PHOTOS: Best-Kept Secrets of Rome

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While some people come to Italy to revel in the ancient, the proprietors of Seven Kings Relais are more interested in the recent past. The hotel wears its fashion sense proudly, with 1960s details like floral wallpaper, a baroque-style sofa done up in pink, and a contemporary espresso bar right in the lobby.
— Aya Brackett
Hotel staff are more than happy to dispense tips on navigating the local Metro stops and bus routes, the 15-minute walk to the Spanish Steps, where to indulge your shopping urges, and the best places to find delicious meals alongside locals.
— Aya Brackett
If you prefer lodgings with a little history, the Casa di Santa Francesca Romana is named for the saint credited with performing miracles here in the 15th century. A decidedly modern miracle is that this place, situated in the charming Trastevere district near upscale shops, dining, and the legendary Porta Portese Flea Market, comes without sticker shock.
— Aya Brackett
Enjoy your complimentary breakfast amid the orange trees of the interior courtyard and pay a visit to the beautiful little chapel. When you’re ready to explore the neighborhood and beyond, ask the friendly staff for their tips.
— Aya Brackett
Once inside the circa-1900 building’s luxurious wood-and-brass doors of the Mecenate Rooms, you’ll be warmly welcomed to views of the iconic arena, coupons for breakfast at local cafés, and one of four surprisingly spacious rooms.
— Aya Brackett
Sure, you may be one of the 30 million travelers who descend upon Rome each year, but that doesn’t mean you have to live like a tourist. Your lodgings are an apartment (No. 79) in a quiet part of town that’s just a five-minute walk to the Colosseum.
— Aya Brackett
The 10-room Relais Palazzo Taverna used to be stables dating back to the 15th century. Their conversion into a hotel is the loving work of a family of art lovers that includes a Venetian art expert from Christie’s. When you’re not exploring nearby Piazza Navona and other Roman delights, savor the dramatic black-and-white damask wallpaper from England and the Japanese printed paper, not to mention the massive 500-year-old beams original to the stables.
— Aya Brackett
You’ll be just off a street lined with antiques stores that leads straight to the piazza... if you can drag yourself away from the pastries and cappuccino delivered right to your door each morning.
— Aya Brackett
Good taste is on display everywhere you look at Le Stanze Di Orazio, from the Philippe Starck lamps to the lovely striped fabrics for the curtains to the original floor tiles.
— Aya Brackett
Just 10 blocks from the Vatican, this five-room hotel was launched in 2011 by a proprietor with a passion for art history. Ask for personalized itineraries and hand-drawn maps, and be prepared to be treated like family—in a good way.
— Aya Brackett
Yes, the streets are lined with embassies and mansions, but inside Suite Oriani, a 1929 Art Nouveau villa at No. 92 Via Barnaba Oriani, you’ll find five rooms filled with antiques like Tiffany-style glass lamps and ornate chairs that can be all yours for a song.
— Aya Brackett
In warm weather, a generous breakfast spread of meats and cheeses, homemade jams, yogurt, and fresh fruit is served in the garden’s umbrella-shaded outdoor living room.
— Aya Brackett
Arriving at Torreta De' Massimi might make you think you’re dreaming. The 12th-century tower—which has been transformed into a suite of rooms spread over four floors, with a kitchen and a living room at the bottom and two bedrooms at the top—looks too much like a fable to be true.
— Aya Brackett
The fact that a prince, and a very charming one at that, hands over the keys adds to the surreal feel. But the place does exist, hidden within 350 acres of park-like greenery in the humble La Pisana neighborhood of Rome’s southwestern fringes.
— Aya Brackett

Here's your chance to be the ultimate Italy insider, with gorgeously affordable, off-the-beaten-path lodgings just steps from some of the Eternal City's hottest attractions and tastiest restaurants.

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