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Colosseo: Convent Casa Il Rosario

Via S. Agata dei Goti, Phone: 06.679.2346

Reviewed by: CShock from MI, review #2308

When: May 2008

While my first stay at Casa Il Rosario was exemplary, my second stay was not without a few problems.

The issues did not have to do with the sisters who manage the convent accommodations themselves, but with the room that I was given. By the end of my stay, most of the problems were resolved; however, they still put a damper on my comfort level. That said, the next time I plan to visit Rome, I will make sure that I ask to be put in a room facing the courtyard, which I already knew to do, and definitely not in the room number 1-2 on the ground floor.

First of all, I am a budget traveler, and the Il Rosario is definitely an accommodation for budget-minded travelers. I was never looking for anything above a roof over my head, a shower, and a place to take the occasional break from the afternoon heat.

My stay in Rome was for six days overall. I booked two single (room) nights and then four days double (room) for the remainder of the period because my stepmother was joining me from the U.S. Sister Martha showed me to a door on the ground floor that was past the elevator and near the convent kitchens. This must be their handicap accessible room. It had one main entry which opened into an estimated 6x6 entranceway with three doors. The door on the right opened to a twin bedded room with a closet, a desk with phone, an ottoman, and one small vertical window facing the ground floor common area.

The middle door was the bathroom. I did not find out what the third door was, but if it was another room, this definitely would have been a shared bathroom. The bathroom was very outdated even for handicap accessible. The shower drain smelled very bad and there was some black-looking mold near the ceiling. The white tiles on both the walls and floor needed to be re-grouted. There was a hairdryer, but it did not work at the time of my stay. It is my understanding that the other bathrooms which are shared do have operational hairdryers.

For me, the difficult part of the bathroom being outside the room was the heaviness of the bathroom door. And in addition, it also had an automatic closer. I have a bad back and every time I had to swing open up that heavy door, which was often, it was like moving a giant boulder. Therefore, for the remainder of our stay, we kept it propped open with the ottoman.

The most dramatic change from my first stay was the garden. The palm tree had been cut down and many of the perennial flowering bushes had been pulled up and replaced with a few rose bushes. There were no colorful annuals planted and it looked a little barren. Therefore on this trip, I did not spend much time out in the garden due to the lack of shade.

For whatever the reason, our room was missing the table fan. And even though I requested one everyday by writing it down in Italian, one was not provided until the fourth day. I assumed that they did not have any extra fans in the convent to give me. However, after I received it, I was very content. In fact, I could have kissed that sister!

Next time, I may request a room on the third floor because there are now air conditioners! Perhaps they are planning to put them throughout the convent, but I did not ask.

None of these issues bothered my stepmother who was just happy since it was her first visit to Italy. Her only problem had to do with walking up all the hills!

Needless to say, for me anyway, the benefits outweighed the problems. We were close to the subway and bus hubs. Fortunately for us, we had a three day “Roma Pass,” so coming and going was both inexpensive and convenient. In addition to transportation, it also allowed us two free museum entrances. I’ll never visit Rome without that card again!

The sisters had maps of the historical center available at the front desk, so planning out our sightseeing routes were easy. We could look up museum and restaurant hours on the computer which was located in one of the rooms near the front desk. There were also a few guide books located next to the computer booth. In the same room there is also a pay phone and a new vending machine which dispenses hot drinks. Snacks and water have always been available, but this was a welcome addition.

There were plenty of cafés, restaurants, stores, and bancomats located nearby. In fact, my favorite place for a delicious but inexpensive take-away lunch was at “Pizza e Mortadella” on Via Cavour just west of Via dei Serpenti. They not only carry pizza and sandwiches, but they also host a bakery, deli, wine and other convenience store items.

Then, one block to the east on Cavour, there was even a new “Euro City” on Cavour where we purchased cups, napkins, and paper plates for our "Pizza e Mortadella" picnics near the Colosseo and Circo Massimo.

In May of 2008, I paid €52 each night as a single and we paid €90 for the double accommodation after my stepmother arrived. As I stated previously, I would stay here again, but I will make sure that I request another room facing the courtyard, and NOT room number 001-002!

Reviewed by: Bob V from MI, review #2037

When: August 2007

A nice basic place, great location.

We enjoyed our stay at Il Rosario. It was a nice, clean basic place to stay in a good location. (The other reviews posted are accurate & were very helpful.) Our rooms on the 3rd floor had air conditioning units that helped with the August heat.

Our stay in Rome was great. We had only one bad experience - we exchanged money at a place on Via Nationale that charged a 17% commission. (Go to a bank or use an ATM card!)

Reviewed by: CShock from MI, review #1537

When: June 2006

As I first stepped in, an Australian guest greeted me asking if this was my first visit. I said yes, she told me I would really like it. She was absolutely right.

Garden of Casa Il Rosario, photo by CShock

The Casa Il Rosario is on Via Sant'Agata dei Goti, which is a quiet side street located between the ruins of Trajan's Market and Via del Serpenti. It turned out to be a wonderful location for my first trip to Rome. I could walk three blocks in any direction and be in the presence of either the Colosseum, Trajan's Column, or the Roman Forum.

Despite the quietness of the immediate neighborhood, there is no shortage of nearby alimentari, restaurants, or caffès. Every day I found it a great treat to walk around the corner to "Antio Caffè del Brasile" on the west side of via del Serpenti for my caffiene fix. For one euro, I received an outstanding cup of cappuccino and I was able to witness some very professional baristi.

The Instituto Il Rosario is administered by a Dominican order of nuns. Only one of the sisters, Martha, spoke any English. Once inside, not only do you receive a warm welcome from the staff, but you can't help but notice the light coming from the inner courtyard. On the ground floor there is a reception area, a breakfast room, a small elevator, and a tiny media room off the front hall where you can check your email or make a phone call.

Although it is posted that you should make your own bed and keep your room neat, the staff came in each day to mop the floor, empty the trash and replace the towels. The whole casa was exceptional clean. What I found amazing was their marble floors were so shiny that they looked like glass.

My single room (#215) was located on the third floor with a great view of the courtyard and the gardens above it. Like many of the other guests at Casa Il Rosario, I took full advantage of the shared terrace and gardens. I usually spent the evenings writing in my travel journal or watching the coy swim around in the grotto. There were even a few guests who enjoyed a pizza and a bottle of wine underneath the giant palm tree.

When I arrived I was given a single room with a bathroom for 48 euros per night. It is my understanding that the Il Rosario has several room options for singles, couples, or families. My room was plain with a small twin bed, an osculating fan, a desk and a chair. The bathroom was small, but adequate, and there was always plenty of hot water. Surprisingly, though, this room had plenty of locked storage cabinets built into the wall.

The sisters serve a very nice breakfast to their guests. There were rolls, jelly, cheese, cereal, milk, juice, and they even have a commercial style cappuccino machine that you can use with a push of a button.

During the daytime hours, the casa always has a representative at the desk to let you in through the front security doors. Some people might find this bothersome, but I found it to be comforting. Furthermore, the convent insists that you are in by 11 pm and the front doors do not open up again until 6 am. Fortunately for me, the sisters did accommodate me when I had to leave the convent at 5 am for my flight back to the USA.

In February, I used the email address irodopre@tin.it to request a room from the Casa Il Rosario and sister Martha responded within 24 hours. Within a few days I had my reservation confirmed, and what is more, they didn't require any deposit money.

I recommend Casa Il Rosario.

Reviewed by: terri from CA, review #1324

When: September 2005

Great accommodation but very basic. Wonderful fresh breakfast.

I liked staying at this convent. The location is central to most sightseeing - if you like walking.

Since I was traveling by myself I had a single with bathroom. The linens are spotless but don't expect soft sheets or towels. It is very quiet at night. There was plenty of hot water for the shower in the morning.

The nuns were all very nice and spoke basic English (although I communicated with them in basic Italian). The neighborhood is very enjoyable, a piazza a block away with restaurants, coffee and gelato places nearby. I walked to the Colosseum, the Vatican, Gianicolo/Trastevere and to the train station from here.

They have freshly baked rolls and homemade yogurt (plus cereal, granola, etc.) for breakfast.

Reviewed by: janepost from Thailand, review #939

When: April 2005

The nuns in this convent have traveled, so they really know what travelers need.

I stayed for three nights during the mourning period of the Pope John Paul II. Casa Il Rosario honored my reservation, while some other hotels, I’ve heard, raised their prices because everyone wanted to be in Rome to witness history.

The price for a single room without bathroom was €38. I had room 213, overlooking the courtyard. Overall it was a peaceful place. The bathroom is only two doors away and nobody seemed to use it so I never had to queue up. The shower facilities were good. Two towels provided per day, not per stay. The place is quite clean. There’s an elevator.

The convent is in a small lane. I made much effort in looking for the place. First timers should head to the nearby Via Serpenti, look for a fountain in a piazza, go into the small lane opposite the fountain/piazza, and you’ll see Via Saint Agata dei Goti on your right. You can get confused if you try to reach the place directly from the main streets - Via Cavour or Via Nazionle.

For everyone, the location is good for walking to Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Piazza Venezia. For walkers, me included, it’s easy to get to Trastevere, the Vatican, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, Spanish Steps, Trevi, Via del Corso, Via Condotti and Piazza del Popolo. I didn't try walking to Santa Maria della Vittoria, the National Museum of Rome, or the Borghese Gallery. I took the metro but I think it’s also possible to walk there.

There’re many restaurants, souvenir shops, groceries, and two internet cafes and international call service operators in the area.

The sisters don’t deal much with travelers. There are approximately three ladies who take care of check-ins and check-outs and calling cabs for travelers. They understand both French and Italian but will reply to you in Italian. Some sisters speak good English.

The breakfast is very impressive: one or two types of bread, two choices of juice, three options of cereal, four of nutellas and syrups, five of jams, as well as cheese, fresh milk, yoghurt, latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate, and a couple of other items. Breakfast hours are longer than in other convents (7.15-9.00).

I believed what people said about Rome (rude people, thieves’ Promised Land, etc.) but I was so lucky because I did not encounter such experiences. Just one boy tried to "help" me with buying metro tickets from the machine, and demanded one euro for one ticket bought. And the Palatine Hill staff yelled at me to go buy the ticket at another booth. Overall, people were very nice. People started up conversation with me. They were very helpful. 11pm Curfew. Convent email: irodopre@tin.it

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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