Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3198: Really Rome, Trilussa Suite
1bed/1bath apartment in Trastevere, Rome
October 2007, 9 nights
This wonderful apartment is one of two family-owned tourist apartments in an 18th century building (located on second and third levels, respectively), with a restaurant on the ground floor. Our lovely American-born landlady lives on the top floor (fourth level) with her Italian lawyer husband. The Trilussa Suite is on the third level. The apartment is quite private – we never heard nor saw the "tourist neighbors" in the Belli Suite below us. The location has a wonderful old Roman neighborhood feel, and is close to all the major sites – either within walking distance or an easy bus/tram ride away. One truly felt "like a local" in this Trastevere neighborhood.
There are restaurants, shops, a fruit stand, bakeries, deli, gelateria, a flower stand, supermarket, bus and tram stops, and more ... all within a five minute walk. The owner, Shelley, has provided a small wheeled grocery cart for shopping convenience. In addition, near the supermarket is a bank with an outside ATM that has English instructions for cash withdrawals.
The Really Rome Holiday Apartments are exactly as advertised and pictured on the website, and as reviewed on the Slow Travel and Trip Advisor websites. We were very pleased. Shelley had provided for our every need, and was a wealth of information and assistance, including the loan of a cell phone and the provision of wireless Internet access in our apartment (not an advertised feature). The building entrance, next to the restaurant, is keyed and one truly feels like a local when opening the front door. The marble entrance hall and stairs are in excellent condition and wide enough to bring luggage upstairs comfortably. Shelley has provided a chalkboard outside each apartment for communication, with a magnet board for notes, too. The apartment door opens into a small entrance hall, with bedroom and bath to the right, and kitchen and living room to the left. All floors are tiled and very clean. There are shuttered windows in the kitchen and living room that open to the Italian street life below. When closed and draped, however, the apartment is quiet and private. The bedroom opens to a small balcony in an inner courtyard, although the tiny balcony is only meant to access an outdoor clothes line.
There was no outside garden or seating area; the small balcony (outside the bedroom) that opens to an inner courtyard, is meant only to access the clothes line.
The furniture was comfortable and in good condition. The queen-size bed is very comfortable, with a quilt in a duvet cover and extra blankets available. The dining table seats four, and there is a desk and chair, as well as sofa and two side chairs, in the living room. Television, small stereo, and DVD player are also provided (although we could not get our American format DVD to work, we did not bother asking for assistance since it could be viewed on our PC). In the bathroom, there is a washing machine and hair dryer (also an adapter for American appliances), as well as an iron, ironing board, and portable indoor clothes drying rack.
The bedroom was very quiet at night, with no noise coming from the interior courtyard. In addition to the queen-size bed, there is a sofa bed and a single futon (one of the side chairs) in the living room. Since there were only two of us, we cannot attest to their comfort. The bedroom includes a double closet and large dresser, so there is ample storage space. This is also true in the large bathroom, which includes a shower stall (no tub – which was fine with us) and a washing machine. There is a large sink with plenty of room for two in the front part of the bathroom, and toilet and bidet in the back section. There was adequate water pressure and plenty of hot water.
The galley kitchen was just off the dining area of the living room, and had everything we needed to prepare meals. Shelley had also thoughtfully provided many other touches, including a starter supply of coffee, sugar, pasta, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, crackers, jam, and the ever-present Nutella. There was also an Italian coffee pot (Bialetti Moka – just like home!). The four-burner stove was gas, and there is also an oven. The kitchen has its own hot water heater just above the sink, which needed to be switched on a few minutes before needing hot water. A microwave and refrigerator were also provided. While the refrigerator is an under-counter size, it was more than adequate. It did have a tiny open freezer compartment, but it did not freeze. It should be noted that Shelley only advertises the kitchen as having a refrigerator, and specifies there is no freezer in this particular apartment.
Problems or Bonuses
Bonuses: There were many... and some very pleasant surprises, too. The location is perfect for walking almost anywhere in historic Rome, and we felt very safe. It is an old, colorful neighborhood and one truly feels "like a local." We walked everywhere or hopped on a tram or bus. The Roma Pass is essential – we purchased two each for six days of bus/tram transport and four free museum entrances; these can be purchased online before leaving the States and easily picked up at the Colosseum ticket office (the Pass only needs to be stamped by an on-board machine the first time it is used).
Since the apartment is one floor below Shelley's home, her wireless router provided a signal to our apartment below. She graciously provided us access to her secure network and it was a wonderful bonus to have Internet capability there in the apartment. For example, Shelley shared with us the Rome bus/tram site where we could plot our destination and find the bus/tram lines and stops needed for our trip out and back. In addition, we communicated via e-mail with Shelley for several questions to which she quickly responded.
There is a fantastic lending library in the stairwell landing between the two tourist apartments. From guidebooks to phrasebooks/dictionaries to best sellers (and a few games), Shelley has provided an outstanding resource.
In addition to the thoughtful kitchen surprises, she also provided soaps, lotions, shampoos, laundry detergent, and a few toiletries in the bathroom. There was an excellent bottle of a specially-selected regional wine waiting for us on arrival, chocolates on the pillow, and a small bowl of candies on the desk.
Problems: We had no problems – only bonuses, especially Shelley herself! Her attention to detail, responsiveness, helpfulness, and more are one of the most important bonuses of this rental. Her website describes and pictures the two apartments in detail, and there were absolutely no negative surprises. She does mention the lack of an elevator for the building and, while this was not a problem for us, it may be a consideration for others.
Worth noting: Although previously available for stays of three nights or more, Shelley's website explains that in 2008 the apartments will be temporarily switched to a system of rental on a monthly basis. She does mention that in 2008, the apartments will also include satellite TV with BBC World and a high speed wireless Internet connection at no extra charge for renters who bring their own laptops equipped for such access, as we did.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
There is no agency, since the two apartments are family owned, and the price was very reasonable for the location and amenities offered.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Absolutely and with enthusiasm! We definitely would stay here again.
Things to do in this area
As mentioned above, the apartment is conveniently located to bus/tram stops, although it is also quite reasonable to walk to many of the museums and historic sites in central Rome. There is much to see in the Trastevere area and Shelley has thoughtfully provided maps with locations of nearby services, as well as recommendations to favorite Trastevere restaurants in walking distance. We especially enjoyed the Cave Canem, Ai Marmi pizzeria, and the Trattoria da Enzo for our first taste of 'carciofi Romani alla giudia,' Roman artichokes Jewish style. And of course there are our two favorite gelaterias (the latter a favorite of Shelley's): Gelateria Caffe Pasticceria Giolotti (Via Uffici del Vicario, 40) located just north of the Pantheon; and a fabulous Sicilian gelateria (with superb cannoli): Gelarmony (Via Marcantonio Colonna, 34), a short tram and bus ride up between the Vatican and the Borghese park.
And don't forget to check out Shelley's blog, At Home in Rome, for more helpful hints and slices of life in the Eternal City.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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