Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2008: Owner, Rome is Home
1bed/1bath apartment near Campo dei Fiori, Rome
April 2006, One week
The apartment is in the best possible location! Just south of Piazza Navona and the Pantheon and only steps from Campo dei Fiori, you are never more than five minutes from the most popular attractions. However, you are also in a real neighborhood, with friendly neighbors and storekeepers, and businesses such as bakeries, cafes, restaurants, clothing stores, etc. only a few yards away. Yet the apartment, three floors above the street, is an oasis of calm the moment you enter the door.
There is absolutely no need for a car, nor could you find anywhere to park one. Restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, grocery store, bakery, ATM - everything was within 10 steps (really!) to two blocks away.
The building is beautiful, one of the loveliest in the area. The hallways and steps are marble and spotlessly clean, the building historical, but the little elevator (two people max)is modern and a Godsend after a long day of walking. There appear to be 9 or 10 apartments, two or three to each floor. Although we occasionally came across another resident (always friendly and welcoming), we never heard any other noises in the building.
The apartment is bright due to the large windows, and plenty of room for two to three people. When you enter the door you are in a hallway which after a couple of yards opens up to the dining area and living room. The kitchen is then behind you. The large bedroom (with two wardrobes, a desk and chair, and end tables) includes a large queen or small king bed (VERY comfortable) and has a door to the bathroom, which can also be entered from the living room. The bathroom is also large, with a shower stall of normal European dimensions (a little smaller than American).
I'm sure it was operator error, but I could never get the water temperature right - it would either turn too hot or too cold as I was standing under it. So I resorted to taking "Navy showers." For those of you who didn't spend time in the Navy, that term means you wet your hair and body, turn the water off, shampoo and soap up, then turn the water back on and rinse. Doing this with the hand-held shower worked fine for me. And by the way, the type of shower most people take, standing under a running shower head, is called a "Hollywood shower" in the Navy!
No gardens or outside sitting areas on the third floor. However, having the living room and/or bedroom windows wide open to hear the church bells and everyday living noises was just as good.
The furniture was comfortable and in fine condition and the apartment was spotlessly clean when we arrived. There are four chairs at the dining room table, and a leaf to make the table larger. There is a small sofa bed and two chairs in the living room, and a desk and chair in the bedroom. The TV gets excellent reception and several channels, but none in English. I found it very amusing that my husband frequently turned up the volume as if this would help him understand the Italian better!
Everything in the apartment is comfortable and it will truly feel like home!
The bed, which was larger than an American queen but almost as large as my king at home, was unfortunately extremely confortable, resulting in a few later-than-planned mornings! It was blissful to lie there with the windows open and listen to the outside sounds. The bathroom was a very nice size, with room on the area around the sink for toiletries, as well as shelves on the opposite wall.
We didn't do any cooking in the kitchen because it was far too easy to bring food in or eat out, but everything we would have needed was there. My husband made coffee every morning in the American coffee maker so he could get a head start on his daily caffeine intake, but that and cutting pastries and pizza from the bakery was as far as we went in the kitchen.
There is also a washing machine and dryer in the kitchen.
Problems or Bonuses
There were certainly no bad surprises. And although I knew from the reviews that dealing with Massimo and Biancamaria would be great, I can't describe how wonderful it felt to be dropped by the driver at the front door of the building and having them waiting for us. They showed us everything in the apartment and told us about all the good places in the neighborhood, introduced us to the closest restaurant owner, showed us the shortcut to Campo dei Fiori - in general, just made us feel fantastic when we arrived!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Massimo and Biancamaria speak excellent English and immediately put you at ease. Their excellent website gives a very accurate picture of what you are getting, except that I thought the apartment was even better than it appears on the website.
In addition, after seeing other apartments, B&B's, and tiny hotel rooms that cost as much or even more than this apartment, I can't understand why anyone would stay elsewhere!
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Would we stay here again? My husband and I agree that our next trip to Rome will be based on when this apartment is available, because we don't want to consider staying anywhere else! This is a wonderfully relaxing refuge from the busy (but also wonderful) streets of Rome. At the end of a long day of walking, touring, and (best of all) eating, you turn that key in the lock and your blood pressure immediately drops to its most relaxed rate. You are, in fact, at home in Rome.
Things to do in this area
Our favorite restaurant was Arnaldo's, 10-20 steps straight out the apartment building door. We passed him and his waiter several times during the week and were always warmly greeted. Between that and the excellent food, we ate there three of our seven dinners.
Out the door and 20 yards to the left is the Roscioli Forno (bakery) with the most delicious bread, pastries and pizza I have ever eaten in my life. It's also the best place for free friendly Italian lessons!
Just before the bakery, the bar on the left was wonderful for morning coffee and pastries. We also enjoyed Bar Farnese, about a quarter of a mile away.
Der Pallaro is another popular restaurant which is less than 100 yards away. One block past that is Insalata Ricca, which has 33 varieties of salad as well as pasta.
Campo dei Fiori, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon are all less than 10 minutes away. All three are wonderful for people watching and cafe visiting!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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