Rome hotels are expensive. As I was looking for an economical way to stay there for 4 nights, my friend, who had lived in Italy suggested staying at a convent. Many convents rent rooms to tourists for a reasonable price, and most include breakfast. That is what her family of 8 did, and not only did they save a few bucks, they got a little taste of culture, too. She recommended Fraterna Domus, near the Vatican. The nuns were very friendly, kind and helpful, the rooms clean and comfortable. If you stay at a convent, however, be sure to ask about curfews. Some of the convents have curfews, and it would be a real bummer to get locked out for the night!
My husband, daughter and I could not get a reservation at Fraterna Domus, but we found another hotel run by nuns (not a convent) in a good location in Rome. We were glad that we did not stay near the Vatican because most of our sightseeing took place in and around Rome–not close to the Vatican. We stayed at Albergo Giusti (www.hotelgiusti.com). We also found it to be a pleasant place to stay, convenient to many of the popular tourist sites, with a clean, relatively spacious room with a private bath. The room only had twin beds and was sparsely decorated (it IS a hotel run by nuns, after all!), but we were hardly there except to sleep and shower. Breakfast was included, though it was somewhat meager–plain bread, yogurt, some packaged pastries and fruit juice. Still, it served our purposes, and the nuns were more than helpful in giving directions and/or recommendations for restaurants, bus routes, and anything else we needed. It was well worth the 120 euros per night during peak season (for 3 people).
For a list of convents that rent rooms, go to:www.santasusanna.org This website is run by an American Catholic diocese in Rome.
For accommodations at authentic monasteries or convents throughout Italy, try: www.monasterystays.com