Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 1957: Owner, Rome is Home
1bed/1bath apartment near Campo dei Fiori, Rome
January-February 2006, six weeks
In the absolute heart of centro storico Rome, on the via dei Chiavari. It's just a few hundred yards to the Campo dei Fiori, the Ghetto, Piazza Navona and the Campidoglio.
You can't get more Roman than this. You are 15 paces from one of the best bakeries in Rome (Antico Forno Roscioli) and a few yards from the Campo dei'Fiori and the market there. There's a supermercato around the corner, too, so all of your daily needs are met in either the traditional or modern Roman fashion. There are, quite literally, dozens of Rome's best dining rooms surrounding you.
A historic building built above Pompey's Theater that's in very fine shape. There's even an elevator, a rarity. There are several apartments in the building, of course, but it is very quiet and one rarely sees the neighbors. You feel like it's your building. The apartment itself is EXACTLY as described on the website. It is EXACTLY as wonderful as it claims to be.
No garden, but a wonderful bonus: Windows overlooking the rooftops of Rome, which makes the apartment both scenic and bright and airy. That is a spectacular advantage in the heart of Rome.
This apartment is the only one offered by the owners, Massimo and Biancamaria, and it was their personal apartment before they had a child and moved to a larger place. That means you have a very personal feeling to the place. This is not a generic rental, but someone's home that has fortuitously been turned into a rental. And everything is furnished in excellent taste, since the owners are creative people with very high standards. Everything is immaculate and Massimo and Biancamaria can arrange for a very reasonably priced cleaning service each week.
The bedroom is lovely with a comfortable, queen-sized platform bed, large closets, good lighting and a writing desk. It has one of the aforementioned windows that look out over the Roman rooftops. The tile-and-marble bathroom is spacious by Roman standards and offers a shower stall.
The kitchen offers two rarites, a full-size refrigerator/freezer and a four-burner stovetop. There's also an oven, too. So longer-stay renters can (and will) cook with great comfort. There are plenty of serving pieces and full tableware and utensils for four. Again, the advantage is that this is a rental that was once someone's home. There's no scrimping. There are two other amazing bonuses: a dishwasher and a washer-dryer. We never used the dishwasher, but my wife was delighted that she could wash and dry to her heart's content.
Problems or Bonuses
The best surprise are the owners, Massimo and Biancamaria (and their daughter, Delfina), themselves. We are frequent visitors to Rome and know the centro storico pretty well, but they brought us to places that we would never find ourselves. They do better than treat you as honored guests in their home: They take you into their family. That opens up vistas that you simply cannot glimpse no matter how often you come as a mere visitor.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Massimo and Biancamaria represent their own property. They help you with every step of the process, inquire about your needs and desires before you arrive, and truly work overtime to make you feel at home in Rome (Hence the name, I guess). They arranged for both our pickup and return to Fiumicino airport and their man was prompt and polite. As mentioned, they can also arrange for cleaning service. They seem to know everyone in the neighborhood and go out of their way to introduce you around.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
If you want to live like a Roman and have an instant extended family, this is the place for you. The only obvious qualification: Since they only have the one apartment, you should book far in advance and be flexible. It's worth rejiggering your plans if Massimo and Biancamaria can accommodate you. Would I book again? In a heartbeat. Would I recommend it to my best friend? I already have.
Things to do in this area
I have hundreds of restaurant and shop recommendations, but let me just offer one here: Ristorante Sant'Anna, which is just down two streets from the apartment. (Via Sant'Anna, between Via Monte Farina and Via Arenula.) I've never seen this place written about in an English-language guidebook. (It is recommended in La Repubblica's guide, however.) It is most definitely a place for locals, and frequented by locals. (If it is important to you, however, the waiters all speak surprisingly good English.) They specialize in fish. We ate there three nights and each dinner was better than the last. Why? Each night we relied more on what the waiters recommended. Just go and let the waiters suggest what he likes best from the specials that evening and you will eat very well. There is an excellent and fairly priced wine list. Nice desserts, too. Dinner for two, with a bottle of wine, will cost 60-80 euros, depending on the wine you choose and the market price of the available fish of the day.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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