Albergo del Sole al Biscione
The oldest inn in the city, in a rambling, ocher-washed 15th-century palazzo off lively Campo dei Fiori, is as authentically Roman a place to stay as you’ll find in this price range. Inside, the 60 rooms are European-basic, though not sterile, and feature antique dark-wood furniture, terracotta or terrazzo floors, and fluffy terry towels (a rarity in budget Italian hotels). The Sole’s major selling point, however, is its outdoor living space: the second-floor shady garden courtyard and fifth-floor sun-filled terrace are divine places to drink wine, write postcards, and chat with fellow travelers while the bells of Sant’Andrea della Valle (of Tosca fame) peal vigorously next door. There’s no Internet access, but all rooms have a telephone, and most have a small TV that gets Italian channels only.
Insider Tip: For breakfast (it’s not served at the Sole), head next door to Caffè dell’Arte for a cappuccino and pastry.
Room to Book: The fifth-floor doubles open onto a wide terrace and the dome of Sant’Andrea della Valle and have a much more private feel than the rest of the property. Otherwise, ask for a garden-facing room on the third or fourth floor; they’re brighter and quieter than those facing the street.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.