Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1952: Real Rome, Vetrina Studio
studio apartment near Piazza Navona, Rome
October 2005, 5 nights
Location is excellent. Very close to Piazza Navona (less than 5 min. walk), so you are close to many major tourist attractions. We were able to walk every where (please keep in mind we are young and relatively healthy)!
There is a coffee shop right around the corner of the building. On the way to Piazza Navona, there are at least a half dozen restaurants (mostly Italian) and a few shops. Once in Piazza Navona, dining options increase even more. There is a small grocery store about 2 blocks away (very small blocks, unlike the ones in the US), and there is a "mini" supermarket about 15 min. away. There is also a bus stop about 10-15 min. (depending on how much luggage one is carrying) away for a bus that can take you right to the Termini.
We believe it's a typical older building in Rome (it was our first trip to Rome, so we have nothing to compare with). Both the exterior of the building and the interior of the apartment are fairly decent. Despite its good location, it's actually pretty quiet because it's on a smaller street off of Piazza Navona. The apartment is on the "3rd" floor, but there are 4 flights of stairs to climb. There are several other units within the building (not sure if they are vacation rentals as well).
There is a tiny, private balcony with a table and 2 chairs, but it offers no view as it is enclosed by other buildings.
While the apartment was very small (I really mean small), our first impression was that everything seemed to be in good conditions and well-kept.
Unfortunately, problems started during our first night. First, my wife started to complain about itchiness shortly after going to bed. I thought it was just a case of dry skin initially, so we ignored it. However, her itchiness worsened as the week progressed and I started to experience some itchiness myself after the second night. That's when we started to suspect the linens being the culprit. We then proceeded to "replace" the linens with our clean bath towels and that seemed to have provided some relief. After we checked out and arrived at Florence, we found speckles of red spots all over our legs (bedbugs, perhaps).
Besides the dirty linens (we were convinced it was the linens), the shower had problems draining. We ended up turning down the water to really low to avoid any potential for flooding the bathroom, which made showering challenging.
There was no bedroom as it was a studio, but the sofa bed (the only bed) was acceptable in terms of comfort (not in terms of cleanliness - see above for explanation). There was 1 bathroom and aside from the draining issue, it was fine.
There is a kitchen with some pots and pans as well as electric stovetops, but we didn't use it as we spent most of our time outside. Given the size of the studio, I would imagine one would have a difficult time preparing full meals (may be simple fixes are possible). There is a small refrigerator, too, which came in handy for us to chill beverages.
Problems or Bonuses
We expected the apartment to be small, so that was no surprise. However, the dirty linens and the shower drainage problem were surprise that convinced us to NOT recommend this apartment despite its excellent location. Bonus: AC was included in the price - no additional surcharge.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The entire booking process was handled by a lady who was very helpful throughout. From the initial inquiry to the final booking confirmation, everything was communicated via email. I don't remember who greeted us at check-in, but it was someone from Real Rome and he spoke good English. Frankly, I don't blame the agency for the above-mentioned problems. I believe it's the owner's responsibility to keep his/her apartment in good, clean conditions. Therefore, I won't hesitate to use Real Rome again in the future for a different apartment. I paid 450 euros (90 euros/night) for this rental.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I don't recommend this rental mainly because of the problems mentioned above (it really put a damper on our trip). However, even if the above problems are adequately addressed, one must need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of this apartment, namely size vs. cost, especially for someone who wants/needs more room. Its combination of location and price are undeniably unbeatable, I must admit!
Things to do in this area
One word: Gelato - there are several nearby and they are all good (try a different flavor each time)! Enjoy Rome.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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