Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4030: Residenza Giubbonari, Red Apartment
2bed/2bath apartment near Campo dei Fiori, Rome
February 19-26 2009, 7 days
The apartment is on Via dei Giubbonari, mid way between Campo dei Fiori and Via Arenula. The major bus hub at Largo Argentina is right there where Via Torre Argentina turns into Via Arenula. Via Giubbonari is quite busy with foot traffic as there are shops all along it and it feeds right onto Campo dei Fiori. The bedrooms are very quiet, but if someone uses the sleeper sofa they will need ear plugs as the pedestrians are noisy.
We loved the area. If you chose the correct streets (and didn't get lost) you are within minutes to Trastevere, the Pantheon/Piazza Navona area, the Campidoglio and the Colosseum/Forum area. We did the Via Giulia Walk (leisurely) and easily got to Castel Sant'Angelo and St. Peters. One of the buses to the Vatican was just 3-5 minutes away (at Via dei Vallati/Via Arenula) and went directly to Pz del Risorgimento, although it would not have been too long of a walk itself. We just wanted to save the walking for the Vatican Museums.
There were two grocery stores easily accessible as recommended by the apartment owner and we found many other small (but more expensive) groceries around Campo dei Fiori.
There are many, many eateries, cafe/bars and some gelaterias in the immediate area, however for some reason we ended up eating away from the area most of the time, usually after sightseeing. I had read favorable reviews about the restaurants in the area and at a previous visit had eaten at Ditirambo's, but it just didn't work out for our schedule to eat at any of them on this trip. Except for Blue Ice gelato. I think that might be a sort of chain of gelaterias, but we all really, really like their gelati. The women in the group became addicted to the inexpensive costume jewelry at LaLa's (conveniently next door to Blue Ice).
There are shops for clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, household items, art and everything else at the ground level of all the buildings in this area. Via dei Giubbonar is known for the clothing shops that line it.
Cristina, the owner, has a total of four apartments for rent in the building, designated by color: Blue, Red, Green and Yellow.
As far as any historical background, other than being "ancient" (quoting Cristina), I don't know of any special significance to the building we were in, but it was clean, attractive, well maintained, spacious and accurately represented on the website, although it seemed even larger than the pictures showed (nice surprise). It was a nice mixture of modern conveniences and ancient architecture. There is an elevator, but we never used it since it was only three short seeming flights to the apartment. There wase 10 or so apartments in the building and as Cristina has four for rent plus her own private apartment, there must be other residents or renters that make up the rest of the building, but we did not run into any one else until the end of the week when clients moved in to the Green apartment above us. We did here some footsteps from them moving about, but it was not intrusive.
Our apartment did not have any outdoor sitting are, but the Yellow apartment is on the top of the building and does have a private terrace, but it is not shared with the other apartments.
We had two large, double windows at the front of the apartment that can be opened to enjoy mild weather and to listen and watch the passersby. It was chilly when we were there so we did not do too much of that, but in warmer weather we would have definitely done so. For my next trip to Rome in warm weather, I will definitely splurge and try to reserve the Yellow apartment. But since this was during February, we didn't think we would miss having a terrace.
The living area was attractively and colorfully decorated. It was warm and welcoming and pleasant. The furniture was in good shape with slip covers on them not to hide the furniture, but to protect it. There was plenty of seating with the dining room opening up to the living area, so it was easy to visit and make plans together.
The front door opens onto a large entry hall that has a built in wardrobe. It is divided into three large closets with room for luggage storage, hanging clothes. and shelving for other times. There is also an in wall safe where we kept our passports and money.
We did use the washer and dryer while we were there. It is different than those in the States, but functional and wonderful to have.
The beds were most comfortable and we fell asleep immediately each night. My sister said the sofa bed was quite comfortable, too.
The master was spacious enough with a chest of drawers, reading lamps and a chair.
The secondary bedroom was small. The twin beds were in the corners of the room with about four feet between them and only about one to two feet clearance at the foot of the beds. There were small attached bedside tables and above bed reading lights. The only storage for this room was in the hall wardrobe. The furnishings in the bedrooms were the least inspiring in the apartment: minimal, a little worn, basic.
The bathrooms were large, tiled and immaculate. The master tub had a hand-held shower attachment that really did not allow for taking showers easily. The second bath had a shower stall that we all ended up sharing.
The kitchen had plenty in the way of nice, decent weight dishes, pots and pans. There was a microwave, small fridge, percolator coffee makers (stove top) for Italian style or American style (smaller vs larger water volume), small oven and two burners.
There were no condiments (salt, pepper). The previous renters had left some olive oil, popcorn, teabags, coffee, which we used and then added to it, leaving the extra for the next clients. For some reason one of our group had brought packets of sugar, salt and pepper so we had hot tea that first evening without having to make a run to the store.
We only had breakfast in the apartment, but there was enough equipment that we could have made real meals for the four of us if we had wanted to. There were the basics in cleaning supplies so we could clean up spills and neaten up a bit mid week. (Only end of week cleaning was included in the rent).
Problems or Bonuses
The shower developed a leak that was more of a problem for the owner than for us. We were able to shower, but did have to use towels to absorb the leak. Cristina had someone come in, but they did not completely repair it. It only reduced the leak to a trickle.
We were pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of wine for us in the apartment. It was great to come back that first night and relax over a glass (or two) of wine.
The apartment was bigger than expected, as clean as hoped and as cozy as represented. Very satisfying.
Until we figured out the heating system, the first night was unpleasantly cold, but that was our inexperience (and converting from Celsius to Fahrenheit). Cristina was very apologetic about the shower and arranged for us to use the Blue apartment shower if needed, plus gave us a second bottle of wine in way of apology.
It was a little difficult with four people and one shower, but it isn't like we didn't know this before we rented. I think with hind sight that a trip to the hardware store to get tape or adhesive, we could have rigged the hand-held in the second shower to be functional as a overhead (it was loosely setting in the bracket and easily dislodged). But with bidets and a tub, we were all clean.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Cristina was wonderful and professional and caring to deal with. She is justifiably proud of her apartments and delivers great service.
I have done little travel to Europe and my only experience in renting apartments is for skiing in Colorado, so I was wary of renting from some of the agencies. From the reviews in the travel forums it seemed safer to rent from an individual and from someone who lived on site as Cristina does and since she had not one negative review I decided to give her building a try. I am glad that we did.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Three out of the four of us would return and would recommend the apartment to friends. The fourth person's objections had more to do with missing the amenities of a hotel and having to share one space amongst four people, so that is not a reflection on the apartment.
For warmer seasons I would miss having a terrace area and would therefore want to rent the Yellow apartment.
This location cannot be beat with direct access to so much of the sites in Rome, easy access to the buses for further out sites and close to Campo dei Fiori without being right on the piazza.
Things to do in this area
Being close to Campo dei Fiori is in my opinion the best location. If you want wild and rowdy you have it; if you want quieter and more subdued (as much as Rome can be) you only have to walk in the opposite direction.
We took the corner bus to Borghese Gallery, the Vatican Museums and Piazza del Popolo. We were able to walk to the Colosseum/Forum/Capitoline Museums, the Pantheon, Pz Navona, Pamphilj Gallery, Trastevere, Piazza Farnese, Via Giulia, Castel Sant'Angelo and St. Peter's. Be sure and get to Campo dei Fiori one morning to experience the market set up.
Buy your wine in the grocery stores (the ones that locals shop at; not the cute little ones right on the piazzas). We had seriously good bottles of wine for €3 to €6 each.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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