Hostels in Rome

Hostels and shared dorms in Rome, Italy

Grabbing a bed in a traditional hostel is a bit like staying at summer camp, only without the lanyards. These days, such rooms full of bunk-beds are being replaced with teensy "dorms" of just four to eight beds each.Grabbing a bed in a traditional hostel is a bit like staying at summer camp, only without the lanyards. These days, such rooms full of bunk-beds are being replaced with teensy "dorms" of just four to eight beds each.

If you're really scrimping on every eurocent, or are particularly fond of fraternizing with primarily youthful backpackers, you might want to stay in hostels, where you can get a bunk in a shared dorm for around $15 to $35.

I'm not a fan of hostels. Never did like them, really, not even when I was a backpacking student, but that's just me.

A silk sleep sack for staying i hostels and making rough, cheap sheets more comfortable
Buy a sleep sack before you go or make one. Hostels will accept homemade ones out of a basic cotton top sheet (fold it in half the long way, sew across the bottom and 2/3 of the way up the side), as well as the kind I use: the silk sleep sack you can get from some travel and camping outfitters that packs teensy and is dreamily comfortable.

You, though, might enjoy the camaraderie, the chance to rub elbows with other English-speakers, the evenings of contributing an ingredient to the communal spaghetti dinner someone is whipping up in the kitchen while your laundry spins in the back room, a dreadlocked dropout strums a guitar, and everyone sits around and shares travel tips and recently discovered gems not yet in the guidebooks.

Oh, and the massive savings. That's the upside to the hostelling experience.

Favorite Rome hostels
The downsides, though, are enough to keep me away, despite the savings. Though some private hostels have done away with most of the old rules, some (especially official HI hostels) still impose evening curfews (10pm-midnight or so), midday lockout periods, and limits on how long you can stay (often no more than three days). » more


  • Private hotels are usually far superior to HI hostels—better locations, nicer decor, smaller rooms (often only 4-8 beds per room), more private baths, far fewer rules, and better perks (like free WiFi, often free breakfast).
  • There are lockers for your bags; use them.
  • Bring a sleep sack, which is basically a sheet folded in half lengthwise and sewn across the bottom and most of the way up the side—sort of like an ultra-thin sleeping bag. These are required at most hostels. Should you lack one, some hostels will sell you a sleep sack on the spot.
  • Hostels are a savings for singles, but since you pay a per-person rate, two or three people traveling together can usually find a hotel for the same price or even less.
  • Families can often find hostels with 4-bunk rooms for semi-private housing.
  • Meals will be cheap (if offered), but lackluster.

Finding Hostels in Rome

Hostel Search:

HostelWorld ( - Premier independent booking site for 20,000 hostels around the world. It also helpfully includes particularly cheap hotels as well as campgrounds.

Hostelbookers.comHostelbookers (www.hostelbookers.compartner) - Some 17,000 hostels in 2,500 destinations.

Hostelling International ( - The official international hostelling body, giving its stamp of approval to one or two hotels in cities and town around the globe. This ends up totaling more than 4,000—around 100 of which are in Italy. Sign up as a member (under 18 us free; age 18-54 costs $28, over 55 costs $18—or pay $250 for a lifetime memberships) and you get a card good for about 5% to 10% discount at official hostels—many of which will sell you (or insist upon selling you) the membership/card on the spot. The website lets you search to find official HI properties around the world so you can get the info on location, rules, and prices. ( - One of the biggest repositories of hostelling information and reviews of some 6,000 hostels, both HI and independent.

Hostels in Europe ( - Another independent guide to hostels.

Tips & links

Rome hotel & lodging links
Useful Italian for lodging
English (Inglese) Italian (Italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a hotel un albergo oon al-BEAR-go
...a B&B un bed-and-breakfast oon bet hand BREK-fust
...a rental room un'affittacamera oon ah-feet-ah-CAH-mair-ra apartment for rent un appartamento oon ah-part-tah-MENT-toh
...a farm stay un agriturismo oon ah-gree-tour-EES-moh
...a hostel un ostello oon oh-STEHL-loh
How much is...? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
a single room una singola OO-nah SEEN-go-la
double room for single use [will often be offered if singles are unavailable] doppia uso singola DOPE-pee-ya OO-so SEEN-go-la
a double room with two beds una doppia con due letti OO-nah DOPE-pee-ya cone DOO-way LET-tee
a double room with one big bed una matrimoniale OO-nah mat-tree-moan-nee-YAAL-lay
triple room una tripla OO-nah TREE-plah
with private bathroom con bagno cone BAHN-yoh
without private bathroom senza bagno [they might say con bagno in comune—"with a communal bath"] SEN-zah BAHN-yoh
for one night per una notte pair OO-nah NOH-tay
for two nights per due notti pair DOO-way NOH-tee
for three nights per tre notti pair tray NOH-tee
Is breakfast included? É incluso la prima colazione? ay in-CLOO-soh lah PREE-mah coal-laht-zee-YOAN-nay
Is there WiFi? C'é WiFi? chay WHY-fy?
May I see the room? Posso vedere la camera? POH-soh veh-DAIR-eh lah CAH-mair-rah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Is there a cheaper one? C'é una più economica? chay OO-nah pew eh-ko-NO-mee-kah
Rome's hotel tax

In January, 2011, Rome began charging a hotel bed tax. This is the city's doing, and sadly it is not a scam.

The following tax rates are per person, per night for all guests over the age of 10 and can be charged for stays of up to 10 days:

  • 1–3 star hotels: €2
  • 4–5 star hotels: €3
  • B&Bs: €2
  • Apartments: €2
  • Rental rooms: €2
  • Agriturismi: €2
  • Campsites: €1 (up to 5 days)

So a couple staying three nights in a four-star room would pay an extra €18.

Some hotels have begun folding this tax into their quoted rates; others tack it on when you go to check out, so be prepared.

How long does Rome take?

Planning your day: Rome wasn't built in a day, and you'd be hard-pressed to see it in that brief a time as well. Still, you can cram a lot into just a day or three.

To help you get the most out of your limited time in the Eternal City, here are some perfect itineraries, whether you have one, two, three, or four days to spend in Rome. » Rome itineraries

Rome tours

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