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Recommendations for neighborhood and hotel in Rome

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Mbogo, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Mbogo

    Mbogo Senior member

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    My small family and I will be spending a few days in Rome, and we are trying to figure out where to stay. The various guide books seem to say great things about every neighborhood, so it's kind of difficult to get an idea of the real flavor of an area.

    Here's what we're after. We are planning to see two or three of the major sites, and are leaning toward the Coliseum, St. Peter's, and maybe one other must-see. We're not people who feel we have to cram in every tourist site, and my attention span for museums and churches and ruins is usually a couple hours at a time anyway. I'm much more into diving into a foreign city and exploring on foot, getting away from mobs of tourists and a bit more immersed the everyday life. So I like the idea of walking interesting back streets, hanging around in cafes and parks, etc. Don't care about shopping, clubs, etc.

    We will have our young children in tow, but they are generally adventurous and good sports. A playground is always a great bonus for a break, though.

    So I imagine we explore during the day, and relax in a nice restaurant in the evening, and then stroll around a little before the kids' bedtime. At that point my wife and I are pretty much stuck in our room.

    Our ideal hotel would be:
    - Reasonably priced, 100 Euros a night or so, but could go a bit more if we had to.
    - We don't need anything fancy. Clean, quiet, private bath, a little authentic Italian style. And by quiet, I don't care if there is city traffic noise in the background, but just don't want to be above a club or loading dock or something.
    - In a cool location, but not necessarily in the middle of a tourist area. A quiet neighborhood would be fine. In or near a plaza is great.
    - Huge bonus points for a balcony my wife and I could sit out on at night while the kids sleep, and drink some wine and watch the world go by below. For instance we stayed in a place on Santorini that was tiny and simple and cheap, but it had a balcony that looked out over the Aegean. We got a bit spoiled by that.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    David
     
  2. _yoo

    _yoo Senior member

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    i had a good experience at this hotel in jan. has a nice balcony
    by the way if you have an 3g/4g ipad with you (i.e. one that has a gps chip), you may want to check out i highly recommend an app called 'Rome 2Go'. it has a detailed map, shows your current location and has locally stored wikipedia entries for many, many places of interest in your vicinity. vastly improved my experience strolling around the city.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  3. Mbogo

    Mbogo Senior member

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    That looks like a nice place, but it's 3 times what I was hoping to spend. I've started looking at some apartments to rent through VRBO, too, and that might be an option. Any other suggestions appreciated.

    David
     
  4. ama

    ama Senior member

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    I was just there and ran into some friends of mine who were staying in Trastevere in a small hotel called HipSuites. (http://www.hipsuites.com/?lang=ENG) They said it was small, but rather nice and affordable.

    I never saw the hotel myself, but I can attest that the neighborhood is amongst the most lively in Rome, especially at night.
     
  5. Mbogo

    Mbogo Senior member

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    Thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not really looking for hip or lively night life, since we will be traveling with our young children.

    I actually found an apartment to rent near the Vatican that looks like it's in a nice neighborhood, so I'll hope for the best.

    Any other suggestions on must-see stuff, let me know.

    Thanks!

    David
     
  6. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Don't sweat it too much. Rome is a fantastic city and made for walking. There is food everywhere and even the crappy gelato is good. Most of the public fountains are drinkable, which is a nice convenience for walkers (the Trevi fountain is not drinkable, though it has a section with potable water off on the side).
    Personally, I stop in the Pantheon whenever I am near it because I think it is jaw-droppingly cool, but that is just me. On the other hand of the 50 other sights in Rome (or whatever), you should not feel bad if you only see a randomly selected five. They are all worthwhile.


    Trastevere is a great neighborhood and you should not be put off by its hipness, but you are then mildly out of the center of town and on the other side of the Tiber (which is what it means), though nearer the Vatican.
    I stayed a few times in the Via Veneto area, which is very toursity/diplomatic but has the advantage of being near the Villa Borghese park, which is fantastic. Our hotel was pricy, but you may find others in the area less so. I did not find many other parks in Rome, so if that is important, you might want to consider being near the Borghese (also has one of the best collections of Bernini sculptures in the Borghese museum inside the park and a great children's playground and activity center). You also have good access to the park from The Piazza Popolo area (which is also touristy).
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  7. gomestar

    gomestar Senior member

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    Hotel Trastevere is where I'd stay.
     
  8. philosophe

    philosophe Senior member

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    I usually stay near the Campo dei Fiore. The morning food market in the Campo is terrific, and there are a bunch of wonderful bakeries and inexpensive restaurants. It's an easy walk to get coffee at Sant'Eustachio and visit the Pantheon (as Dopey says, do visit the Pantheon daily). You will also be close to the beautiful Piazza Navona.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  9. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Senior member

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    Wow- nice rates
     
  10. kungapa

    kungapa Senior member

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    I second Trastevere. Very nice neighborhood to dive into a foreign city in. Its relative distance from the more touristy areas (not that Trastevere doesn't also have its fair share of tourists...) makes it slightly more genuine.
     
  11. sonick

    sonick Senior member

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    Reply for subscription. I am going there in mid June for a few days. Would staying near Roma Termini be a mistake? I want to stay relatively central to everything but not if it's very sketch, which I've heard Termini can be. I've heard good things about Centro Storica.

    More budget conscious than something nicer or more private (mid 20's, first time in Europe).
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  12. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Ugly area, kind of central but not more so than other areas. Not sure that I would call it sketchy - seemed safe enough to me. Fine to stay there for the right hotel or if being near Termini is a plus because you are only in Rome for a day or two or are going in and out a lot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  13. ama

    ama Senior member

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    I stand by Trastevere, especially for someone your age. Best nightlife in Rome.

    Public transportation in Rome sucks, so I see no real benefit in staying near Termini.
     
  14. kungapa

    kungapa Senior member

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    San Lorenzo near Termini is really fun. A little gritty, but a ton of good bars and restaurants - a little Brooklyn-ish.
     
  15. sonick

    sonick Senior member

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    Thanks all, I think I'll try to find a place in Trastevere.

    Also, should I buy train tickets online prior or should I just buy it on the spot when I get there? I'll need transfers between airport, termini, Civitavecchia and Naples/Sorrento.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    A few years back we rented an 3-bedroom apartment on Via Merulana through an outfit called Roman Reference. I forget what we paid, but it was a modest city apartment that had few amenities but made a good crash pad. FWIW, we had between 4 and 6 people (us, in-laws, friends) sleeping there at a given time, fairly comfortably. We were a couple of kilometers from Termini, another metro station wasn't but a kilometer away, we still walked most places. Food was not included in the deal, we cooked a fair amount from the market just off the corner from us and ate mostly street food (pizza, gelato, panini) while we were out. I ended up picking up a decent knife from a tiny knife shop across the street from us.

    I know, it doesn't sound like a baller vacay, and it wasn't meant to be. We did it on a budget because we were bringing the in-laws with us. They're thrifty (to put it mildly), but also wanted to see the Vatican among other sites while they were still capable of travel.
     
  17. Britalian

    Britalian Senior member

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    You can go between Termini and Trastevere stations on regular rail line for 90 cents one way. Obviously, be careful if taking taxis.
     
  18. romafan

    romafan Senior member

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    We stayed near the V. Borghese park for the express purpose of having an outlet for the kids - bought a soccer ball and ended every day w/ an hour or so of running around - after spending all day walking around the city it was a little tough on the old man :)cry:, but the boyz (8 yrs) had a blast and looked forward to it.
     
  19. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Since I have been to Rome only during tourist season (summer), I have never really heard Italian spoken in public - except at the Borghese. That's the one public space where I saw mostly Italians.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012

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