Compared to the hectic city center, the neighborhood of Ripa feels unhurried and peaceful to such an extent that you might feel as though you've left Rome altogether. However, the heart of the city is only a 30-minute walk away – or less if you take public transport – and neighboring Trastevere is only a stroll across the River Tiber. This predominantly residential neighborhood has a pleasant, small town feel to it that you'd be hard-pushed to find elsewhere in the relative center of Rome – think green, open spaces, charismatic shop owners, pretty churches and plenty of sleepy cafes and restaurants. You don't stay in Ripa for nightclubs and luxury brands; you stay in Ripa because you want to get a taste of history and local life in Rome and yet still feel well-connected to the rest of the city. That's not to say that Ripa doesn't have its own fair share of sites and attractions, however. Circus Maximus, anyone? That's right, Ripa is home to the ruins of that most famous of chariot racing stadiums – the first and largest in ancient Rome. And there's more: Aventine Hill, where the neighborhood is located, is one of ancient Rome's original Seven Hills. The views of the rest of the city are just fantastic.