Secret Hotels of Rome (From $75!)
Here's your chance to be the ultimate Italy insider, with gorgeously affordable, off-the-beaten-path lodgings just steps from some of the Eternal City's hottest attractions and tastiest restaurants.
Enjoy an elegant stay on the cobblestoned Roman street of your dreams.
If you prefer lodgings with a little history, this fine hotel is named for the saint credited with performing miracles here in the 15th century. A decidedly modern miracle is that this place, situated in the charming Trastevere district near upscale shops, dining, and the legendary Porta Portese Flea Market, comes without sticker shock. Enjoy your complimentary breakfast amid the orange trees of the interior courtyard and pay a visit to the beautiful little chapel. When you’re ready to explore the neighborhood and beyond, ask the friendly staff for their tips (Via dei Vascellari 61, from about $122 per night).
MUST-SEE: Movie buffs will get a kick out of the Bocca della Verità, featured in Roman Holiday, a short walk from the hotel. Then take off across the Tiber to Palatine Hill (the Park Avenue of ancient Rome), where you can explore the ruins of a stadium and imperial palace and take the panorama of the Eternal City, including the Forum and Colosseum. For discounts and shorter lines at museums and archaeological attractions, invest in a Roma Pass (from about $31).
MANGIA: Da Lucia offers a reliable menu of pastas and meat dishes, but its antipasti, like cheese and honey or anchovies with lemon juice, are the real stars (Vicolo del Mattonato 2B, 011-39/06-580-3601).
Revel in midcentury-modern style at a great price just steps from the “Steps.”
While some people come to Italy to revel in the ancient, the proprietors of Seven Kings Relais are more interested in the recent past. The hotel wears its fashion sense proudly, with 1960s details like floral wallpaper, a baroque-style sofa done up in pink, and a contemporary espresso bar right in the lobby. They’re also more than happy to dispense tips on navigating the local Metro stops and bus routes, the 15-minute walk to the Spanish Steps, and where to indulge your shopping urges (Via XX Settembre 58A, from about $75 per night).
MUST-SEE: The Piazza di Spagna, named for the nearby Spanish Embassy, is the base of the gorgeous 1725 staircase affectionately known as the Spanish Steps. Once you get over the “pinch me” moment of seeing the steps for real, check out the fountain said to be designed by Bernini’s dad.
MANGIA: The Spanish Steps area is super-popular, and it’s a relief to know that Pizzeria Leoncino is not only nearby but is also, unlike many Rome pizzerias, open for lunch. Elizabeth Minchilli, author of Eating Rome and the app Eat Italy, recommends Leoncino’s pizza with onion, beans, and sausage (Via del Leonci- no 28, 011-39/06-686-7757).
Betcha never thought a converted stable could look this beautiful.
The 10-room Relais Palazzo Taverna used to be stables dating back to the 15th century. Their conversion into a hotel is the loving work of a family of art lovers that includes a Venetian art expert from Christie’s. When you’re not exploring nearby Piazza Navona and other Roman delights, savor the dramatic black-and-white damask wallpaper from England and the Japanese printed paper, not to mention the massive 500-year-old beams original to the stables. You’ll be just off a street lined with antiques stores that leads straight to the piazza... if you can drag yourself away from the pastries and cappuccino delivered right to your door each morning (Via dei Gabrielli 92, from about $105 per night).
MUST-SEE: Ogle Bernini’s stunning Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in nearby Piazza Navona, where a few cheeky tourists famously attempted some late-night bathing this past summer.
MANGIA: Fill up on hearty servings of pasta tossed with eggplant, tomato, and garlic at Da Tonino al Governo Vecchio (Via del Governo Vecchio 18–19, 011-39/333-587-0779).
Psst! Want to sleep in a villa in one of Rome’s poshest quarters?