Updated: Jan 19, 2020
We've stayed in luxurious historical convents and monasteries on previous trips to Europe and South America, but we've never tried a working convent. We decided to use Monastery Stays, a site which offers dozens of options throughout Italy, for our budget visit of two nights in Rome. We weren't disappointed and you won't be either when you see how affordable pricey Rome can be when you go off the beaten path to a convent. The cost was only 100 Euros a night for two people and a light breakfast was included as well as free WiFi.
The Colosseum is just down the street from the convent.
Wanting to save some extra money after splurging in Sardinia, we decided to take the bus from the Rome airport into the heart of the city. The ride was comfortable and only 6 Euros each. We were dropped off at the central train station and were happy to see that the walk to the Casa Santa Sofia was all downhill and only took us 10 minutes. We were off and running on our budget stay. The convent is located in the trendy Monti neighborhood, just steps away from the Colosseum, the Church of St. Peter in Chains (with its famous statue of Moses by Michelangelo), the infamous Borgia Stairs and the Roman Forum.
Trajan's Market was just a five minute walk from our "convent."
The spooky Borgia Stairs are a block away. Juan Borgia is said to have been murdered here in the Middle Ages.
Michelangelo's Moses is at the nearby Church of St. Peter in Chains.
Saint Peter's chains attract many worshipers to his namesake church.
The view from our window
The entrance to Casa Santa Sofia
Although it is operated by nuns, the Casa Santa Sofia isn't technically a convent. It is a guest house run by Ukrainian sisters of the order of Saint Anne. Their mission is to host pilgrims or travelers from around the world who are willing to adhere to their rules. We found the regulations very easy to follow. Although the front door is locked at 11 p.m., there is really no curfew as every visitor is given the electronic pass code to unlock the door at any time of night. Visitors are asked to dress respectfully, but shorts, jeans and t-shirts are absolutely o.k. The nuns who man the front desk were friendly and welcoming. The rules said that quiet was to be respected, but we found the atmosphere cheerful and lively. If you want a noisy atmosphere, you can step into the piazza right outside the front door. It was filled with restaurants and the noise level was high all day and for much of the night. Luckily, the Casa Santa Sofia has soundproof windows so sleeping is easy even in the heart of the action. Breakfast is simple - cornettos (Italian croissants) and other pastries, toast, juices and coffee.
The breakfast room is clean and bright.
The beds were comfortable and we had free air conditioning. That's not always the case in Rome.