Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 2526: Owner, Cassia House
2bed/1bath apartment outside the center, Rome
November 18th thru December 1st, 2006, 2 weeks
Cassia House is located outside the ring road on the Northwest side of Rome. The trip from Fiumiciano, in light traffic, takes about 30 minutes. Cassia "House" is not really a house but a third floor, two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in a gated complex of several buildings on a side street, (Riccardo Moretti), off the Via Cassia.
The area was quite interesting in that it was urban with shops, restaurants and tons of traffic on the main road, yet I could hear sheep baaaing off in the distance in the mornings and we were surrounded by olive groves.
This was the best part about Cassia House, you had to walk everywhere. There's an organic grocery store and an Argentinian restaurant close by. There was a convenience grocery store about 1/2 a mile away, while the full service grocery store was almost three miles away. A rolling shopping bag was provided.
The train station was a mile away and coming back you walked the last 100 yards up a rise so by the end of your stay you were leaner, healthier and in better shape than when you arrived. You do need to be careful of the sidewalks as they were quite hazardous with broken, uneven pavements.
I did feel safe walking by myself, even at night and only once was I approached by a person who wanted money.
The apartments were built in the 1970's and did show some wear & tear but nothing major. Access was rather daunting at first, four keys, but after the second or third time it became automatic. The building had two small elevators and probably three or four apartments per floor. There were four floors.
The apartment itself was nicely laid out with six rooms. I would guess it's about 700 square feet with an entrance foyer, living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. It also had two lovely, large balconies that overlooked the hillsides.
Craig & I own a window coverings business an what we thought was really cool were the window shadings. They had wooden blinds installed inside the windows that operated like roll down shutters. You accessed them by a pulley tape on the wall next to the shade. Perfect for Florida during Hurricane Season.
The only problem I had was that it was not really quiet. The walls were very thin and you could hear every door open and close, babies laughing & crying, toddlers running, workmen whistling, vacuum sweepers sweeping, the television blaring and the toilets flushing. Most generally things quieted down around midnight and then picked up again about 8:00am.
The view was spectacular from the balcony. It was quite large and had a table and several loungers. Because it was November we didn't use it a lot, mainly just to enjoy the early morning sunrises but I would imagine that in the summer months it would be heavenly. I saw a fountain and a wading pool but no adult size swimming pool. The grounds were well landscaped and well kept.
Cassia House was furnished in a eclectic mix. In the living room you had a pretty comfortable 1940's couch and two chairs. There was a large wood round table with five chairs and several nice antique cupboards and tables. You also had a small TV that only got about four channels.
There were two bookshelves with vintage hardbacks and paperbacks.
The kitchen had a modern table and chairs a new refrigerator and washer.
The twin bedroom was long and narrow, had two beds, a tiered shelf, a hanging shoe bag and a small free standing cloths rack. The other bedroom was a nice size, had a queen size bed and one wall was all cupboards but some were hard to access. There were plenty of hangers for pants, or skirts, dresses and jackets.
The beds were okay, but could have been better. One of the twin beds had a VERY firm mattress that could be made less firm by taking out a piece of wood, the other bed had a foam mattress. The Queen size bed was too soft for me because of my back so I ended up putting pillows under my side. (I do this everywhere we stay.) Everything was clean though.
The bathroom was sparkling and had a nice bathtub with a hand held shower that you could use as a regular shower. There was a shower curtain and it didn't leak anywhere! I would have liked to have had more than one towel per person per week.
The kitchen was nice sized with a four burner gas stove, new refrigerator, and new washer. There was one stainless large pasta pot, a small plastic collender and several beat up frying pans. There were no good knives. There was plenty of dishes and bowls but not many glasses. There was a microwave and one each of an Italian and American coffee pot.
Problems or Bonuses
As I said previously, I am a person who requires quiet, always have been, and I never got used to the noise of humanity swirling around me.
Also we were at the mercy of the last train leaving Valle Auralia, which was usually around 9:00 or 10:00pm, so we didn't get to stay too late in Rome.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Giorgio was super. He is very organized, and an excellent communicator who speaks wonderful English. He kept in touch with us to make sure everything went well. When I arrived he was right there and spent the next hour with me showing how things worked in the apartment, then we got in his car and he drove me around the neighborhood to show me where to eat, shop, use the Internet, etc. and then he took me to the grocery store to get supplies.
There was a welcoming, much appreciated, excellent bottle of Chianti and two sleeves of chocolate nugget and he provided a scrapbook filled with information about site seeing, along with the train schedules, guidebooks and several maps of the area.
Suncoast won this rental in our SlowTrav 2006 Contest.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Cassia House was a nice place, however, I have never stayed in a rental so I have nothing to compare it to. I think if I were to visit Rome again I would probably stay in town just to see if I liked it better, although in the summer this area is three to five degrees cooler than the city.
Maybe we didn't know how to read the train time table, but we were always conscious of having to catch the last train back and that was somewhat restricting. Also it was about one hour to get into Rome to your location for the day and then another hour to get back.
And even though it sleeps four, having only one bathroom and a European size water heater would be challenging.
It would be hard to stay here if your not mobile, but for me I loved being able to hike everywhere.
Things to do in this area
We never made it to any of the restaurants in the area because we didn't get back until late and usually we ate in Rome, so I have no recommendations.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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