Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1051: Flat in Rome, Flat in Rome
1 bed/1bath apartment outside of the center, Ponte Galeria, Lazio
July 24-30, 2004, 1 week
This apartment is located in Ponte Galeria, a small suburb town outside of Rome just off the road to the Fiumicino Airport. It is located within about 15 minutes by car (less by train) of this airport. It is a corner house on a four-lane road that is currently quite busy with commercial and commuter traffic. So, inside the house it is very quiet, but once you open the doors there is quie a bit of noise. Underneath the flat is a pizzeria, which is also a source of some noise and heat, but I have to admit I was not bothered by the location. I would say it is less private, particularly when you are on the balcony. But once inside, you can cut off the world from you with heavy french doors and thick, metal door shutters.
You can walk to small grocery stores nearby or drive to larger, cheaper ones within 5-15 minutes by car. Downstairs there is a pizzeria that sells pizza by the slice, salads, and beverages, as well as an Optic/Foto shop where you can buy glasses or get your digital pictures downloaded by the friendly guy there for a good price! Nearby there is a bar, a pastry/ice cream shop, a gas station and a post office (across the road in front of the flat). I think there is more, but we didn't explore too much. The train station which leads to Rome Trastevere or Roma Ostiense is just across the busy road. It takes about 3 minutes to walk there, buy your ticket in the Tabac/Bar and get on the train. Quite convenient, I would say.
The building is new, constructed in 2002. It was in very good shape and it was commfortable. There are about 4 apartments in the building. The owner of Flat in Rome has two apartments for rent, one above the other. (We were in the first floor one, not the second floor one). There is a walled off entry and parking area. A sweet cat lives in the parking area and likes to guard your car. The pizzeria is in the same building, but has a completely separate entryway.
There is a large L-shaped balcony or two balconies facing different directions, I cannot remember the exact details. There is no garden and no views of a garden. No other amenities except a washing machine in a closet on the balcony. We didn't sit out there because there was no patio furniture. It is also on the noisier side, so probably not a great place to have a relaxing or romantic dinner.
The furniture is Ikea style, about two years old (2002) and in good shape. In the main room (kitchen, sofa bed and dining room) were 4 chairs and a futon sofa seating 2-3 people. The kitchen was fully equipped. There is no dishwasher, but everything else you would need to make a full meal. The only thing really lacking was some more counter space to do work or to stack dishes that were drying. I found the furniture and layout comfortable, although for three persons, it is a bit cozy in there. As I have said in other reviews, cleanliness is priority #1 for me and I found no problems here. There were a couple of smashed mosquitos on the wall, but I told the cleaner when checking out, so maybe they have been scrubbed off.
I slept in the bedroom, where there is a queen size bed (roughly). I found it comfortable enough. There were four pillows, two each of two different kinds, so I fond the right combination for my sleeping habits and comfort. The bedorom is cozy - there is a dresser with a television, a small corner closet and a bookshelf/mantel above the bed with two small reading lamps. I felt very at home in the bedroom. Again, the style is contemporary Ikea furniture.
The bathroom was in good condition. You have a small dressing stand, a freestanding sink, mirror with medicine cabinet, toilet and shower with curtain (and it is raised and lipped). A little water came out of the shower by the bathroom door when showering, but we used an extra towel to catch it. Linens are not included in the price, by the way. They cost 15 dollars per person, but are well laundered and nicely presented.
The kitchen, as said above, was usable. There were plenty of pots, pans, bowls, utensils, strainers, graters, knives, cutting boards, etc. The fridge was spacious and clean. There was a good sized freezer as well, with ice cube trays. he only thing lacking was a bit more counter space to prepare food and to dry dishes. I just compormised by laying a cutting board over the range or on the round dining room table behind the work space. There is even a microwave and some basic ingredients. Massimo leaves you a small welcome kit - a package of spaghetti and some nice tomato sauce. Oil and salt and so on were still there from previous guests. Yes, you can cook full meals.
Problems or Bonuses
Surprises: 1. The street out to the left was a bit noisier and grubbier than I expected. This wasn't a purely residential area. I didn't get this impression from the website, quote "for a relaxing break from the crowded city center roads and hotels." Okay, it wasn't crowded out there, but there was significant hustle and bustle. So I was a bit surprised. Saying that, though, I didn't ever feel scared or upset about the location. I just went into town for the nice views and didn't hang out on the balcony for them.
2. There were a lot of mosquitos! We really had to combat them and I got lots of bites, despite using the plug-in things... They weren't loud and buzzing kinds (I wouldn't have slept if they were), but they had voracious appetites, and after a week I looked a bit like I had been thrown into the jungle naked and rubbed in marinade.
3. The last train back into Ponte Galeria from Rome is at 10:55 PM. Massimo had put this on his information sheet for visitors, but we hadn't noticed and, thus, had to get a cab home one night after missing the train by five minutes.... Good thing we didn't plan to stay out too late on too many nights. This might be a problem for some people who like to go out on the town.
4. Massimo left us some very nice marketing gadgets - a Flat in Rome umbrella, neck-keychain thing, pens and other stuff, along with a welcome kit of spaghetti and sauce. We also got two discount cards to eat at the pizzeria below and another restuarant near the flat. He was very well organized, had really thought out everything. Another helpful piece was the information sheet on which he described where to get food, train tickets, how much to pay, etc. And finally, for visitor usage, he has a Lonely Planet Rome guide and a good public transport map in the flat.
5. The additional costs: linens, electricity and gas, were no surprise as they are listed on the website. I was, however, a bit surprised at the cost of the air conditioning. At 2 euros per KW, we had to be very careful about when and how long to put the airconditioner on. In fact, I checked the meter the first day, and we had used 10 KW already! You do the math. So I was a bit more careful the other evenings...
6. There is a darling, sweet kitty that lives in the Parking lot. She always greeted us when we came and went. We wanted to take her home so bad... she needs lots of love and attention. She was a little bonus. So if you like cats, you will love the touch she adds to the place.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Massimo, the owner, is great - he is reasonable, organized, easy to contact and easy to communicate with. His English is superb and he has experience dealing with foreigners in his job and free time. The website was helpful - there were good driving directions and pertinent details. Massimo, for example, even offers cellphone, extra cleaning and babysitting services, should you need them. The photos on the site were accurate and the place was even a bit nicer than I expected. The surroundings, however, were a bit uglier than I had expected, but I was not put off by it. Above all, Massimo is very friendly and provides good customer service.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would recommend this place to someone who has the same interests and travelling style as I do. I liked and chose this place for the following reasons:
1. Price and quality ratio. 2. Safe parking place for my car at no extra charge. 3. Location. We wanted to go to Ostia Antica (10 minutes away), have easy access to highways so we could do more around Lazio, and needed to get one person to and from Fiumicino. Finally, we wanted a convenient connection to the city, which Ponte Galeria and this flat certainly has. 4. Cleanliness. I was very satisfied with the level of cleanliness and I am a picky person! I cannot handle living in other people's filth... This place is newer and gets good weekly cleanings by another person - not the owner. So I was happy. 5. I thought Massimo was a very reasonable and easy person to deal with. He even helped me locate a repair shop for my car, should I want to get some work done that I enquired about.
I would not recommend this to someone who wants to be in the center of Rome, who wants to stay out past 11 PM, or to someone who wants to have luxuries and a romantic location/beautiful view. There is no romance about the place, but it is comfortable, modern and convenient.
Things to do in this area
I would suggest doing daytrips to Ostia Antica and other towns in Lazio: Tivoli, Palestrina, the Etruscan towns up north... I would use the train to go into Rome to do daytrips, too. You can get off at Trastevere and then get the tram 8 straight up to Largo di Torre Argentina, where you should definitely visit and support the cats of the cat sanctuary there. (You will save money with the flat - use it to support a good cause!) Or you can ride into Roma Ostiense/Pyramide and then catch the B line up to the Colosseum or Termini... The cost of the metro is very low - about 2-4 Euros per day.
We did not eat at any restaurants in the area, except the pizzeria below, which is more of a convenience meal when you are too tired to cook.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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