Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4038: Owner, Rome is Home
1bed/1bath apartment near Campo dei Fiori, Rome
February 2009, one month
The apartment is located on the Via dei Chiavari, a small street close to the Piazza Campo de’ Fiori. Being within the historic centre, you are perhaps 5-10 minutes away from the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Forum and Campidoglio, Trastevere and the Ghetto. For me, it was magical to have access to the best markets and food shops in Rome for morning shopping; I could easily carry my purchases back to the apartment and head out again for a leisurely day’s sightseeing. If I felt like an evening stroll, I could wrap up warm (it was the end of winter) and meander through the streets to Navona or the Pantheon, pinching myself all the while that my close neighbourhood contained these treasures.
For food staples, mineral water and wine, the Sma supermercato is very close (in the street parallel to the apartment) – note it is now closed on Sundays. A good alternative with even greater variety is the Despar supermarket (five minutes away on Torre Argentina).
For fresh fruit, vegetables, cheeses and spices the Campo de’ Fiori market is unbeatable and very close, especially when you discover the short-cut route from the apartment!
There is an excellent butcher in the Campo square, and the bakery (Forno) has delicious pizza bianca and crusty breads, including rosetta rolls - perfect for picnic lunches. Try the Salumeria in the Campo for the best pesto. The also-excellent Roscioli bakery is in the same street as the apartment and has a tempting array of breads and sweet things.
Another bonus is the proximity of the Feltrinelli bookshop and media store. There is a good selection of English language books ranging from light reads to some classics: perfect to read in Rome!
I loved my apartment three floors up overlooking the bustle of the Via dei Chiavari, but far enough from the main piazza to guarantee peace and quiet. With the floor-to-ceiling windows open, a mixed babble of jazz, conversation and vespa engines sounded like Italy. With the windows closed and sunlight streaming in, I could sit in the armchair by the window and write or read in perfect peace.
The bedroom is a real haven for the same reason. The small desk is a perfect place to sit in the afternoon and update your journal or blog.
My visit in February meant some chilly nights, and the central heating warmed the place up quickly – the apartment never felt cold or damp despite its age. The good, solid stone walls retain the heat well, and I imagine would keep the place very cool in the warmer months.
You won’t miss it. From your window watch your far neighbour tending his roof garden and wonder how his plants stay so green all the year round.
I bought some flowering spring bulbs from the Campo and filled the dining room window box while I was living there.
The apartment is well furnished with lots of options for sitting and dining. There’s a real feeling of comfort, space and light: from the white-slip covered sofa to the low tables and lamps, and glowing terracotta floors. The mix of old and new works well.
I had guests and dinner guests during my stay and felt very happy to have people visit me in such a hospitable place. Every one of them expressed a wish to spend some time living in the apartment!
The bed is king-sized, ultra comfortable and a haven on a cold morning. Make yourself a stove top pot of espresso, select from the bookcase (including the great file the owners have put together from Slow Traveler recommendations and articles) and plan your day. Your neighbouring churches will start pealing the quarter-hour from 7am but are well-behaved enough to stop around 10pm at night.
The beamed ceiling and tall windows make the bedroom a real pleasure to sleep in. As in the sitting room, there are internal noise/light canceling shutters and these effectively block out any street noise from below. There’s abundant closet space for clothes, shoes AND suitcases.
The checkerboard tiled bathroom has a small enclosed shower with good water pressure although it would be a squeeze for a tall person. There’s also a well lit hand basin and mirror, WC and bidet. Plenty of storage in here too. The bathroom is accessible either from the living area or from the bedroom; a nice option when you have guests.
I planned to cook most days during my month in the apartment, and did: I even had a dinner party there. The separate kitchen is compact but well-stocked with knives, chopping boards, pots and pans and plentiful crockery/cutlery.
The only downside (for me) was no oven, but I cooked pasta, pan-fried meats, made omelets and stirred risotto on the four-burner gas stove. Having access to great produce meant a well stocked ‘fridge, and the bright yellow full sized Kelvinator is a real plus. There’s a microwave oven for reheating and a drip-filter coffee maker too.
Previous guests had left olive oil, balsamic and spices – it was great to share these and add some more.
Problems or Bonuses
I loved having WiFi access. Being eight-hours behind my family and friends in Australia, I Skyped and emailed at odd hours and would have found Internet cafes difficult to use. The WiFi didn’t miss a beat – always a good signal available. Another bonus: weekly cleaning. Ronnie will come and make the place sparkling (I came home early one time and found him hanging out over the street, cleaning the windows!) and change your linen.
There were no problems at all; this apartment has been thoughtfully laid out and every amenity is there for you.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Massimo and Biancamaria, the owners, are very accommodating and communicate with good humour and a great deal of charm. They were at the apartment to meet me when I arrived and gave me lots of information about good things to do and see in the Campo area and around the city. Prior to my arrival they regularly emailed me and I felt they were interested (and committed) to my enjoying the apartment, and my stay in Rome. While I was staying, they emailed and Skyped me often (‘You’ve got your Rome face” was Massimo’s comment after a couple of weeks!).
The apartment is very well priced for the quality and location; my off-season rate was very affordable for such a prime part of Rome.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, absolutely. This is a great place to stay in the best part of Rome.
Things to do in this area
The Campo is your extended back garden. Enjoy the morning markets every day (except Sunday) until about 1pm. Shop for flowers almost any time. In the evenings, take an outdoor table in the same square and order a glass of wine. The roving jazz band, mime artist, young violinist and blues guitarist will come by and play a few sets.
Wander the streets of the hat-makers, the luggage-makers and the key-makers. Try and trace out Pompey's theatre, starting at the Grotta Pinta. Visit the treasures at the Palazzo Spada and the church of Sant’ Andrea delle Valle.
Morning coffee and cornetti in the most-beautiful Piazza Farnese is a must. Eat at local places Ditrambo, Osteria da Giovanni, Restaurant Sant’Anna and Roscioli’s wine bar. The other wine bars in the Campo are great for pre-dinner drinks.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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