Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3238: Rome Sweet Home, Villa Fortuny - Borghetto Apartment ref #1428
2bed/2bath near Spanish Steps, Rome
December 2004, One Week
We loved the location of this rental. While the agency listed the location as Spanish Steps, it was actually about a block from Piazza del Popolo, which suited us just fine. We could walk just about anywhere we wanted to go (and when I say that I mean that we spent just about every day walking all day, not that it was necessarily close to everything, but centrally located). It was nice coming home at night because once we walked through Piazza del Popolo we really felt like we were leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind. The villa was located up a short, private road and behind gates. It felt very private and secure.
There were restaurants and shops just at the end of the little private road that the villa was on (not a lot, but enough to get groceries or a quick cup of coffee/bite to eat when we didn't feel like walking very far). It was a ten minute walk to an area with many more choices. We didn't rent a car at all (and I definitely would not recommend it for a week in Rome). The couple of times we needed a car, cabs were easy to come by in Piazza del Popolo.
The building itself was a sub-divided villa (about six apartments I think). I don't know the exact age of the building, but it was quite old and nicely restored. It was beautiful, with a brick courtyard, lots of terraces and natural sunlight. The apartments all have functional shutters on the windows, which made for great sleeping and privacy. We would bump into our neighbors coming and going but were never bothered by noise from them.
You can view the apartment directly: Villa Fortuny - Borghetto Apartment.
There was a very nice private terrace. Unfortunately we didn't get it to use it much because we were there during the rainy season. But it was still nice to step outside with a glass of wine and enjoy the view and the bells! We were there at Christmas time and the bells were ringing all the time ... one of my favorite memories of Rome.
The apartment was nicely decorated, the furniture in good shape. The only drawbacks to the layout of the apartment itself were the small kitchen and lack of any actual living room. We ended up dragging the table from outside into the larger bedroom when we all wanted to eat in. We considered the lack of a living room a trade-off for two bedrooms and two full baths. If you spend most of your time out in the city as we did it really won't bother you.
The bedrooms were good sized and well furnished. There were two full baths, one with a tub and one with a shower. The beds were large, but very very firm.
The kitchen was very small, tiny really, but functional. There were plenty of pots/pans/plates/glasses for four. With a little creativity it was possible to cook full meals and we did on several occasions.
Problems or Bonuses
There were surprises both good and bad. The prettiness of the villa, the quiet and privacy, and the pleasure of walking from the location were all good surprises.
On the bad side I have to mention our arrival. We arranged to be picked up from the airport through the agency, but when we arrived at 9:00 at night (after traveling for 18 hours) there was no one there to let us in and the driver didn't have the key as he was supposed to. It took several phone calls and 45 minutes until we were able to get somebody from the agency over to let us in.
The plumbing was a little bit of a hassle for my husband and myself. We were there during a very rainy week in December and after two days of constant downpours we had water seeping around the seal of our toilet (it was clean water so not nearly as bad as it could have been, but still annoying).
Agency and Representatives (and price)
There was no on site person from the agency. This was a problem the night of our arrival and when we had issues with the plumbing. We had several phone numbers to try and contact people with, but couldn't get anyone regarding the plumbing and gave up after a while.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We would and probably will stay there again. To me the positives outweighed the negatives in the long run. The location and the privacy can't be beat in my opinion. I say that as someone who likes to walk and doesn't want to sleep right in the heart of the action. If you're looking for a place two blocks from the Spanish Steps, this is not the place for you.
I have recommended this rental to friends with the caveat that you are somewhat on your own. Don't expect anyone to come and clean the apartment while you're staying there for a week and be prepared to make multiple phone calls if you need to get a hold of the agency.
Things to do in this area
Things to do in the area ... all of Rome! We walked to Vatican City, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Forum, the Spanish Steps, etc. I highly recommend a trip to the art museum in the Villa Borghese (which you should buy tickets for in advance). Some of the most amazing art in Rome is housed there and they limit the number of people allowed in at one time, so it a very pleasant experience all around. Our favorite thing to do in Rome is just wander the streets taking it all in. My husband scouted out the map one evening so that we would be in the general area of the Trevi fountain without knowing exactly which corner it was around. I'll never forget rounding that corner and seeing it there in the rainy sunset.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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