Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 3907: Views of Italy, Tower Apartment
apartments on Via Canonica in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
October 2008, 2 weeks
The apartment is located on a small street steps from le Due Torri where via Rizzoli, Via San Stefano, Strada Maggiore and Via Zamboni converge. The street is closed to traffic (other than residents I gather) so it is pretty quiet. I felt quite comfortable in the area alone at night.
Everything you could want is in walking distance. There is a Plenty Market just a five-minute walk from the apartment, but better still, the old market streets are also five minutes away. There are wonderful fruit and vegetable shops, salumerie, bakeries and a fish market just east of Piazza Maggiore and south of the apartment.
There is no shortage of cafes and restaurants in the area and there is a helpful listing of recommended places in the apartment. For a quick inexpensive lunch, there is a self-serve around the corner, and there are a number of good restaurants nearby.
The apartment is in a 16th century building, on the top floor (84 steps up - no elevator). Views of Italy rents out six apartments in the building, and I don't think there were more than 10 apartments altogether, but I'm not sure.
The Tower Apartment is on two levels. When you enter, there is a dining room and living area straight ahead. This side of the apartment has quite a sloped ceiling so there are two small windows near the floor, and two skylights which let in a fair bit of light. On the right as you enter is a spiral iron staircase that leads up to the Tower Room, and on the left are stairs that lead up to the bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom are on the main level.
There is an air-conditioning unit in the bedroom, which I didn't need so I can't comment on its effectiveness.
The apartment was spotless when I arrived. The leather couch in the living room was worn, but comfortable. There is a nice dining room table with four chairs, and an upholstered ottoman. The floors are hardwood. On the sideboard were a couple of shelves of guidebooks on the Emilia-Romagna aream and some fiction left, I presume, by past residents.
The tower room has two wooden Savonarola chairs, a lamp table, a desk and a double sofa bed. It was a delightful spot to sit (or recline) with a good book, as it is bright and sunny. It is the only room up on the roof, so there are windows on all four sides, three of which are large. All of the windows open to let in the breezes and the sound of the church bells.
The bedroom is upstairs (about six to eight steps) and has a very sloped ceiling with beautiful wooden beams and a skylight. There are cupboards for storage along one side, however I used the closet on the main floor to store clothing. There are two end tables with lamps adequate for reading in bed.
The bed was very comfortable. If two people were sharing the bed, the person on the sloped side would have to be careful getting up, as the ceiling is quite low.
The one bathroom was well equipped with both a tub and a separate shower enclosure, plus a bidet. The sink was set into a vanity that had drawers and cupboards for storage. The shower worked well, and there was always hot water and good water pressure.
The kitchen has a good-sized window that looks out over the rooftops. In front of the window is a breakfast bar and two stools. There is a toaster (which I didn't use) and an electric kettle. There is a small convection oven, which was very slow, but adequate.
The four-burner gas stove worked very well. There is a dishwasher that was not in working order, but that personally didn't bother me. The fridge is full size and has a small freezer section.
There were enough dishes and cutlery for four, as well as a teapot, a small French press coffee maker (for one) and a small Bialetti stop-top pot. The cooking utensils could be better. There was a scratched non-stick frying pan and a scratched pot, but luckily there was a stainless steel pot in good condition. I would say that it was fine for breakfasts and lunches but dinner would be more of a challenge. I ate dinner in a couple of times. I had cold porchetta from the market (delicious!) and I heated up some pre-cooked squash in the little oven. I found for my purposes, the kitchen was fine, but I would think it would be challenging to cook a full dinner.
There is a cupboard outside the bathroom that has a washing machine. I didn't use it, however I did make good use of the folding clothes drying rack. I believe I saw an iron and ironing board in there as well.
Problems or Bonuses
The apartment was just as pictured and described on the website. The big bonus was the Tower Room, where I spent most of my time when not out exploring Bologna. It was a beautiful place to enjoy morning coffee, afternoon coffee and a glass of wine in the evening.
One thing to be cautious of: as you enter the apartment there is a little raised landing, and there is one step down as you enter the living area, and a little step just in front of the stairs to the tower. I was terrified I would stumble and fall on those, so my mantra for the first few days when moving about in that area of the apartment was "mind the steps, mind the steps". I got used to them quickly and there were no mishaps!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Views of Italy, based in the UK, were great to deal with. They responded promptly to all e-mails and were always pleasant and helpful. Payment was easy and convenient (credit card).
I was met at the apartment by Ernesto, who helped me up the steps with luggage and showed me around. He was very nice, and gave me his phone number and apartment number should I need him for anything. He spoke excellent English. There was a booklet for visitors containing restaurant recommendations and other useful information.
The price for two weeks was £1342 (can't remember what that converted to at the time I paid.)
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I would definitely stay here again.
Things to do in this area
Since the apartment is right in the middle of the historic centre, just about every major museum and church is within walking distance. I think the only time I used the bus was to go to San Luca. Almost all of the museums in Bologna are free, and I found no shortage of free concerts in churches and palazzi.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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