Rome has so many beautiful historic and cultural sites that it’s easy to skip the rest of the city in favor of museums and ancient ruins. However when I travel, one of my favorite things is exploring different neighborhoods and ambling about the streets of a town, to get a sense of what each district is like.
If you travel like I do, what neighborhoods should you check out in a large, spread-out city like Rome? Here are some of my favorite Roman hangouts to help you decide where to go and where you should book your hotels in Rome.
Photo by Earth Trekkers via Trover.com
Regola has a historic feel to it obvious in its medieval winding streets and ancient plazas, but it also has plenty of apartment complexes and small craftsman shops where modern Italian live and work. One of the best spots in Regola is the Campo de Fiori market, where you can go produce shopping in the morning among thousands of Italians, and then grab a drink and relax in the square in the afternoon.
As one of Rome’s most well-known and historic neighborhoods, Trastevere attracts plenty of tourists but you can also find out-of-the-way spaces to get away from the crowds. After viewing the local square and some of the area’s beautiful churches, including Santa Cecilia and Santa Maria in Trastevere, walk east on the area’s trademark cobblestone streets to reach a quieter part of the neighborhood. For food in Trastevere, as long as you stick to restaurants without tourist menus you will enjoy a delightful dining experience.
For the artistic and intellectual crowds, head to Monti and witness hundreds of bohemian Romans arguing about the finer points of art and current politics. Enjoy hours people-watching at a coffee shop and try some of the incredible street food in the area.
If you want an authentic Roman experience, head to Testaccio and you will most likely be the only tourist there. The area has a great food scene, and though it does not boast as many sites as the rest of Rome, it is a reinvigorated neighborhood that has become pretty popular with young Italians, especially at night.
Photo by Ola Ekelund via Trover.com
For travelers who still haven’t gotten enough of Rome’s history, Centro Storico is the best neighborhood to stroll around. Walk from the Pantheon to Piazza Navona so you can get a full dose of culture and then spend late afternoon lounging and people-watching at the piazza. This is also one of the best neighborhoods to book your Rome hotel in, since it is walking distance from most of the city’s sights.
There is no better area than Parioli at which to get a taste of upper class Rome. Elegant apartment buildings and restaurants line the wide, shaded streets of Parioli. Walk down Viale Parioli or Viale Bruno Buozzi to see how the other half of Rome lives.
Visiting these neighborhoods is the best way to get a sense of the day-to-day life and people of Rome.