Rome Airfare Booking
Budget carriers – like Easyjet and RyanAir – often have fares as low as two cents, plus taxes, into Rome from various European capitals. The total (one-way) is $40-50, depending on taxes. Plus, you may be able to find cheaper transatlantic flights into, say, Milan, Frankfurt or Vienna.
This budget booking tactic works best for folks who want to explore the layover city. No-frill airlines don’t have partners, so if you run late inbound, you won’t be rebooked and may forfeit the Rome ticket. The fares generally do not include checked baggage fees or seat selection, and you usually have to pay additional costs for this. Also, these flights typically connect secondary airports (London Stansted and Rome Ciampino, for example), so calculate in the extra ground-transit time and expenses.
Search engines like Kayak, Hipmunk, Google Flights and Momondo help you explore these options. You can perform searches for a period of dates to help find the days with the lowest fares, and set up alerts that will email or text you when fares drop. Other helpful resources include Mobissimo and Low Cost Airline Guide.
Accommodations in Rome
Albergo del Sole al Biscione
Via del Biscione 76, Centro Storico. 06-68-806873
A lofty rose-colored building houses this appealing hotel, which snuggles in a quieter piazza off the Campo dei Fiori. The entrance is unpromising, but the hotel unravels into a skein of gracious rooms, courtyards and a terrace, which peers at the San Andrea delle Valle cupola. Wrought iron and wooden bed frames dominate guestrooms with exposed beams and terracotta floor tiles. This albergo claims to be Rome’s oldest hotel; as it stands on the ruins of the Theater of Pompey (Brutus assassinated Julius Caesar in a wing of this pleasure-drome). Don’t confuse this Albergo del Sole with another historic hotel by the same name: a four-star wallet-waster by the Pantheon.
Pantheon View B&B
Via del Seminario 87, Centro Storico. 06-699-0294
Bargain balconies offer sliver-views of the Pantheon at this B&B, nestled between the Piazza Navona and Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). Each room boasts an attached bath, color TV and authentic antiques. Potted plants and wrought iron bedspreads increase the appeal of these chambers. Pleasingly, this affordable option has an elevator, but travelers with impaired mobility should ask for a room sans steps. The friendly staff and high security (four locked door separate guests from the street) win praise among female soloists. No credit cards accepted, however. And be forewarned, the noise can de disruptive to light sleepers in this popular nightlife neighborhood.
Via dei Chiavari 20, Centro Storico. 06-687-5929
Just off the Campo dei Fiori, this hotel is a great bargain. The entrance is modest: an arched doorway with a tiny green sign (smeraldo, after all, means emerald). Nor does the interior cause rave reviews. The décor is serviceable and neat; the only sassy notes is the red-and-gold fabric adorning the drapes and duvet. But what a location: near Rome’s mightiest outdoor market, plus Piazza Navona, Largo Argentina and Trastevere too. The 50 guest rooms all have private baths, air conditioning and telephones with Internet access. One chamber accommodates disabled visitors.
Via dei Portoghesi 1, Centro Storico. 06-686-4231
This establishment hides in the twisting cobbled streets of the Tor di Nona area, west of Piazza Navona. The Baroque palazzo includes a breakfast solarium and roof terrace, frothing with flowers and lemon trees. Hotel Portoghesi — meaning Portuguese — is solid and classic, rather than hip (though it boasts wifi Internet in all areas, and attracts architects and art historians).
Across the street looms the Torre dei Frangipane, also called the Monkey Tower. Legend claims a seventeenth-century Kong kidnapped the owners’ baby and climbed this fortress. After the child’s rescue, the family placed a lamp at the feet of the Virgin Mary statue there.
Largo Febo 2, Centro Storico. 06-682-831
Ivy vines festoon the façade of this eccentric hotel near the Piazza Navona. The décor ricochets from bust-and-marble column solemnity to Picasso ceramics and an antique sleigh in the common areas. Rich-toned coverlets and drapes spice up the generous rooms, some hung with ethnic art or hand-painted tiles, others with archaic sketches of locals monuments. The architect Richard Meyer is consulting on the newer rooms: expect ultra-minimalist excitement soon. Dine on the superb, split-level roof terrace, where wrought-iron chairs and golden table cloths compete with the picturesque red-tiled roofs of Rome and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Given the proximity to Parliament, the Raphael is popular among politicians. Ten apartments compliment the 51 rooms and seven suites. A gym, sauna, laundry service and Internet sweeten the deal.
Via Goffredo Mameli 11, Trastevere. 06-580-9921
Stained glass and marble distinguish this one-star hotel in Trastevere. The fabrics and furnishings are old-school: not quite antiques, nor shabby chic, but lost in between. That said, the location and price are fabulous, especially in light of the private baths and air conditioning. A vine-covered courtyard encourages guests to dawdle over some vino and ciambellini (savory, miniature dough-rings). A kosher kitchen is available on request, as is a Pilates mat. The hotel is near the Ministry of Education and Justice (Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione e al Palazzo degli Esami), 700m from the Trastevere station, along the #8 tram route.
Vicolo del Piede 2, Trastevere. 06-589-4626
Wander off the side-street into a cool, gravel courtyard, fringed by orange trees. The low, two-story building — a former convent cloister — is a welcome break from Trastevere’s tall, tight architecture. Breakfast al fresco or in an ancient artisans’ workshop, overhung by a swooping arch. The buffet is far above average, featuring fresh baked goods, cheese, ham, salami, yoghurt, cereals and seasonal fruit, besides scrambled eggs. Flowery fabrics, yellow walls and terracotta tiles brighten the rooms. The wine cellar also enjoys some renown.
Testacchio and the Aventine
Hotel Santa Prisca
Largo Manlio Gelsomini 25, Testacchio. 06-574-1917
Palms, pines and flowers wreathe this pleasant hotel on the flanks of the Aventine hill. The rooms formerly nuns’ cells are like cameos: small but finely wrought (some even have frescoed closets, balconies and French windows). Many offer a glimpse of the San Anselmo church. A quiet reading room stands near the reception desk, staffed by exceptionally friendly concierges. The 50-room hotel has ample parking, and lies along bus and tram lines, just a few blocks from the Pyramide metro station. It’s also tempting close to Volpetti’s, arguably the city’s best gourmet food shop and its adjacent cafeteria (Via Marmorata 47, Testaccio. 06-574-2352. www.volpetti.com).
Hotel San Anselmo
Piazza San Anselmo 2, Aventine. 06-574-5231
This nineteenth-century edifice faces the Benedictine convent of San Anselmo. The great orange and cream hotel is freshly renovated yet again (its foundations date were once an ancient Roman country villa). Swags of marble, faded gilt mirrors and citrus trees lend a Belle Epoque air to this retreat, nestled high on the green-swathed hill. The Hotel San Anselmo has airs and graces from a different time, when calling cards implied social visits, not a budget phone scheme. The wicker, china vases and floral patterns aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this elegance is wonderfully evocative of Rome in its Grand Tour prime.
Via Pellegrino Matteucci 10-20, Ostiense-Testacchio. 06-454-3191
From the sinous serpent-green lobby to the mod scarlet armchairs, this hotel is tres chic, tres moderne. Close to both rail and metro stations, as well as the club district, this uber-trendy hotel taking Testacchio upscale. It has a severly minimal café, as well as the Estro Bar, which does overtime as a pizzeria, gallery and winebar (www.estrobar.com).
Celio and Monti
Sleeping Beauty B&B
Viale Carlo Felice 89, Celio. 06-70-450-012
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Bright, spacious rooms distinguish this new guest house, just fiveminutes’ from Saint John Lateran. Décor varies between Ikea-dorm chic and pastel-accented antiques. However, it’s all a cut above the chipboard of competitors in this cheap price bracket. Well-connected by bus, metro and tram, the neighborhood also features a leafy park.
Via Capo d’Africa 47, Monti. 06-70-450-615
Dine at the Round Table. No, really. Not much Arthurian schmaltz creeps into this pleasant hotel, but guests share hearty dinners, complimentary wine, their lives and travels. The golden-walled, vine-crowned breakfast patio has less enforced-fun. Public spaces are soothing and tasteful, peppered with antiques but not overdone. Hand-painted tiles and glass make guest rooms distinctive. The half-board deal is quite affordable (three-night minimum). Add €10 for a terrace room or €15 for a sixth-floor balcony, boasting views of the Colosseum. The Lancelot also has two rooms for the disabled.
Via Cavour 295, Scala A, Monti. 06-97-618-483
Rich fabrics and cherry-colored wood make this hotel a cozy bower. Tiled floors vary from the typical terracotta to ornate china-blue and white floral patterns. All are gorgeous and all echo loudly. The charismatic owners — Melissa and Francois — strike a great and genuine customer-service chord, earning a devoted following. The cleanliness, comfort and strong showers also win praise, as do the longer-than-usual beds. An Internet café stands just across the street.
Esquiline (near Termini Station)
The Beehive Hotel & Café
Via Marghera 8, Esquiline. 06-44-704-553
This hotel and art space is an aesthetic, yet affordable, haven in the seedy Esquiline area. A young American couple Los Angelea expats Steve and Linda have forever redefined budget travel: Ikea-influenced, contemporary minimalism replaces yard-sale-rejects.”Budget” doesn’t equate with ugly and uncomfortable here. Tassled lamps and bright molded chairs brighten the white-on-white urban coolness. Stretch out the travel tension with a massage or yoga session in the private garden. The Beehive prides itself on ecologically friendly products, including handmade soaps. Three independent apartments are available off-site as well.
Fawlty Towers Hotel and Hostel
Via Magenta 39, Esquiline. 06-445-0374
This funky spot is so mainstream that even Newsweek recommends it. Expect eccentric touches like the odd papier-mâché puppet head. Mostly it’s good clean fun with kooky stripes, cheerful orange walls and fake-sunflower bouquets. Opt for a private room or share. Fawlty Towers doesn’t pack ’em in the cheap seats with bunk beds: €20-23 rents a tidy cot in a four-person room. This cheap and cheerful establishment has a fridge, microwave and fast, free Internet access. Best of all, no curfew curtails guests’ evenings. If you can overlook the relentless preschool colors and cheer, this hotel-hostel named for the British cult sitcom is one of Rome’s best deals.
Via Milazzo 3, Esquiline. 06-445-2323
Cleanliness, air conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and better quality fabrics lift this budget hotel above its competitors mobbing around Termini station. The lobby verges on stylish with red plush, aquamarine-glass bricks and polished wood. Triples and family rooms are great value, even on the Esquiline. The Hotel Rubino offers discounts for cash payment, but accepts credit cards.
Via Cavour 18. Esquiline. 06-487-0270
The interior lives up to the neo-classical façade: this hotel boasts glossy parquetry, swags of moulding and marble bathrooms. Small wonder it’s attracted legendary guests from WWII Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to crooner Louis Armstrong and director Pier Paolo Pasolini.The restaurant, long a celebrity hotspot, has declined somewhat, but the ambiance still appeals. Diners enjoy Piedmontese fare in green leather booths or at red-checked, candle-lit tables below arches of stone. Double-glazing, Wifi and Internet access increase this hotel’s charms. A classic choice, the Massimo D’Azeglio rises above the gritty Esquiline neighborhood. Exercise caution when walking around at night, however.