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Review 4120: Rent Flats in Italy, Dante Apartment


Review by Valerie from US/Italy who is a SlowTrav Contributor

2bed/2bath apartment on Piazza Barberini, Rome


March, 2009, 5 nights


We needed an economical apartment for four people in the centro storico of Rome, without two of us having to resort to a sofa bed, the likes of which proved to be a little difficult to find on rather short notice. When we saw this one online, we thought it looked perfect and snapped it up.

Then we arrived and felt a little crestfallen. The photos had made it look nicer than it actually was in person. We roamed the spare, cramped rooms somewhat dejectedly. The sofa was a frame with a thin mattress folded over it and draping over so if you didn’t sit all the way back, you risked falling off the floppy edge. The sleeping loft was rather rickety, the stairs and floorboards squeaking ominously when tread upon. The kitchen was shabby with very little space or equipment for any actual cooking, a spot for preparing breakfast and snacks only. Two bathrooms were lacking in bidets (unheard of in Italy!) but long on leaks, both showers seeped despite our best efforts to avoid it. One towel per person, period. We asked for more towels and/or bath mats but never received them.

But. Then we threw open the window shutters and looked out upon the Piazza Barberini. We paced and moaned some more, and went back to the windows. A few more minutes of gazing at the activity below and we decided the place might not be so bad after all. After a half-hour of voyeurism, we all decided this apartment was fantastic! Whenever we were at “home” two or all of us would be at the window, watching the activity, waving to the tourists on the upper deck of the Open Buses, observing the traffic (even a little fender bender right under our window), and the myriad people passing through, taking photos, checking their maps, going to work. We watched the flow at the sidewalk cafes and the flood of workers exiting the metro station in the morning. We had a fascinating perch to see Rome’s rhythm and loved it, despite the shortcomings of the actual accommodations.

We were surprised by how quiet the apartment was, despite the noise in the piazza. The windows do block out a good deal of it, and we never heard anything from the other apartments in the building.

Piazza Barberini is a great location for visiting the city, with a metro stop right there and buses on via Tritone. It is an easy walk to the Trevi, Quirinale, Piazza Repubblica, the Spanish Steps, and along the via Veneto. There are shops and restaurants tucked away in side streets and a friendly coffee/aperitivo bar right downstairs.

The apartment could be wonderful with a little renovation and some new furnishings. As it is, I’d call it rather shabby ... but with a fascinating view.

To read more from Valerie, and see the view from this apartment, visit Living Slow in Italy, The End is Nigh.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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