From icons like the Colosseum and the Vatican, to little-visited ancient ruins, spectacular art, and some of the country’s finest food, the Eternal City really is the trip of a lifetime.

The best neighbourhoods to visit in Rome

Campitelli

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (Photo: GettyImages)

For the best of ancient Rome, head to Campitelli. Just southeast of the modern city centre, Campitelli’s places to visit include the Forum and Palatine Hill, and it’s bordered by the Colosseum and Circus Maximus.

A ticket to the Colosseum also includes entry to the Roman Forum and onto the Palatine Hill, where the emperors lived. Meanwhile, on the area’s northern border is the “ghetto” – the Jewish quarter since the Middle Ages. Rome’s Jewish community invented many of the city’s most famous dishes and even today the area is known for its restaurants. Try the upscale Piperno, established in 1860.

Campo Marzio

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are located in Campo Marzio, the fashionable heart of Rome (Photo: GettyImages)

The fashionable heart of Rome, Campo Marzio has the Villa Borghese park forming its eastern border and the River Tiber its west. It runs north to south from the grand Piazza del Popolo to just above the Trevi Fountain. A visit to Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps are among the most interesting things to do in the neighbourhood, while the streets radiating out around them, such as Via dei Condotti, are known for their designer shops.

The area has a wealth of cultural sights like the Keats-Shelley House, overlooking the Spanish Steps, which has been transformed into a little museum tracing the Romantic poets in Italy. Campo Marzio is also home to some unique things to do – the Ara Pacis is a freestanding open-air altar made to celebrate the emperor Augustus’s victories abroad in 13 BCE; its marble facade is carved with astonishingly lifelike figures. The Mausoleum of Augustus – his burial place, along with that of most of the Roman emperors – is another fascinating place to visit.

Campo Marzio is home to some great places to eat – Due Ladroni is a traditional celebrity favourite, while cosy Otello alla Concordia is tucked behind Piazza di Spagna. The dishes to try are Rome’s quartet of famous pasta dishes: amatriciana, cacio e pepe, gricia (a tomato-free amatriciana) and carbonara. As you’d expect, Campo Marzio has some of Rome’s best places to stay. Located on Via Veneto, Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora offers rooms overlooking Parco Borghese, while the W Rome dismantles the norm, injecting unapologetic energy into the area. And just by the mausoleum is Elizabeth Unique Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels™, whose Donna E Bistrot sits on a terrace cantilevered over the street.

Centro Storico

Composed of several smaller neighbourhoods, the historical centre has plenty of fun things to do, from iconic landmarks such as the Pantheon (the huge, domed temple that’s now the burial place of the likes of Raphael) to the elegant Piazza Navona, originally an ancient stadium. It’s also home to some of the city’s best places to stay.

The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel, Autograph Collection offers elegantly modern rooms just steps from the famous site, plus a Michelin-starred restaurant: Idylio by Apreda. Across the river, in the chic Prati district close to the Vatican, is Le Méridien Visconti Rome, whose modern rooms overlook the handsome turn-of-the-century apartment blocks typical of this part of town.

Monti

Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the most iconic ancient sites in Rome

Just north of Campitelli, hipster Monti is now the hottest place to be. Initially known as a nightlife area, visitors now also come in the daytime – filled with independent boutiques, one of the best things to do is simply to wander the cobbled streets. On Via del Boschetto at number 1, you’ll find queen of Monti style, Tina Sondergaard, whose classic womenswear in fun, bright fabrics is tailored to your figure right there in the shop. At nearby Per Lei, jewellery designer Kely Paucar makes exquisite pieces from alternative materials. LOL Roma, meanwhile, is a great option for clothes and accessories from small labels, while you’ll find plenty of smaller stalls – from artisans to vintage clothes dealers – at the Mercato Monti, Rome’s hippest market, held on weekends. A 10-minute stroll from Monti, The St. Regis Rome occupies a stunning 19th-century palazzo; its Lumen Garden bar and restaurant feels like a real oasis in the heart of the city.

Go deeper

Rome is a city that never stops moving, so keep an eye on sites such as turismoroma.it for news of temporary openings and special events, especially given the strength of Rome’s contemporary art scene.

Published: July 26, 2022

Last Updated: February 07, 2023

Article Tags:  Rome , Italy

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