This guide to the best tattoo shops in Rome will help you seek out the ink parlors that are making waves in the Eternal City. Between the half-crumbled tops of Roman temples and the elaborate filigrees of the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, we go a-hunting for some of the top places that offer specialized body art and piercings, all so you can get that new design and not worry that things will go amiss.
We’ve tried to whittle it down to a just a handful of places, focusing in on the ones that have the best reviews in the Italian capital or tout something a little special to would-be patients. The result is a mix of pretty groundbreaking studios with talent from all around the globe, let alone some of the most high-flying local Italian artists working in the industry right now.
For convenience, we’ve also tried to limit our picks of the five best tattoo shops in Rome to the central areas of the town, or at least parts of the sprawling city that are relatively easy to reach on public transport. Remember, too, that these are the crème-de-la-crème of the tattoo art options in the town, so booking ahead for your session is always wise, particularly in the busiest summer season (May-September) when more travelers are in town.
Yama Tattoo is hidden between the happening blocks of Monti district, an unlikely hipster hub that bridges the gap from the workaday streets of the Termini area to the historic wonders of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Look for it wedged amid the osterias and wine bars of Via Urbana, one of the main walking streets in the neighborhood.
It’s a small and compact studio with a distinct direction to the art. The in-house design team is led by Welt, an artist that’s now well-known on the skin-ink scene in the Eternal City. His style takes a clear nod from the traditions of Far Eastern, Oriental art, with a particular focus on Japanese mysticism. There are also overtones of heavy metal artistry, horror motifs, and fantasy detailing.
Of course, the folks here do much more than just that. They get a steady through-flow of people searching for souvenir tats inspired by Rome and Italy more generally – think pizza slices and statue monochromes of the emperor Augustus. They also do plenty of music-themed tattoo pieces, particularly within the black metal and metal genres.
It’s always a good idea to book with Yama Tattoo ahead of time, since the Monti district is often bustling with life in the peak tourist months in Rome. That’s easy to do. Simply hop onto their website and reserve.
Aureo Roma Tattoo & Gallery
One part tattoo parlor, one part contemporary art gallery, Aureo Roma combines two strands of culture from its place in the thick of the culture-brimming Monti area. The location is just over 10 minutes’ walking north of the Colosseum, even less than that from the Roman Forum, and only 15 minutes from the babbling Trevi Fountain in the heart of medieval Rome. That means it should be a cinch to drop in here during your sightseeing romps around the capital.
The folks at Aureo Roma Tattoo & Gallery have been featured in a whole host of major travel and art publications, from Vice to BuzzFeed News, showcased for their exceptional service and unique focus on edgy artistic skin designs. The team is led by Alex Aureo, a seasoned celeb tattooist who’s worked with famous names in the ilk of Demi Lovato and Ben Hardy, along with a whole host of other VIPs in the film and music industries.
His work leans towards the heavily artistic and esoteric. It channels touches of photorealism and surrealism to create warped meanings that will get the viewer thinking for hours on end. Specialties include the use of animal motifs and symbolism, human forms, and pseudo-religious mural works, sometimes all at once in more complex undertakings.
Just as the name implies, there’s also an on-site art gallery at the Aureo Roma Tattoo & Gallery. That showcases regular photography and ink design works from both local and international artists. For tattoos, there’s no doubt you’ll have to book ahead here, since the team at Aureo are known as one of the most sought-after in the Eternal City.
Jay Lester Tattoo
Jay Lester Tattoo is one of the highest-rated parlors in the area of La Trastevere. That also happens to be one of the most alluring corners of the Eternal City for sightseers, offering a mix of winding cobbled lanes, charming bookshops, and enticing osteria wine bars that serve cheap Italian pastas. It’s just about the perfect place to base yourself for a city break, especially if you’re keen to get inked…
Mhmm…Jay Lester Tattoo can cover a real medley of different artistic styles. From monogram word art to typographic lettering, portrait works depicting well-known celebs to fantasy pieces entailing dragons and other mystical creatures, they have a wide repertoire. More than anything, though, past customers talk about the friendliness and efficiency of it all.
The studio itself is relatively small and compact. It beckons on the side of small Via della Paglia on the southern edge of La Trastevere, where it sits suitably between two cool local art and music workshops. The entranceway is decorated with a range of vintage motifs and touches of 1930s barbershop paraphernalia, with the moniker of Jay Lester emblazoned just above the door.
Eternal City Tattoo
Thanks to its location on the side of the snaking Tiber River right by the enthralling medieval core of Rome’s Centro Storico, Eternal City Tattoo has managed to gain a reputation as one of the finest walk-in parlors around. With the Spanish Steps on one side and the Vaticano on the other, along with a place on bustling Via Tomacelli, it sees a steady flow of ad hoc patrons that drop in without a booking or appointment.
As such, they tend to specialize in smaller, souvenir tattoos. That could mean a monochrome of an Italian olive branch, the outline of a da Vinci work, the silhouette of a Roman temple column – those sorts of things. The artists are well-versed in brainstorming and creating designs off the cuff, so don’t be afraid of paying a visit simply to fling a few ideas around.
On top of that, Eternal City Tattoo are regulars with football and sports tattoos, single-line tattoos, and geometric design tattoos. They’re ready to undertake any level of work, though it’s a good idea to consult on bigger projects like full sleeves or back portions well before your arrival in Italy. Smaller designs and pre-made tattoos can usually done at short notice, though that’s not 100% guaranteed in the peak summer season when the parlor is at its busiest.
Unopercento Tattoo Studio
The Unopercento Tattoo Studio is more of a local’s studio than the other picks on this list of the best tattoo shops in Rome. That’s largely down to the location – it’s in the area of Testaccio on the south side of the city, a district that’s famed for its nightlife and gastronomy but remains largely off the beaten track for visitors more set on the highlights of ancient and medieval Rome.
The overarching focus is on creating truly unique body art that’s not easily reproduced elsewhere. That means this one’s on just about the opposite side of the spectrum from the mainstream walk-in salons that dot the old heart of the capital. Instead, it’s small, compact, and personal, with more unusual and thoughtful styles on the menu.
The most remarkable of those is probably the in-house “brush calligraphy” that was designed by owner Francesco Cinti Piredda. That involves the use of free-hand brush strokes to create written ink patterns that resemble traditional Japanese and Asian writing, producing works that are 100% individual to the person they’re painted on.
The best tattoo shops in Rome – our conclusion
So, you’re on the hunt for the best tattoo shops in Rome? We can only discern that you’re planning on getting inked in the Eternal City of Italy. That’s actually a darn fine choice, since Rome has garnered something of a reputation as one of the skin-ink capitals of the continent. It’s riddled with well-rated studios that are run by acclaimed tattoo artists, some of whom have even worked with A-list celebrities and film stars in their time.
Our pick of the five best tattoo shops in Rome here runs the gamut from uber-famous establishments with jet-setter pedigree to more local options that are small and affordable. We’ve focused on places that have a good range of reviews (meaning over 4.5/5 stars on major review outlets) that also sit within easy access of the historic core of the city and the major tourist neighborhoods.