Rome is where the art is, and if you had a lifetime to spare, you could fill the decades with exploring every last exhibition, each frescoe and even the most obscure galleries. However, if your time in the Eternal City is more like a weekend, you’re going to want to holiday efficiently. That’s why we’ve rounded up Rome’s best boutique hotels for a landmark-focused jaunt. See the Colosseum from your window, get close enough to smell the flowers from the Quirinal Gardens and trip over the Spanish Steps outside your front door. Here’s where to go for a stay-and-stroll to the city’s major attractions.
Piazza di Spagna 9
As you’d expect (the name’s a giveaway), this modern gallery and hotel is just minutes from the Spanish Steps. Filled with contemporary art – all of which is available to buy – this six-room townhouse is an ideal retreat for the artistically inclined. Pour a drink from the honesty bar, stretch out in the hammam or hike up those famous steps for an unparalleled view of the city.
Close to? The Spanish Steps
How close? One-minute walk
What can I do when I get there? Climb (and count) all 135 steps; channel Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in that ‘accidental’ run-in scene from Roman Holiday; throw a coin in the Barcaccia Fountain.
Anything else? The 17th-century Basilica di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte – a gothic tribute to St Anthony – is just a five-minute walk away. The Trevi Fountain is also an eight-minute walk from the hotel.
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi
The Colosseum might not have hosted gladiators for centuries, but we’d be willing to fight to the death for lodgings at Palazzo Manfredi, a marble-floored, rooftop-terraced treasure with views of the ancient amphitheatre. Kick back with a well-thumbed book from the library, have an Aperol spritz in the courtyard, or just take in the postcard-worthy vistas from your grand, velvet-clad room.
Close to? The Colosseum
How close? Four-minute walk
What can I do when I get there? Rent a Vespa and zip around the perimeter; sign up for a tour and walk the underground path taken by gladiators; have coffee at Oppio across the street.
Anything else? The Arch of Constantine – which is only a seven-minute walk from the hotel – is Rome’s answer to Marble Arch.
The quietly elegant Casacau is as close as you can get to the verdant Quirinal Gardens, short of pitching a tent under the trees. You’ll be far more comfortable in these Sixties-inspired, boutique apartments, however – the earthy-hued rooms have marshmallow-soft beds and even typewriters, so you can spend evenings tapping out your latest bestseller. Leave the window open for a waft of floral-fresh air and the tinkling sounds of the nearby Trevi Fountain.
Close to? Quirinal Gardens and Palazzo
How close? Eight-minute walk
What can I do when I get there? Stroll through the bloom-packed gardens; climb the Quirinal hill (the highest of the seven hills in Rome) to visit the palace; see if you can spot the President – it’s one of his official residences.
Anything else? If you haven’t quite had your fill of garden-gazing, the Montecavallo Gardens are a six-minute walk away. The Trevi Fountain is also just two minutes down the road.
Guests at G Rough are just a Ferragamo-heeled trot away from the Pantheon, a former Roman temple dedicated to the ancient gods and one of the capital’s most popular landmarks. A mixture of baroque grandeur and retro glamour, this 10-suite, 17th-century townhouse is all modern furnishings and welcoming touches: the rooms have mini Smeg fridges, quirky terraces and even hairdressers on-demand.
Close to? The Pantheon
How close? Seven-minute walk
What can I do when I get there? Visit the tombs of the most famous Italian artists, especially Raphael; go as early as possible to avoid the crowds; don’t forget to look up – the dome and open oculus are mesmerising.
Anything else? Piazza di Pasquino is opposite the hotel and is famous for its ‘talking statues’ – the ancient version of modern bulletin boards.