Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1846: Owner, Rome Is Home
1bed/1bath apartment near Campo dei Fiori, Rome
November 2005, 1 week
The apartment is located on the third floor of a lovely apartment building, with a lift, on Via dei Chiavari, between Corso Vittorio Emmanuel II and Via dei Guibbonari, close to the Campo dei'Fiori. The location is simply the best possible area to be in Rome, close to transportation and within walking distance of just about everything in the Centro Storico.
Around the corner from the apartment is a modern grocery store for items like paper towels and cleaning supplies or dry goods, milk, cereal, etc. But the main attraction for shopping is the Campo dei'Fiori, where, even on Sundays, you will find fresh and beautiful produce, meats, fish, cheeses, spices, pasta, rice - everything you could possibly want to fix a fresh and wonderful meal. If you like to market-shop and cook, this is the place to be in Rome.
Surrounding the Campo are various individual merchants, including some very fine bakeries for fresh breads and pastries. Without a doubt, the best of these is Antico Forno Marco Roscioli, where we bought a different loaf of bread every day and munched on their suberb pizza bianca and pizza marinara. They whack it off with a big knife, wrap it for you to eat right there or take away, and for less than two euro you are in carbohydrate heaven.
The Campo dei'Fiori area has some wonderful restaurants, though I must admit we cooked many of the nights we stayed there (it is hard to resist with such superb ingredients at your fingertips!). At Ristorante Arnoldo's, right downstairs, they are incredibly sweet and they know Massimo and Biancamaria, the owners of the apartment. My mother and I were completely charmed by Gianni, one of the waiters; we ate there on our first night and he told us we had to stop by again to say hello. "Everyone knows each other around here," he said, and we felt like we were now part of the neighborhood. For coffee, take a two-minute walk to Bar Farnese for the friendliest morning greeting and the best cappuccino and cornetti possible.
Because of the prime location, it is quite easy to venture out from the Campo area to dine in the Ghetto, near Piazza Navona or the Pantheon, or over the Tiber into Trastevere. Some of the city's best dining options are at your fingertips.
The apartment is in a historical buidling, sitting atop the site of Pompey's Theatre, a bit of history you will enjoy reading about on the wonderful Rome Is Home website. The apartment itself, however, is a charming blend of old and new; antique tables blend perfectly with modern lighting and shelving. The modern elevator is tiny, but effiicent; there are two apartments on each floor, and we never heard a peep from the neighbors or caught sight of them. One thing you will notice is the ceilings - wood-beamed and magnificent, and the floors, which were the most gorgeous glazed tiles I have ever seen.
The outdoors comes in through the huge, nearly floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and bedroom. The double-glazed glass shuts out the noise and you can enjoy a very peaceful sleep. In the summer, you can do as the Romans do to keep the apartment cool and utilize the shutters, inside and out, to block out the sunlight that streams in through. At night, open them up and gaze at the moon, positioned perfectly above the terra-cotta tiled rooftops. There are stars too - one of the unexpected pleasures of Rome; on a clear night Orion will keep you company. Sit in the armchair next to the window in the living room, look at the street below or the sky above, and you will never want to leave.
The dining table is large, antique and beautiful. The living room has two comfy chairs and a small, cushy sofa; there is a TV that gets excellent reception and lots of Italian channels. We appreciated the wonderful stereo for playing cassettes or CDs, or listening to the radio; you can listen to music that fills the apartment while you cook or dine or simply relax with some of the good books on the bookshelf.
The apartment itself is spotlessly clean, with plenty of storage as well. There is a drying rack for clothes, an iron and ironing board, a hair dryer, and plenty of table linens. The heat is easy to turn on and off, and the apartment warms up quickly on a chilly evening or morning.
The bed was large and extremely comfortable, with substantial linens and plenty of pillows, blankets and quilts. I bunked with my mom and we had plenty of sleeping space. There are two bedside tables with lamps and a large desk with a lamp that was perfect for my laptop. The two huge closets were impressive; I yearn for that kind of storage in New York. They each had a number of drawers built in and huge shelves overhead to store your luggage out of sight. The bathroom has one of the best showers I have experienced in Italy, with plenty of hot water and good, strong water pressure. The towels are large and fluffy; there are more than enough for two people.
The kitchen looks small, but don't be deceived; it is fully stocked and you can do some great cooking; there is no oven, but a small countertop toaster oven can heat take-away nicely. There is a dishwasher and washing maching too, the bonus is that it is also a dryer, which is very unusual for Italy apartments. I loved the sink, large and round, with an attached draining area. There is an American coffee maker, as well as two stovetop espresso pots and a french press. You can't help but fall in love with the large, bright yellow refrigerator, retro and completely charming.
Problems or Bonuses
The surprise was that you feel instantly as though this is YOUR home, that you have lived there forever, and that you will continue to live there forever. It makes leaving quite a sad shock! This is eased by the friendly driver that Massimo will arrange for your ride to the airport.
The other surprise was how one becomes completely absorbed into the community; you recognize the people walking the streets and the shopkeepers quickly recognize you as well. It feels entirely familiar after the first few hours; evening strolls become a way of life and early mornings in the Campo prepare you for your day. I was shocked by how much I was drawn to the immediate area - this was my first visit to Rome during which I was not compelled to roam far and wide throughout the city. The name of this apartment speaks the simple truth - Rome does become home.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Quite possibly the best amenity is the family that owns and rents this apartment, Massimo, Biancamaria and their adorable daughter Delfina. They are the friendliest, warmest and kindest people you can ever hope to meet anywhere. They speak excellent English, are intelligent, artistic, well-traveled and generous. It becomes immediately evident that you are indeed staying in their home, a place that they loved and treasured and are now sharing with you.
Our taxi arrival was disasterous (entirely my fault), and when we were late, Massimo was waiting for us in front of the building. From a distance he spotted me struggling with luggage that bumped down the cobbled street; he gathered us up and swept us into the building and apartment and all was instantly well. He thinks of all the little things you will need, like a charged cell phone with plenty of available talk time; he lovingly gives you a tour of his former home with understandable pride and sentiment. If Rome is your home, then these sweet people are your family. They are also entirely professional; Massimo will answer your inquiry as to price and availability quickly, and if you decide to book, the process of securing the apartment and providing the deposit is simple and quick.
Do read all of the information included on their terrific website; it is a valuable resource for your stay in Rome.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I recommend this apartment wholeheartedly, knowing that it may mean it will be booked when I next want to return! I stayed here with my mother, which says it all, and I would entrust Massimo with my best friends and the rest of my family, knowing that they will be well-cared for.
Things to do in this area
Be sure to visit the Campo every morning, even if it is just to buy some fruit for snacks; it will make you feel like part of the community. Antico Forno Marco Roscioli is another daily must; visit their enoteca/salumeria and restaurant at the end of the block as well. Head for Via Arenula and cross over into the Ghetto, and absorb the history that radiates from those ancient streets. Cross over the Ponte Garibalidi into Trastevere and visit that neighborhood's two fantastic churches, Santa Maria in Trastevere and Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Near the Campo, visit the Galleria Spada and be sure to wander into Sant'Andrea della Valle - a baroque church filled with artistic treasures. There is an internet point at the end of Via della Grotte, a five-minute walk away. Near Piazza Navona and the Italian Senate buidling, be sure to visit the French church, Chiesa San Luigi dei Francesi, to see Caravaggio's St. Matthew Cycle. Have cappuccino in the morning and apertivi in the evening at Bar Farnese. Eat at Arnoldo's to meet Gianni, the sweetest waiter in Rome.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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