Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4098: Owner, Charming Apartment in the Heart of Rome (27931)
2bed/1bath apartment on Via Aurelia, Rome
July 2008, One week
It was a few blocks from the Vatican in Rome on a very busy street, Via Aurelia. The area was OK. But we had to take a bus everywhere, so unless you are studying at the Vatican and don't mind mind-numbing traffic it might work for you.
It was on a very busy street with extremely narrow sidewalks so a bit nerve-wracking to go to the store. It wasn't like being in the heart of a district with lots of amenities or personality like other parts of Rome. We took a bus everywhere else and that is one reason we will not rent this apartment again. One had to walk about 10 or so blocks to get coffee or shop for groceries. On the map places like the Piazza Navona look closer than they actually are. In many cases a bus ride took about 30 minutes plus to get anywhere. The buses are fine, though. I'd just rather walk.
We spoke Italian, I can't imagine being way out in the Vatican area, not speaking Italian and trying to get around on the bus or get a cab. It would be difficult because there aren't any stores by you to ask questions. Yes, a lot of Italians speak English, but getting down to bus travel and stuff like that is not easy to communicate.
The building was nice. There seemed to be three or four doors on every floor and it was about four - five stories. The apartment was pretty nice. Our Italian friends commented on it. That the person who owned it probably was well off and just had this as a rental. I would say if you compared it to the U.S. style of living it was like a young couple's apartment. Nothing fancy but usable. It was definitely NOT peaceful NOR quiet. The layout was fine, rooms were separate so you could get privacy. The kitchen off the front room etc. The bathroom was off the front room so everyone had access to it. If you didn't mind noise, you might actually like this place.
Our apartment had a lovely porch with a view of St. Peters dome. You didn't share it. It had a little table and chairs, nice view over rooftops. Noisy no matter what time of day due to the heavy traffic at all hours right below.
Furniture was fine. Kitchen was well stocked with utensils, stove-top espresso, toaster, microwave, large refrigerator, even a dishwasher! There was a clothes washer but no dryer. The listing said dryer but it was locked in a separate room off the entrance hall and the 'maid' wouldn't let us use it. She did her laundry there though. The TV never worked. We had the owner's phone number and he would say things like, "It should work, or we'll fix that." But he never did. Not that we had time to watch TV, but I thought it would be fun to see what Italian TV was like for 15 minutes. The fact that it is listed as an amenity ... I guess I expected it to work ... silly me.
Beds were fine. Bedrooms were stark but fine. Bedding clean and rooms were clean. Bathroom was OK. The shower curtain had mold all over it and I asked for reimbursement for a new one if I replaced it. The answer was no, the 'maid' would clean it, She never did.
Kitchen was great. It was good to cook full meals in. Not fantastic choice of pots, but good enough. Having a kitchen is great and it was an eat-in kitchen which was very nice. Seated four at the table and more if you squeezed in.
Problems or Bonuses
When our Roman friend dropped us off around the corner (no way could you stop on the street!) he said, "Wow! you are on one of the busiest streets in Rome! This is a common thoroughfare for Romans to leave the city and avoid some other roads that are congested during rush hour!" Had we known that, we wouldn't have rented it.
On the other side of the Vatican are some interesting shops and eateries. Overpriced, though, even for Rome. It's best to avoid this area if you are on a budget. There's a lot of 'hawking' in front of the restaurants by the waiters, etc. Avoid those places at all cost.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The agency is really just a website that connects you to the owner's email. The owner does all the booking through the site and via email and and you pay 1/2 of the amount due before you go (never again!) via bank transfer and the rest is due the moment you arrive before you get the key. No matter how long your flight was or how exhausted you are of if your bags were lost. Nothing matters but that you pay the balance before the owner's helper couple leaves you with the key.
Only rent from a company that allows positive and negative reviews on their Website. We sent a negative review for the noise and the owner chose not to use it. What a surprise. I learned a lesson this time.
Now I know why you pay in full the moment your arrive ... that is so you cannot negotiate payment when you can't sleep. Oh yeah, and then there's the train across the street...
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
No, I would not stay there EVER again. One reason being the horrible noise. Yes, there was an air conditioner that we could have used. But electricity is so expensive in Italy that we had no idea how much the bill would increase especially after the owner made us pay up front before we even sat down and took in the place. In retrospect we should have cranked the A/C all week long and then negotiate THAT payment with him. But I didn't think of that until right this minute writing this!
My teen thought the place was fine and slept great. My husband and I didn't get a good night's sleep on any of the seven nights ... so I am thinking we kind of missed out on some of our trip due to being tired most of the time. You need a good nights sleep to do sightseeing is all I'm saying...
Things to do in this area
Yes, there was a great restaurant down the street and I can't remember the name of it but it's been there for decades and we had a lovely meal there our first night. It was like a local diner really.
After that we did nothing in the area, except one day at the Vatican. Which during July is wrong. The only time to go sightseeing there is in the off season. The crowds were ridiculous! It's tourists like us that make it so bad! Kind of a Catch 22. We were packed in like sardines.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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