Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3723: Views of Italy, Tower Apartment
apartments on Via Canonica in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
June 2008, 1 week
The Tower Apartment is located on the fifth floor (Italian 4th floor) of a very old walk-up building in the heart of Bologna, about 200 yards from the Due Torri. There are about eight other apartments in the building, some of which are also owned by Views of Italy.
There are countless shops and restaurants very close to the apartment. There is a nice little grocery store only about 100 yards away, and the more upscale food markets off the Piazza Maggiore are only a little farther.
The apartment is in a building that is perhaps 500 years old. Obviously, the unit has been modernised to some extent, but it is furnished and finished in a traditional way.
It is important to note that the apartment is essentially a converted attic, which means that the ceilings are severely slanted in places; walking around the apartment requires a lot of ducking, especially if you are tall, like we are. Some people might find the set up a bit claustrophobic. I would also add that there is not an abundance of natural light in the main living area because the windows are near the floor.
The main bedroom is reached by a relatively short stairway off the main living room. It has a severely slanted ceiling. Again, tall people will find it difficult to get around in here. A skylight provides the natural light. The other "bedroom" is not really a bedroom at all. It is the "tower" room, which is reached by a steep, narrow circular staircase. The room has a fairly comfortable double sofa bed. It has large windows on all sides and provides spectacular views of the city. Because of all the windows, however, it not a great place to sleep in summer -- just too much light too early in the morning. And it's not much fun negotiating that staircase in the middle of the night when you need to use the toilet. Opening the windows of course provides a great cross-breeze on hot days and it's a great place to relax in the afternoon.
No outside area.
Furniture was old, but in good shape. There is sufficient seating in the dining/living room.
There is one bathroom, which was small but perfectly adequate.
The kitchen was adequate. It is small, but reasonably well equipped and has plenty of natural light. There was a dishwasher, but it was non-functional (a common state of affairs in Italian rentals, as we discovered). We cooked a few simple meals at the apartment.
Problems or Bonuses
We were surprised at how odd the set up of the apartment is. Even though there is sleeping space for four or five people, it is not ideal for that many.
When we first arrived (at night) we were disappointed because it seemed so dark and dingy, but it was much better in the daytime, in the natural light.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Pre-arrival communications were prompt and professional. I believe the apartment is owned by an Italian (Ernesto, I believe), but my initial communications were with an English woman who was friendly and helpful. There was no on-site person, but when we had a problem, we contacted Ernesto directly and he was responsive to our concerns.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would stay here again, but only if there were just two of us. For the four of us (husband, wife and two young boys) it was not an ideal set up. In fairness, the person I communicated with prior to booking warned us that the Tower might not be the best apartment for the four of us, but I booked it anyway. Turned out, she was right. Nevertheless, despite its quirks, the apartment has a lot of character and some wonderful features. And the location is wonderful.
Please note that the apartment is on the fifth floor and the building does not have a lift. We got used to walking the stairs so it did not bother us, but if you have an aversion to walking stairs, this is not the apartment for you.
Things to do in this area
We loved Bologna. Great restaurants, magnificent architecture and history around every corner. It was hot when we were there, so it was nice to be able to walk around under porticoes almost everywhere. As an added bonus, Bologna is a major rail hub, which makes it ideal for easy day trips to surrounding cities. (We went to Modena and Venice.)
Don't forget to go to the Due Torri Pizzeria, located adjacent to the two ancient towers and about a two-minute walk from the apartment -- friendly folks serving cheap and wonderful pizza al taglio. Also, don't neglect to climb the highest of the two towers -- incredible views over the city and the climb is not as difficult as it looks.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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