3.20.2007

Avoiding Hotels Near Termini in Rome

Termini train station is an great piece of post-war rationalist architecture (don't worry if you don't know what that is - most people don't know). In fact, if you're a fan of modern architecture, you'll probably want to see it along with other buildings like the Palazzo Del Lavoro and the Palazzo Dei Congressi in EUR. It also reminds me of Eero Saarinene's terminal at Dulles Airport - a modern masterpiece and truly worth appreciating the next time you fly into northern Virginia.

While Termini is great to admire and critical when taking trains to destinations like Florence or Naples, it's not a great area to make your home base in Rome. I see so many people roped into staying around Termini. Why? Admittedly, there is an abundance of hotels (a ton of them) and the prices are reasonable compared to areas like the Spanish Steps or Campo Marzio.

BUT... the area around Termini is not the best in town. How often have you heard of train station neighborhoods as desirable? Yes, there are some notable exceptions - the area surrounding the Bologna train station is not too bad. Termini does not fit that bill, though. While the area is fine in the daytime and there are plenty of restaurants and shops, it's not desirable at night. It's quite seedy and home to homeless and gypsies. While it's not south central LA, it should not be your first choice (or your fourth or fifth, for that matter), particularly the area south of the station.

My advice? Look elsewhere for a hotel room. Even moving just a little further from the station and closer to Piazza Repubblica can get you a very nice hotel. A hotel like The Grand is one of the finest in all of Rome and is just off of the piazza. Ultimately, if you're not sure about a hotel, do some research. Sites like Trip Advisor are filled with reviews tipping off travelers to the seediness around Termini. Here are some examples from three different hotels around the station:

"ONLY stay here if you must. The hotel is one block from the train station, and the area is not very safe. Multiple trash cans were directly outside of the window and became a public toilet. Homeless were digging all night through the trash."
"Plus, the neighborhood seemed quite seedy and dangerous to walk around at night with men congregating at some corners but we also saw plenty of tourists."
"The hotel is closely located to the Termini (main train station), which was our reason for choosing the hotel, but this area is very dirty and seedy and is not one of the choisest neighbourhoods in Rome. If you are looking for a bed to sleep in and not much else, then this hotel will suit you. "

Ultimately, if you're going to have a memorable visit to Rome, it shouldn't be due to your hotel's sketchy neighborhood.

On a totally unrelated note, the more I read about Japanese culture, the more I find it fascinating. I thought you might enjoy this blog entry on an interesting Japanese tradition.

1 comment:

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