is probably a very small and very local atmosphere, which is exactly what we like to see!

3.2  Testaccio (For All the Foodies Out There)

For those that came to Italy for the pasta, pizza, gelato, and more, this is the area to be!

There are tons of family-run trattorias, pizzerias, and Michelin-starred restaurants to chose from, so maybe wear something loose-fitting because you will surely fill up on the incredible food.

This area provides a very easy time finding the perfect restaurant to choose from that does not cater to tourists, it may mean that you’ll have to point at whatever you want in the menu because of the language barrier, but who cares, its food!

3.3  Monti (Biggest Neighborhood in Rome)

This is the largest neighborhood in Rome! It has not one, not two, but three of the hills within the area (Quirinale, Viminale and Esquilino).

This area is convenient for those coming from Termini station and means you will find an abundance of hotels and hostels to choose from in this area.

Not only is it convenient, but it is also a beautiful area. All of the streets within have great bars and shops to chose from and are in relative walking distance to all of the historical sites in Rome.

Even though it is the biggest, you still feel as though you are walking in a tiny village because of the cobblestone streets and ivy growing on surrounding buildings.

Everyone will happen to be wandering within this area because of its close proximity to the sites, but be sure to pop around the smaller streets and see the beauty in the details.

3.4  Vatican City (A Country Inside a City)

Vatican City is a neighborhood you must visit!

Not only has it been independent since 1929, but it also is technically not a part of Italy at all! This means it’s the smallest country in the world and when in Rome, you must visit the country inside a city!

However, you do not have to worry about border security and passports when visiting as most of the tourists understandably want to visit the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Square.

Be sure to wander around outside of those areas to see the smallest country in action.

3.5  Prati (A Walk on the Quieter Side)

Just north of the Vatican is the neighborhood, or rione, of Prati.

If you know you want to spend a lot of time in Vatican City but like to save money from the touristy location, check out this neighborhood!

Prati is a very quiet neighborhood that has wide avenues and gardens within the area. A lot of the locals like to stay here because it has easily accessible transportation but offers a quieter experience inside this buzzing city.

3.6  Trastevere (My Go-To!)

Trastevere is a beautiful neighborhood that lets you see a side of Rome you never expected.

Just on the other side of the Tiber, this area has a lot of authentic and little Italian restaurants, bakeries, and pizzerias.

This area has small, winding cobblestone streets that are begging for you to get lost in them. Believe me, do it! You will find hidden gems that will make the trip worthwhile!

For those nighttime-seekers, this is the area to be as a lot of the night scene happens here. It will have outdoor tables big enough for you and your friends to kick back and enjoy a little bit of Italian life.

3.7  Tridente (Most Expensive)

This neighborhood is home to a lot of Rome’s top sights.

Within this neighborhood, there is the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza del Popolo.

For those luxury travelers, the stores you all love are within this area too! Think of Gucci, Fendi, Valentino, all are here for you to see and spend. That’s not all, think about Italian palm trees and elegant restaurants, all are inside this area!

This does mean that accommodations are more expensive because of how glamorous this side of town is. If you cannot afford such hotels, it is still fun to walk around and see how high-end Italian stores look like!

4. Safest area to stay in Rome

Rome is a very safe city to stay in.

There is never any crime compared to North America. If you want to take precautions, make sure that all of your belongings are in front of you with the zippers closed.

If you want a little extra precaution, I would suggest staying in a quieter neighborhood like Prati. This area is close to metros, convenient for sightseeing and has a ton of hotels that are safe to stay in!

More Accommodation Guides

Now you have your place to sleep in Rome, right?! We have written more guides on accommodation around Italy and Europe:

Here is also a super inspirational article on 63 best things to do in Europe. You will find some surprises for sure.

Any Questions?

I hope I answered everyone’s questions in this post!

However, if you still have some concerns or need more suggestions, feel free to send me an email!

All in all, Rome is certainly on everyone’s bucket list and I hope this post inspires you to take the next step in exploring this Eternal City!

Where to Stay in Rome for a First Time Visit? An Insider's Guide