Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 4278: Sleep in Italy, Grotte Red
1bed/1bath apartment near Campo dei Fiori, Rome
August 2009, 1 week
The location was my reason for choosing this apartment, and it was a good choice. It's on a very narrow street about a half block south of Campo di Fiori, and there was no street noise whatsoever. However, it was located upstairs from a commercial laundry, and you could hear machines spinning 24 hours a day but this was a minor background sound.
Campo di Fiori is almost as nice as Piazza Navona, with the added bonus of the produce market almost every morning. The square itself is pretty touristy but it's within walking distance of nearly all the sights, which was important to us.
Nice cafe just off Campo, and a really good bakery called Forno one block north. There is a laundromat/Internet point three or four doors to the south of the apartment building, which was very reasonably priced for Internet access, and a well-stocked grocery store about two blocks south plus all the cheese shops etc. that are around the neighbourhood.
This is a very old building -- medieval looking at the main entry door -- with exposed beams in the apartment and nicely polished wooden floors. I think there are four stories and four apartments on each. There is a small elevator (two people), which looked quite modern. The building was very quiet and there were comprehensive locks both inside and out; I felt very safe.
When you enter the apartment, there is a storage closet with a washing machine to your left, the bathroom immediately in front of you, and a long hallway going to the right. The hallway opens into a living/dining room with a good-sized bedroom to the left and a small kitchen to the right.
Absolutely nothing. The apartment only has a few windows, and they all look onto a rather nasty air-shaft. This is not the place for those seeking a view, and there is not a lot of natural light.
The bed and the sofa bed were both very comfortable to sleep on, and the apartment was clean. The sofa and easy chair were both stained and a bit saggy; if they were mine I would have covered them or chucked them out; I was a bit surprised at the condition of them as the rest of the furnishings were quite okay (Ikea, mostly).
There is one sofa and one easy chair, and a dining table with four chairs. Loads of cupboard and closet space for clothes. We had ants in the kitchen if any foods at all were left out; fortunately there was a dishwasher so dirty dishes could be "sealed away" immediately; if you do that and keep the sink clean there is no problem.
There is Sky TV which got BBC for English-language news.
The beds were fine, including the sofa bed; they both had wooden slats instead of springs so there was good support.
The bathroom is very, very small. You could sit on the toilet and wash your hands in the sink at the same time ... efficient, I suppose! The shower, by my estimate, is about three feet by two feet, which was a bit cramped. The shower door didn't close tightly no matter which way I tried it so there was always water on the floor after use. There was a heated towel rack (August, so I didn't use it).
The kitchen was really small, but useful. Small microwave, no oven, gas stove. The pots and pans were the kind I would use for camping ... they get the job done, but that's about it! Certainly nothing fancy.
We had a matched set of dishes for four, and quite a number of glasses. Not enough small bowls (only two), but that's just me; I like a bit of sliced fruit and it looked odd in huge soup bowls!
The fridge was a small unit without a freezer section, but it worked very well; I even had to turn it down as it froze my food!
There is a dishwasher and a single sink. I made breakfast and bag lunches every day, and dinner about three times; everything worked and was adequate.
Problems or Bonuses
The kitchen ants were not much fun. Had a few problems with the washing machine in that it would wash and then refuse to spin the clothes; sometimes it was fine and sometimes it was cranky.
We were cautioned not to open the windows as the pigeons would fly in, so relied entirely on the air conditioning. I note that in our three weeks in Italy mid-summer, this was the best air conditioning we experienced and there are absolutely no complaints on that score.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Sleep in Italy was very good. They answered all my questions and the apartment was fairly represented (although the windows/view matter is not addressed on their description of the property, but I'd read a review and was already aware of it). We paid €95 a day on a discount price, as it was August, and I thought that was a bargain for the location. However, the quality of the apartment overall is "low-moderate", not anything more than that.
Check in had one issue: they gave me the key-holder's cell phone number and the unit number of the apartment. However, I didn't have a phone to call him (nor did I have a phone card or know where to find a public phone -- ten hour flights will do that to you) and the buzzers on the street only had the owners' names listed, not the flat numbers. I had to go across the street to a very kind shop owner who agreed to phone the key-holder for me so we could get inside.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
The light and view could be an issue. It is good value (at the discount price) for a family and you can definitely sleep and cook in comfort. The bathroom is a bit tight, but otherwise it's pretty good. The aesthetics of the sofa and chair are unfortunate and I would probably be more enthusiastic if those were changed.
However, it did give us a terrific location and we could walk to everything except the Vatican, which was a €5 - €7 taxi ride away. It is not close to a subway station, but there is a taxi stand about one block north of the Campo.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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