Traveling has always been one of my passions. I love the excitement of seeing new places and the thrill of experiencing different cultures.
If you've ever been to Rome, or are planning a trip to the Eternal City, then you know how expensive accommodations can be. A unique alternative to the traditional hotel or B&B is to stay in one of the many convents or monasteries located in Rome. We stumbled onto this a few years ago while planning our first trip to Italy, and while we were a little skeptical at first, we very quickly realized that we were on to something. We used the Santa Susanna website as a source, and in short order, we were communicating with various convents about availability.
Please note that the Santa Susanna website has recently gone offline and does not appear to be a resource for finding contact information for convents and monasteries in Rome. However, if you Google "convent stays in Rome" you should find a few websites to assist you.
Villa Rosa Convent
On that first trip in 2009, we stayed at the Villa Rosa Convent which is located in a quiet area of Rome not far from the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. As you can see from the pictures the rooms are very large, have high ceilings and are impeccably clean.
This convent is run by the Dominican Sisters and Sr. Christina who takes care of the reservations speaks excellent English. The convent offers a simple breakfast and has kitchen facilities that can be used to prepare or store your own food. Sister Christina is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Rome and can offer advice and suggestions to aid you while touring the city. There is a bus stop located directly across the street from the convent which makes getting around the city very easy. While some of the convents in Rome will have a curfew, the Villa Rosa does not and simply asks that you respect the other guests when coming and going. All in all, it was a great experience, and for 90 euros per night is a great value.
Piccole Suore Della Sacra Famiglia
As those of you who have traveled to Italy can attest, it can become very addicting. And so after arriving home from our first trip to Italy we immediately began planning to return. Our second trip took us to the Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia, Casa Di Accoglienza Paolo VI Convent (say that three times quickly) conveniently located right across the street from the Vatican Museum entrance. Once again the rooms were large, impeccably clean and also had air conditioning which can be a great asset if traveling to Rome in the summer.
While the Sisters here do not speak English please do not let that stop you as they will figure out how to communicate with you and will most likely entertain you while you are checking in. This convent does not offer breakfast but does have a small kitchen area that can be used to store and prepare meals. There is also a cafe and a supermarket located right around the corner which was convenient.
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The grounds of the Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia are very well kept and there is a very large patio located in the back of the convent that is great for just sitting and relaxing. The metro and bus stops are a 5-10 minute walk from the convent and if you are in Rome to see the Vatican then you are a five-minute walk from St. Peters Square and literally right across the street from the Vatican Museum entrance. We stayed at this convent in September of 2010, and the cost was an unbelievable 60 euros per night for the room. I don't know how you can do better than this in Rome for clean, safe, air-conditioned accommodations.
As most of the convents and monasteries do not maintain a website, the best way to contact them is through e-mail or to call them directly. Try using Google or some of the travel forums such as Fodors or Frommers for help in finding phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Our experience with this has been very positive, and they are usually quick to reply to inquiries.
I should add that both of the convents that we stayed in had elevators, which may or may not be an issue for you. Just be sure to inquire if this is important to you. Also, make sure you ask about curfews as some of them have a curfew as early as 10 pm. The Villa Rosa did not have a curfew and the Piccole Suore had a midnight curfew.
Hopefully, on your next trip to Italy, you will look into staying in a convent or monastery. They are located all over Europe and offer an economical, unique experience that's a little bit off the beaten path.
Ciao for now.
Villa Rosa E-mail:
Piccole Suore della Sacra Famiglia, Casa Di Accoglienza Paolo VI E-mail: