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Review 3216: Domus International, Via Milano


Review by JJ from UK

1bed/1bath apartment near Quirinale, Rome


October 2007, one week


My wife and I have been visiting Italy for the past three years, always touring from one city to another and never resting for more than two days in the same place. This time we decided to start our ‘in depth explorations’ of the place most dear to us: the Eternal City.

We arrived in Rome on one of the five Ryan Air flights that connect London to Rome. We were convinced we would have delays as it usually happens on our low cost getaways. This time everything went according to the plan. We arrived to the Rome airport with a Swiss precision and were awaited by the driver of Domus with the same exactitude. Driving into Rome is always fun, quite racy and seemingly dangerous but we are always amazed of how they actually make their way around with the same partly bohemian partly strategic manner.

The apartment we decided to rent, Via Milano, is located in an old Roman neighbourhood, Monti that was recommended to us by Italian acquaintances who knew our passion for art and history. Monti is a highly picturesque neighbourhood, once home of Michelangelo (we had to experience the art-historical bond with the city) animated by Bohemian café’ and traditional unpretentious restaurants. In the midst of all this, on a larger street, was located our cosy apartment. Continuing the thread of precision in our trip, Stefano, the representative of Domus International agency, was waiting for us among the scooters parked in front of our flat.

The apartment was synchronized with the neighbourhood and our passion for local cultures. An ingenious decoration of the ceiling, a winding musical score guiding us into the living room, became my wife’s favourite (since she plays the piano, the score was a the perfect substitute for the missing instrument). The warmth of the wooden floors all throughout the apartment was truly wonderful.

On the right hand side of the hallway we had the kitchen, incredibly well equipped (Italians seem to master and optimize the furnishing of cooking spaces), perfect for the Art and Cook recipes we had learned from the cook book with the same title (a true art book we discovered in the international Feltrineli bookshop close to Piazza Republica in our area). Following the kitchen we had a bathroom with the smart Italian formula of designer water closet and bidet, something we always enjoyed having in Italy.

The living room also had a lovely atmosphere again, because of the warm tonality of the ever-present wood and the entire design. We were told by Stefano that the owner has this passion for sophisticated lighting therefore designing the entire lighting system according to his personal taste and ‘choreography’ (the lights are perfectly synchronized in fading away in one angle while illuminating the other, with spotlights in the most curious of places). We loved it! We were also pleasantly surprised by the large plasma television, quite a luxury device that we haven’t really used since we had enough to see on the screen of Rome’s marvellous architecture.

This is what the terrace gives to the apartment: a wonderful platform, almost like a cinema, that one can use as an observatory for the roof-line of Rome and its monuments that appear much closer. Lovely lovely (my wife says I should add another ‘lovely’).

Then there was the cosy bedroom, with a large enough bed and plenty of silence (this is what we were looking for since we knew we would have enough hurly-burly from the streets during the day).

Since we are extremely intense tourists (in two days we were able to walk through the main monuments of the historic centre, in two more we visited the Vatican museum and the Borghese gallery and then we had an intense tour of the Forum) we were left with two days that demanded further detailed and unusual experiences of the city. Stefano was kind to offer a peculiar tour, designed by one of his collaborators, Mirela who proposed a personalized visit of the prominent contemporary art galleries and museums. We thought this is perfect for us (we tried to look for something similar previous to our departure from London, but couldn’t find anything) since we also collect contemporary art and are usually quite informed concerning contemporary events in the places we visit. So we decided to take the tour with Mirela (a fun and bright young lady who studied art both in London and New York) and she revealed marvellous details about Rome’s contemporary art, taking us to parts of the city we could never have discovered otherwise.

On our last evening we had our ‘closing dinner’ on our stupendous terrace, the temperature was just right, and we treated ourselves with way too many Italian antipasti that we had greedily bought in the specialized antique food stores on Via Serpenti and Boscheto (our favourites). What else could we recommend? Apart from the myriad of memorable experiences we had during that week, the numerous details I could collect in a book I would say that nothing compares to the privacy of this apartment, where not only you enjoy your personal space in communion with the wonderful views of Rome but also you savour the authentic Italian lifestyle. Therefore we highly recommend Domus and its unique staff, prompt and knowledgeable, energetic and inventive. We will definitely return, more than likely in the same apartment considering how obstinate we are as tourists! We are convinced that even the third member of our family, soon on his way, will enjoy the comfortable and safe sofa-bed (we did safety prevention studies).

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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