Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1347: Comfortitalia, Farnese I
2bed/2bath apartment near Campo de' Fiori, Rome
2005, 4 days
Farnese I is a lovely apartment located on the Piazza Farnese in the heart of Renaissance Rome. It is in an apartment building located across from the Palazzo Farnese, which was (in part) designed by Michelangelo and which has long served as the French Embassy. The area was ideal for a visitor to Rome. While I appreciated it very much during our stay, I didn't fully realize its unique charm and perfect location until we moved to a hotel later in our stay in Rome.
Farnese I is located right around the corner from the Campo di Fiori, which is the site of a daily market where fruit, vegetables and flowers of all kinds can be purchased. It is a few doors down from a fine bakery, and there are many restaurants nearby. Everything we needed -- from shops selling alarm clocks and electricity converters to tobacconists selling bus and metro tickets -- was right there. The convenience was fantastic.
We absolutely loved the apartment, which we occupied with our four teen-age children. When we walked in the door the first time with Prudence, who sent a car for us and met us at the door, we all gasped with delight. The decor was charming, with original art on the walls, a heavy Renaissance dining table, and a classical sculpted head in the hall by the first bathroom. The first night, my husband and I awoke at 4:00 a.m. and sat for a long time at the living room window, which overlooks the Palazzo Farnese. It was a magical moment -- we felt as if we had been whisked back to 1520 A.D. Since our return home, we've had a photo of the view from that window up on our computer as wallpaper.
While there is not a private sitting area outside the apartment, there is a little restaurant just a few meters away. My children sat in the restaurant's outdoor seating area during off-hours, and did the schoolwork they'd brought from home. They enjoyed the constant soft plash of the two fountains in the Piazza Farnese. We all enjoyed sitting in the window overlooking the piazza and watching the passing scene.
The apartment was very clean and in good shape. We met the cleaning person, who struck us as pleasant and extremely diligent. There were plenty of chairs, both in the living and dining rooms.
The beds were comfortable, though not new. The bedrooms were nicely decorated. The master bedroom had a large mirror and some interesting art on the wall. The bathrooms were very nice; one had better lighting around the mirror than the other. We had two teenage girls and a teen boy who loves long showers. The bathrooms were wholly sufficient for our needs.
The kitchen was well fitted-out. We never used it, though, as we wanted to sample as much Italian cooking as we could. (There was also a washing machine in the kitchen.) Though the unit is self-catering, there were coffee and tea in the cupboard. Prudence, who took us on an initial tour of the apartment, pointed out the Italian coffee-maker and charming ceramic coffee cups, which we used with relish every day.
Problems or Bonuses
Our entire experience at Farnese I was delightful. Prudence was extremely accommodating and helpful. She gave us her cell phone number so that we could call her with any requests or problems. I was expecting an important email message when I arrived, and Prudence allowed me to have it sent to her computer and then delivered it personally the next day. Before our trip began, I emailed Helen, who oversees rentals, with several questions about day trips from Rome, etc. Her responses were always helpful.
If I had to describe surprises, I would say that we were wonderfully pleased with both the evocative charm of Farnese I and its ideal location in the heart of historic Rome. We walked in 5 minutes to the Piazza Navona and 10 minutes to the Pantheon, and the next day walked in 20 minutes or so to the Forum and Colosseum. I was particularly surprised to find that Trastevere was a few minutes walk across the Tiber in yet a third direction. We had a wonderful evening at a restaurant there. Finally, we walked to St. Peter's and the Vatican Museums in 20 minutes on our third day. Obviously, a better location for sight-seeing cannot be imagined.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
As I've already noted, we were treated graciously and professionally throughout the booking process and our stay in Rome. Helen and Prudence are both native English speakers. The reality of Farnese I surpassed our expectations. In terms of price, we were very satisfied. Farnese I was less expensive for us than the two hotels where we stayed later in our trip -- we had to get two rooms at each. (We got something of a deal because we stayed at Farnese I less than a week.) I would recommend the apartment to any family that needs more than one hotel room.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would love to return to Rome and stay at Farnese I. It think that our visit to Rome would have been quite different, and far less magical, had we not stayed there during the first part of our trip. We learned about the apartment through a friend who had lived in Rome for some time. He recommended several hotels, but told us that the best choice -- if we could arrange it -- would be Farnese I. He was right.
Things to do in this area
Farnese I is in the heart of historic Rome. It would take years to do all that there is to do in its environs.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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