STAYING in a Roman convent, monastery or other religious institution makes a tourist feel like a pilgrim. A few, such as the sedate Palazzo Cardinal Cesi, 51 Via della Conciliazione, 011-39-06-68-19-32-22, www.vaticanaccommodations.com, in a 15th century palazzo virtually next door to St. Peter's, have the amenities of a luxury hotel and are priced accordingly, about $200 and up. But most are modest places, with spotlessly clean, dorm-like accommodations, chapels and dining rooms frequented by the clergy, where there may be a curfew.
One is snug Fraterna Domus, 62 Via di Monte Brianzo, 011-39-06-68-80-27-27, in the maze-like medieval section of Rome near the Piazza Navona, with simply decorated doubles from $65, a family-style restaurant serving lunch and dinner for $14 and a 9th century church, Santa Lucia della Tinta.
My longtime favorite is the Casa di Santa Brigida, 96 Piazza Farnese, 011-39-06-68-89-25-96, www.brigidine.org, founded around 1400 and run by the Order of our Most Holy Savior of St. Bridget. It's on exquisite Renaissance Piazza Farnese and has 22 elegantly decorated rooms, all with private baths, air conditioning and telephones for $216 a night. If you want to stay in this gem, book far in advance because it fills up fast.
When bed-and-breakfasts started opening in Rome for the Roman Catholic Church Jubilee in 2000, I was doubtful, imagining rooms in dark Roman tenements.
Nothing could be further from the truth at Bed & Breakfast di Anna Manieri, 16 Piazza Trinita dei Monti, 011-39-06-67-94-288, overlooking the Spanish Steps. Its two doubles and mini-suite occupy the gracious apartment of a former dress designer originally from Philadelphia.
It's being renovated and is scheduled to reopen in June. The doubles cost about $192 a night, with private baths, breakfast and a two-night minimum stay, and the building has entrances at both the Piazza Trinita dei Monti and the Rampa di Piazza di Spagna, providing an easy shortcut to the top of the Spanish Steps.
-- Susan Spano