Rome Neighborhoods - Best Attractions, Best Restaurants and Best Hotels
“A fool is one to admire other cities without visiting Rome” (Francesco Petrarca)
You probably don’t need any introduction to Rome, The Eternal City. It has been filmed from every angle and inscribed in our collective memory as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Throwing a coin in the Trevi fountain, strolling the streets filled with trendy bars and restaurants, the smell of freshly baked pizza in the air, the elegance of the Italian fashionistas strutting in their high heels in the middle of the day, the stunning baroque architecture and historical artworks wherever you look, iconic monuments reside side by side next to designer boutiques. Taking a stroll in the Italian capital, you feel as if the pages of your history book come to life. But other than the stunning historic center of Rome, there are also many charming neighborhoods near the city center that many tourists do not visit, and it is such a shame since these are our favorite parts of Rome. This Rome neighborhoods guide is all about the best neighborhoods in Rome, from the famous and hectic Centro Storico to the less touristy ones. So if you are looking for the best neighborhood to stay in Rome or you want to find the trendiest spots, charming hidden corners, hippest coffee shops and unique boutiques, pay a visit to these Rome’s neighborhoods.
Table of Contents
The Best Neighborhoods in Rome
Rome Neighborhoods #1 Centro Storico
Centro Storico Highlights: Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori
Everyone comes to Rome to visit the historic center which is located at the heart of Rome. This is the busiest area in Rome during the day and during the night, so get those elbows ready, or arrive early in the morning if you want to have the famous historic sites for yourself. Strolling around the narrow alleys, you’ll pass by restaurants, shops, gelaterias, churches that date back to the Renaissance and Baroque eras, and more such gems. The best time to visit this neighborhood is in the early morning or during the evenings.
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What to Do & Where to Eat in Rome’s Historic Centre
Visit the Pantheon – Stand under one of the largest unsupported domes in the world and admire the beautifully decorated walls. Don’t forget to take some pictures of the charming Pantheon Fountain which is located in the middle of Piazza della Rotonda.
Stop by Piazza Navona – Considered as one of Rome’s most beautiful squares, you would probably recognize Piazza Navona from American and Italian films. What once was the location of Stadio di Domiziano is now one of Rome’s busiest piazzas with three beautifully decorated fountains in the midst of it: Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno. Have a look at the baroque-style architecture around Piazza Navona and take a peek at the impressive church of Sant’Agnese in Agone and Palazzo Braschi where the Museum of Rome resides. As always, there is no shortage of shops, restaurants, souvenirs stands, street artists and more touristy attractions.
Stroll Around the Campo de’ Fiori Market – Located at a rectangular square where executions used to be held a long time ago, every morning this colorful and vibrant market awakes to life and stays active until the afternoon. Visit this famous market to enjoy a true celebration of local Italian produce: fresh vegetables and fruits, a variety of cheese, the best olive oil and vinegar you can find and so much more.
Explore the Nearby Streets – The streets around Campo de’ Fiori are named after the traders who used to work in the area, so you can find here street names like Via dei Baullari (coffer-makers), Via dei Giubbonari (tailors), Via dei Cappellari (hat-makers) etc. Go treasure hunting to discover lovely boutiques (especially Via dei Giubbonari) , local delicatessens, great restaurants and more.
Eat, Eat and Maybe Eat some More 😉 – There are various restaurants in the market’s square, however wandering around the nearby streets you are bound to stumble upon some more hidden gems. You can have a carb feast at the Roscioli family bakery which has been serving traditional Italian baked goods for many years. Try their delicious pizza and variety of breads and sandwiches or any of their wonderful sweet pastries at the smaller café or have a more hearty meal at their restaurant. Another option for a quick breakfast or lunch is Forno Campo de’ Fiori. This historic bakery is known for their Pizza Bianca but they also have sandwiches, pastries and delicious crunchy biscotti. One of the best restaurants in Rome, CiPASSO, is located closer to Piazza Navona. Cirices. They are open for lunch and dinner and their might be a queue after 7 pm.
For us the jewel in the foodie crown was the wonderful Pianostrada, a restaurant/bistro that is hidden in a quiet little street and is run by a fantastic team of women with a passion for food. We live for such places that serve delicious food made from fresh ingredients that is both a feast for the eyes and a celebration for the taste buds, not to mention the great ambiance. The restaurant’s design is eclectic and charming, with an open kitchen and a lovely backyard. Every dish we tasted was wonderful from the fresh salads and appetizers, unique sandwiches and hamburgers and of course the amazing pasta dishes (we tried a few wonderful dishes but we were taken by surprise with the abundance of flavors of the most simple pasta with tomato sauce, an instant foodgasm). Make sure to make a reservation in advance because this place is very popular and don’t forget to pet the family bulldog who is a part owner.
Rome Neighborhoods #2 Trevi, Spanish Steps and Tridente
Trevi, Spanish Steps and Tridente Highlights: Historic and Artistic Monuments and Designer Boutiques
In this part of Rome’s city center, you’ll find another of Rome’s most sought-after tourist attractions, the Trevi fountain and the Spanish Steps as well as numerous designer boutiques. Just like the historic center, it’s one of the busiest parts of Rome, with many shops, restaurants and hotels to choose from.
What to Do & Where to Eat around Trevi, the Spanish Steps and Tridente
Throw a coin into Trevi Fountain – Such a cliché but still… just do it. This iconic fountain has appeared in numerous films and is crowded with so many tourists almost every hour of the day. You’ll get a chance to photograph it relatively empty either late at night or very early in the morning (before 8 am).
Fun fact: According to tradition, throwing a coin into the fountain ensures you’ll revisit Rome one day and the proper way to do it is with your back to the fountain and over your shoulder. These coins are collected and donated to a charity organization that helps Rome’s needy.
Climb up the Spanish Steps – The Spanish Steps were built at the beginning of the 18th century to connect Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, where the Trinità dei Monti church resides. They are named after the adjacent Spanish embassy. The Spanish Steps are a favorite meeting point, and they are always packed with locals and tourists alike. If you are looking to take pictures with no other people around, come very early in the morning but the best time of day to photograph the view from above is just before and after sunset when you see the street below you glistening with a thousand lights. In 2019 a new rule was introduced, banning tourists from sitting on the Spanish Steps (with a fine of 250 – 400 euros).
Visit all the piazzas in the area – Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Barberini. All of them have numerous beautiful points of interests and artistic monuments.
Shop till you drop – This is the area for shopping. A lot of the shops here are upscale designer boutiques but you will find some more budget-friendly shops in the inner streets.
Stroll along Via Margutta – In the hectic center of Rome, this little street is a true oasis. We were wandering aimlessly in the city center after having a delightful lunch in the area, and we found this hidden gem by accident. We immediately fell in love with the little inner yards, colorful walls, art galleries and general trendy yet relaxed vibe.
Where to eat around Trevi, the Spanish Steps and Tridente? After visiting the Trevi fountain in the early morning hours, we spoiled ourselves with some great Italian coffee and the most delicious lemon biscotti at Angelina a Trevi cafe. You can also find here light snacks and breakfasts. Just around the corner, at the restaurant itself, you’ll find great options for lunch and dinner. We also had a tasty lunch at Ristorante Dal Bolognese which serves traditional dishes in elegant settings (closed between 3 pm – 6 pm). For mouth-watering platters of mixed meats and cheese accompanied by wine or beer check out Prosciutteria Cantina Dei Papi.
Rome Neighborhoods #3 Trastevere
Trastevere - Best Neighborhood in Rome for Restaurants, Trendy Boutiques and Pastel-Colored Houses
Once the place of residence of fishermen and immigrants from the East, this old Rome neighborhood, just across the Tiber River, is considered as one of the hippest and coolest places in Rome.
What to Do & Where to Eat in Trastevere
Explore the Picturesque Streets – Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets of Trastevere and discover picture-perfect street scenes just waiting to be added to your Instagram feed. Colorful houses, cobblestone streets, various bars and trattorias, an occasional red Vespa leaning against a very photogenic wall, street art, historic churches and so much more. You get the picture… literally – wherever you look you’ll probably get a great picture of this charming neighborhood. It is one of the best neighborhoods in Rome to take pictures of some of Rome’s most instagrammable streets.
Eat in some of the Best Local Restaurants – On our first night in Rome we were strolling around the Pantheon area, starving and exhausted after a night without sleep. When we asked a group of locals for recommendations for a nearby restaurant, they sent us across the river to Trastevere. And indeed, we had our best meals in Trastevere! For the best pizza try Dar Poeta or Ai Marmi (there will be a long line but it is worth the wait!), for plates of meat and cheese, cured hams, Panini sandwiches, wine and more stop by La Prosciutteria. For some seafood pasta or fresh fish try Osteria der Belli, the owners are originally from Sardinia and they serve a mix of Sardinian and Roman delicacies. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try the ice cream of Gelato Fatamorgana.
If you are looking for a great food tour in the area, try this tour:
Shop in the Local Funky Boutiques – There are a few nice boutiques in Trastevere. Try Via della Scala and Via di San Francesco to start with. During the summer some of these shops are open until 11 PM. If you are a flea-market enthusiast, make sure to come here on Sunday morning and check the Porta Portese Market.
Visit the Churches and Piazzas – There is no shortage of these in any of Rome’s neighborhoods, nevertheless if you are in the area, check the Basilica di Santa Maria and Basilica di Santa Cecilia. For people watching go and sit at Piazza di Santa Maria and watch the world go by.
Enjoy the Nightlife – Trastevere gets quite crowded during the evenings and nights with local students and tourists alike. To enjoy the lively vibes and cool atmosphere, grab a drink at one of the numerous bars, enjoy a live Jazz or Blues show at Big Mama or just stroll through the streets and soak in the vibes. It is one of the best neighborhoods in Rome to enjoy a cocktail, a live show or dance in one of the bars.
Rome Neighborhoods #4 the Old Jewish Ghetto
The Jewish Neighborhood Highlights: History, Jewish Delicacies, Unique Shops and Atmosphere
With all of the attractions that can be found in Rome, many tourists skip the old Jewish Ghetto. While visiting this area you can learn about the history of the Jews in Rome and enjoy some charming little spots around the neighborhood. The Ghetto was established in 1555 following the declaration of Pope Paul IV. that the Jews needed to be confined to the Ghetto area which from now on would remain locked at night. Since then throughout the years the Ghetto has gone through many ordeals but nowadays it is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Rome with its own character and atmosphere. What to do in Rome’s Jewish neighborhood?
What to Do & Where to Eat in Rome's Old Jewish Ghetto
Take a Guided Tour – For an in-depth experience you can take a guided tour and learn all about the history of the old Jewish Ghetto and the history of the Roman Jewish community in general. The guides will also take you to all of the important landmarks in the area.
Visit the Great Synagogue – It is the largest synagogue in Rome its construction was carried out from 1901 – 1904 on the remains of the old synagogue. Within the Great Synagogue you can also find the Jewish Museum of Rome and it is a good option to learn about the history of the Jews in Rome if you are interested to learn more and you do not wish to take a guided tour.
Visit Teatro Marcello and Portico di Ottavia – Just behind the Great Synagogue you can find Theatre of Marcellus, an ancient open-air Roman theater that resembles the Colosseum. Next to it you can find the ruins of Porticus of Octavia which was built by Augustus in the name of his sister, Octavia (it replaced the original Porticus Metelli). Later it was used as a fish market. Nowadays only ruins remain to mark what used to be a very impressive compound.
Visit the Fontane delle Tartarughe – The Turtle Fountain is located in the charming little Piazza Mattei where small delis and shops can be found. It is a great spot to have some coffee or a snack and watch the locals and tourists around you.
Visit Palazzo Mattei di Giove – just near the Turtle Fountain you can find Palazzo Mattei. We stumbled upon it by accident and we were immediately captivated by this charming courtyard which was built in the 16th century. Wander around and admire the sculptures and don’t forget to climb the stairs to the upper floor where you can admire the courtyard and the beautiful terrace across it, from above.
Visit the Unique Shops- Stroll around the narrow streets of Rome’s Jewish neighborhood and take a look at the special shops in this neighborhood. Some seem very old and traditional while others are more modern and hip. You can buy cheese at Beppe e i suoi formaggi, visit il museo del louvre which is a combination of a vintage bookstore and photo and art gallery or enter the many vintage clothing stores in the neighborhood.
If you are looking for a great food tour in the area, try this tour:
Eat in the Local Eateries – There are many places that can satisfy your appetite: Roman-Jewish restaurants, fast-food eateries, delis and bakeries. For the best pastries try the famous Pasticceria Boccione at via del Portico d’Ottavia 1. This old bakery is run by three sisters and it is so famous it has no sign outside. For fresh Roman-Jewish foods try Nonna Betta which attracts even famous chefs like the late Anthony Bourdain. For cheese and wine try Beppe e i suoi formaggi.
When planning your visit take into consideration that many of the places here are closed during the Shabbat.
Rome Neighborhoods #5 Monti and the Colosseum Area
Monti and the Colosseum Area Highlights: Historic Sites, Hippest Shops and People Watching
Once a poor neighborhood where sketchy characters used to roam its streets, nowadays Monti is one of the hidden gems of Rome. A hip vibrant neighborhood with bohemian ambiance, loads of unique shops and eateries and youthful vibes. It is located just near the center of Rome, minutes from the area known as ancient Rome where you can find the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Platine Hill. After you explore these historic sites, make sure to visit Monti. This delightful cool neighborhood is the perfect place to spend a laid-back afternoon or a pleasurable evening.
What to Do & Where to Eat in Monti and the Colosseum Area
Visit the Colosseum, the Roman forum and Platine Hill – These are some of the most important ancient historic sites in Rome and you must include them in your itinerary. For tips about visiting these historic gems, check out our Rome Bucket List.
Look for Interesting Shops in Monti – There is no other place in Rome with so many unique boutiques, whether you are looking for something to dress your house or yourself, there are so many charming little places around. Even if you are not planning to buy something, window-shopping here is a must.
Visit Mercato Monti – During the weekends this unique market offers a variety of clothing and accessories made by the city’s up and coming designers and artists. There is also some vintage clothing and all accompanied by music and lively atmosphere.
People Watching in the Cafes/Bars – Monti is such a great place for people watching. So choose a nice spot and have some beer, wine or coffee and enjoy the local scene.
Try the Local Restaurants – There are so many to choose from… for something light try La Cassetta (and don’t forget to take a picture of the famous vine-covered building) or Aromaticus (plant shop- eatery combination). For family-style Italian food, try Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, for tasty and trendy dishes try Urbana 47. For something sweet try Grezzo for raw vegan chocolate and more, or Fatamorgana, our favorite ice cream in Rome.
The main attraction in Monti is its unique atmosphere and its many great little eateries, boutiques and artisan shops. So just relax, stroll around and enjoy your visit at one of Rome’s best and coolest neighborhood!
Rome Neighborhoods #6 The Vatican and Prati
Vatican City and Prati Highlights: Artistic Masterpieces, Beautiful Architecture and Shopping
The Vatican City needs no introduction as it’s one of the most famous attractions in Rome. Prati, the adjacent neighborhood is still relatively unknown to most tourists. If you are looking for some peace and quiet and want to stay close to the Vatican City, yet not too far away from Rome’s Historic Centre, Prati is a great option to stay in Rome. Prati is more of a residential area and here you’ll find wider tree-lined avenues, great shopping options that are not overcrowded with tourists and a lot of eateries and hotels.
What to Do & Where to Eat around the Vatican City and Prati
Visit the famous Castel Sant’Angelo – Also known as The Mausoleum of Hadrian, the castle itself is beautiful but the view from the top of both the Vatican and Rome’s city center are the real attraction here. From the Castle you can also see the famous Ill Passato di Borgo. This passageway that connects the Vatican City with Castel Sant’Angelo used to serve as an escape route for Popes in danger.
Visit Mercato Trionfale – This local market is far less touristy than Campo de’ Fiori and many local foodies like to buy their produce here.
Go shopping at Prati – Via Cola di Rienzo is the fashion street in Prati. You’ll find here high-end shops as well as affordable brands. In Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini and the surrounding streets, you’ll also find great boutiques and specialty food stores.
Admire the unique architecture – Prati is known for its art nouveau and Umbertino architecture which was common during the 19th century in Italy and was characterized by eclecticism and the mix of decorative elements from the past. Architecture lovers would enjoy spending a few hours exploring some of the most noticeable buildings and piazza in the area such as the Palazzo di Giustizia in Piazza Cavour or Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio. Check out the most important landmarks in Prati neighborhood.
Rome Neighborhoods #7 Testaccio and Ostiense
Testaccio and Ostiense Highlights: Food Market, Foodie Scene and Street Art
These two residential Roman neighborhoods are within walking distance from one another so you can explore them together or even stay in one of the hotels here if you prefer to stay far away from the hectic heart of Rome. Testaccio is the up and coming hip neighborhood of Rome. Located not too far from Rome’s historic center, you’ll find some hidden gems in this Roman neighborhood and lots of great restaurants. The nearby Ostiense used to be an industrial neighborhood but in recent years it has been going through a change and currently, it’s a great place to find some of the best street art in Rome.
What to Do & Where to Eat inTestaccio and Ostiense
Visit Cimitero Acattolico (‘Non-Catholic Cemetery’) – In this peaceful and leafy cemetery, you can find the graves of the famous English Poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley as well as other well-known intellectuals. You can also get a good view of the Testaccio Pyramid from here.
Shop at Testaccio Market – This little market is open from 7 am till 3.00 pm (closed on Sundays) and you’ll find here fresh produce stalls, hand-made pasta, many options for a quick bite and even second-hand clothes.
Check out the Exhibitions at Il Mattatoio – Mattatoio Modern Art Museum is built within the original industrial structure of an old slaughterhouse. Nowadays it’s one of the most interesting places in Rome to see modern art exhibits.
Discover the art scene in these neighborhoods – Ostiense has a reputation for being THE best place to explore Rome’s street art but Testaccio has its own unique graffiti treasures. In addition, if you love street art, you can check one of Rome’s famous graffiti street, Tor Marancia which is located just east to Ostiense. For all the best streets for graffiti treasure hunting in Rome check out Roma Street Art Map.
Shop and eat at Eataly – On the one hand, why bother going to Eataly in Rome when in every corner of the city you can find some of the best Italian products. On the other hand, in Eataly you’ll find the best of the best concentrated in one enormous 4-story market. It is one of the largest gastronomic centers on the planet. From delicious Italian cheese or artisan salami to the finest olive oil, dried pasta or fresh mozzarella, Eataly has it all. It is also a great place to grab lunch. For a more unique experience, you can try one of Eataly’s cooking classes (in Italian) and tasting experiences (for English speakers). You can download their brochure from this page.
Where to eat in Testaccio and and Ostiense? For traditional Italian dishes with a modern touch and great ambiance, try Trattoria Pennestri. Another good choice for lunch or dinner is Taverna Volpetti. Try Marigold for anything really, breakfast, lunch or dinner. This micro bakery serves healthy and delicious dishes in a clean and modern setting. For breakfast they serve yogurt, eggs, avocado toasts and pastries. For lunch you’ll find here delicious and healthy dishes such as salads, gazpacho and pasta. They also have dinners and brunches on the weekends, do check their opening hours before you go
Rome Neighborhoods #8 Quartiere Coppedè
Though we haven’t been there ourselves, we’ve heard that this small neighborhood in Rome is one of the most charming places you can visit in the city. Unfortunately for us, we’ve learned about this architectural gem after we’d already left Rome. In Quartiere Coppedè you’ll find an eclectic mix of Art Nouveau, Gothic, Baroque and Greek influences. We’ve added it to our bucket list but if you happen to visit this gem before us, let us know what you think.