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Review 4824: Owner, The Jewel of Trastevere

www.jeweloftrastevere.net

Recommended
Review by Ruth-Maree from Australia

2bed/1bath apartment in Trastevere, Rome


When

October 2010, 6 days

Location

This review should be read with (preferably after) the excellent Review 2450 on the Slow Travel site by Normano from Canada, which is extremely comprehensive and tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this quiet, quality apartment. This just updates and expands slightly on that 2006 review.

In addition to the points made by Normano on location, it is worth mentioning that the apartment is easily reached by train/taxi from the airport. A train ticket costs about €5 for the 45 minute trip. However, when you reach the airport station and see two train tracks, ensure you take the train to Trastevere, on the left, NOT the one on the right which goes to the main Rome station, Stazione Termini. It is easiest to get a taxi from the Trastevere station to the apartment, although a tram is also possible.

Nearby Amenities

The daily market has now returned to Piazza San Cosimato, possibly bigger and better than before, and is certainly a wonderful amenity to have so close to the apartment. Its produce is by far the best we found on this Italian trip, and the vendors friendly and helpful. The best supermarket is Standa in the basement of the Oviesse department store at Viale Trastevere, 60, open seven days, and while Todis is a little closer, opposite the market on Via Natale del Grande, it has a smaller range of goods.

For those who are perhaps less enthusiastic or able walkers than Normano, the tram is an excellent way to conserve energy at the beginning and end of your expeditions. Have a stack of €1 tickets (BIT) to hand, walk straight down Via Luciano Manara (the street the apartment is in) to Viale di Trastevere and catch Tram #9 to the Argentina stop. That is close to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, and a short walk to Piazza Venezia, which is the main visitor hub and close to Roman Forum. Also, an easy way to get to the Vatican is from the bus stop at the top end of Via Luciano Manara . Catch the #115 bus over Gianicolo Hill to the end of its run at the back of the Vatican. Wend your way through the car park via lift and walkways to St Peter’s Square. The return journey can be done in reverse.

The House/Apartment

The best features of the apartment are its location in an authentic, fascinating area of Rome, its spaciousness and the fact that it is accessible via just a short flight of stairs. In addition, it is in a quality building and is an oasis of quiet, day and night.

Garden

The garden is pleasant and well cared for, and mainly acts as a sound and privacy buffer between the apartment blocks. At the far end is a room in which the garbage bins are stored.

Furnishings/Cleanliness/Living Areas

Since Review 2450 was written, the owner has installed WiFi, which was a lovely surprise and a bonus. We agree with Normano’s comment about the need for a comfortable arm chair/s, and note that the foldout bed/sofa in the living area is the inevitable compromise when it comes to seating comfort. Despite the CDs and excellent range of books, we did not find any of the DVDs mentioned in Review 2450 to use in the machine. A few current titles in English could have been good, though the TV is fairly small. Overall, though, the apartment is scrupulously clean, nicely furnished and stocked, and decorated tastefully in a style well beyond the majority of rentals at this price.

Bedrooms/Bathrooms

We endorse previous comments about the comfort of the bedroom and ample supply of linen, and specially valued the bathtub for soaking away the aches and pains acquired as a result of Rome’s cobblestones. It was still warm in October and one issue was the bedding, which was too heavy/hot. A sheet alone was not quite enough but a summer blanket would have been perfect.

Kitchen

The kitchen is definitely small (in the European style), having little bench or storage space. As we like to cook most of our meals, we may have noticed this more than others. Nevertheless it is adequate for a short stay. The lack of a sharp/usable utility knife was an issue for us as for Normano (and has been in practically every apartment we have ever stayed in). However, when we mentioned this to the owner, she responded immediately by bringing over a complete set of sharp knives.

Problems or Bonuses

We agree with Normano that the web site doesn’t do justice to the spaciousness of the apartment – but perhaps it is better to be pleasantly surprised! Having the extra space of the small study made the apartment so much more comfortable for two adults, and the WiFi was definitely a bonus.

Agency and Representatives (and price)

Again we endorse Normano’s positive comments about the owner’s attentiveness, love for the neighborhood and attention to detail – the store of Rome travel books was impressive and the information sheets detailing local amenities were comprehensive and often used. Her responsiveness about the kitchen knives is mentioned above, and she was keen to receive other feedback for the future. It goes without saying her English was excellent.

Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?

Yes, we definitely recommend this apartment, which is indeed a jewel, an oasis of quiet and good value. Because it is off the tourist trail, our experience of Rome was far less hassled than we imagined it might be. Apart from Saturday night, when visitors and locals in high spirits surge through the narrow streets around Piazza Santa Maria, Trastevere seemed to be very much an ordinary - and colourful - neighborhood going about its daily business. This is its charm for the Slow Traveler.

Things to do in this area

There are many interesting sights in the area quite close to the apartment – not least watching the local children having fun after school in the adventure playground near the Cosimato markets - but we specially liked the following:

  • Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere for its ambience and mosaics, its lively Piazza, and the surrounding alleyways (Vicolo di Cinque); Chiesa di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, honouring the patron saint of musicians
  • Chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa with Bernini’s wonderfully sensuous statue of Beata Lodovica, and the crumbling cloisters of the Ospedale - still in use, and formerly a monastery.
  • The interesting Ghetto area, with its unique eateries and food shops, can be reached by a short walk, venturing over the Tiber across the Ponte Sisto.

After six short days, there was so much of Rome left unseen and unvisited. However, it is Trastevere and Il Gioiello di Trastevere that ensures we will once again make the long trip from Australia and finish what we have begun.

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

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