Ah, Rome. A city of breathtaking architecture, ancient history, mouthwatering cuisine, and, let me tell you, a haven for incredible apartments! Here’s my guide to finding your perfect Roman apartment.
The surest way to find a good deal is to travel in the low season (November to March), when many apartments stand empty, and prices fall drastically. But even in high season, you can find good prices if you know where to look and book early enough.
Metro C Area
If you don’t mind being further out, one of the best places to stay in Rome on a budget is near the metro area. Renting an apartment near Metro C can help you stay within your budget. This line doesn’t have any important monuments and the trains run less frequently, but you’ll keep costs down with apartments available.
Check out Pigneto, a trendy, multicultural area with lots of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, markets, and shops. Avoid apartments right at the beginning of Via del Pigneto as this pedestrianized area has the highest concentration of bars, but look a few streets further back, around Via Macerata or Via Campobasso.
Getting into the center is easy. Pigneto has a metro station that goes to San Giovanni. From here, you can change for Termini or get a bus to the Colosseum in around 30 minutes. There’s also a tram that will get you to Termini in about 25 minutes.
Lake Albano/Lake Bracciano
Budget-friendly options disappear fast in the summer months. If you haven’t managed to book in advance, consider going out of Rome a bit and finding an apartment close to a train station.
The most popular lines have multiple trains every hour into the city center. Places like Lake Albano or Lake Bracciano are both just an hour from Rome by train. You’ll find a quiet atmosphere and slower pace of life than in Rome, great if you want to spend some of your vacation relaxing.
Trains into Rome won’t cost you much, and the general cost of living is lower, from grocery shopping to the city tax.
Best for Single Travelers
The rise of rental apartments as a business has led to apartments being divided into smaller apartments, meaning there’s a lot more choice for single travelers.
If you don’t mind a sofa bed in the kitchen, there are studios (known as a monolocale in Italian) all over Rome, though if you want to be able to move around, don’t go for anywhere that’s under 20m².
If you want to meet other tourists and expats, look for accommodation in areas like Monti and Trastevere. These areas are great for meeting people, and you’ll hear a lot of English spoken in the streets and bars.
Many places stay open till 2 am, and the noise from the street can make it hard to sleep. Look for courtyard-facing apartments or aim for the quieter streets between Via Torino and Via Panisperna (Monti) or around Via della Lungara (Trastevere).
Central Rome is generally safe, and with the metro running until 01.30 on Fridays and Saturdays, you won’t find yourself walking home on deserted streets. But if safety is a concern, choose a serviced apartment with a concierge or a residential area where apartment buildings have well-lit foyers.
For example, San Giovanni is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Rome on Metro A and a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum. Look at the streets around Via Appia Nuova.
Best for Students
If you’re looking for nightlife after a hard day’s sightseeing, Pigneto or San Lorenzo could be good areas for you to stay in. These former working-class neighborhoods are behind Termini Station, squeezed between the train line and a main road, making them well connected to the center by buses and trams (Pigneto also has an underground station on the new Metro C line).
They are full of bars and clubs that buzz with life well into the small hours of the morning. In the summer, expect to find outdoor venues for music and cinema.
While many apartments in the center will have compulsory silent hours, you’ll find the atmosphere in these areas is more relaxed and welcoming.
Via Giulia/Via Margutta
Fancy staying at one of Rome’s prestigious addresses? Check out apartments on the upmarket Via Giulia, leading from Ponte Sisto to the Vatican, or Via Margutta, famous for its many art dealers, and Gregory Peck’s apartment in Roman Holiday.
Despite their central location, neither street has bars or restaurants making noise until late. Both are close to supermarkets and are within walking distance of most monuments (and bus stops).
Via del Monte Oppio
If you’re looking for a room with a luxury view, the ultimate Roman view must be the Colosseum. Look around Via del Monte Oppio for one of the few apartments where you can wake up to the splendor of ancient Rome every day but expect to pay a bit more for the privilege.
Via Porta di Cavalleggeri/San Pietro
Perhaps the ultimate luxury in Rome is watching the sun rise and set over the Eternal City from your personal terrace. Rome has plenty of rooftop apartments that have been turned into luxury vacation rentals, with some of the most breathtaking found near Vatican City. Look at rentals between Via Porta di Cavalleggeri and San Pietro railway station for close-up views of Michelangelo’s Dome.
Best for Couples
Rome is one of the most romantic cities in the world and a popular destination for proposals and honeymoons.
Via dei Condotti
Rome doesn’t get more romantic than waking up to the truly iconic view of the Spanish Steps. While you’ll get the best views from the rooftops of Piazza di Spagna (look for apartments with the entrance on Via dei Condotti), you’ll also be high enough that you aren’t bothered by the noise from the square below.
Aventine Hill (Aventino)/Testaccio
Or, for a more secluded getaway, the Aventine Hill (Aventino) is an oasis of calm above the Circus Maximus. One of the Rome best neighborhoods to stay in is home to various convents and embassies that help create a tranquil atmosphere.
But a few steps away is the lively Testaccio neighborhood, where you’ll find a plentiful choice of popular bars and restaurants.
Best for Families
While Rome is both beautiful and fascinating, your younger traveling companions may demand more to keep them engaged.
Being close to Villa Borghese, the most central of Rome’s parks, is a great option for families. Inside the park, you’ll find Rome’s Zoo (Bioparco), bike rentals, pony rides, and lots of space for letting off steam. The streets to the north of the park are mostly residential and generally peaceful at night.
If you are in Rome in the summer months, the heat can be stifling. If you’re not set on being right in the center, finding an apartment with a swimming pool could be the perfect solution for your family. Try Flaminio, Trionfale, or Gianicolo, where houses are spacious and connections to the center are frequent.
Best for Sports Fans
If you’re in Rome to see a football, rugby, or tennis match, it’s best to stay in the north of the city as the stadiums are all together in the Fascist-era Foro Italico near Ponte Milvio. This is connected to the city center (Piazza del Popolo) by tram. The whole trip takes about 15 minutes, so staying anywhere around Via Flaminio or Viale Tiziano is perfect for combining tourism and sports.
Thanks to generations of Romans who incorporated existing structures into new buildings, you can find some historical gems.
Palazzo Borghese/Palazzo Mattei
How about staying in a historic palazzo surrounded by painted ceilings, gilt furniture, and chandeliers? For a rental that makes you feel like royalty, there are apartments for rent inside Palazzo Borghese or Palazzo Mattei. These palatial apartments aren’t cheap, but the experience is one you will remember. And you’ll agree, there is no best area to stay in Rome for first time.
Tips and Advice
- Don’t presume there will be an elevator. Many apartment buildings in central Rome still don’t have one, so check before you book.
- Air conditioning isn’t a given in Rome, either. Romans are used to the heat and leave the city when it gets too hot. If it’s a must for you, ask if there is air conditioning throughout the apartment and whether you’ll have to pay extra to use it.
- Although it’s less common to find apartments without heating in the colder months, it does happen. If you’re coming in winter, make sure that there is some sort of heating and whether it’s included in the price. Outside of the center, it’s common for apartment blocks to have centralized heating, which is turned on according to dates agreed by the City Council, usually around November 15th.
- Check if there’s double glazing in the apartment. Not only to save energy but also to limit the noise, especially if you are staying near a main road.
- Don’t presume there will be Wi-Fi, a TV, or English-language channels.
- There’s a city tax that you’ll have to pay in cash when you arrive. The owner must give you a receipt for this.
- Make sure the recycling is explained to you. Different parts of the city have different systems. Staying in the center, you’ll probably have to take the rubbish to a collection point at certain hours.
- If you are planning to rent a car, don’t presume your rental will have parking. Only residents can drive in the city center during the day, and parking is almost impossible.
- If you are coming with friends, check the house rules before you book. The rules are likely to prohibit parties, and many places will insist on no noise after 10 pm to respect the other residents in the building.