Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5227: Owner, Colosseum Apartment (#32035)
2bed/2bath near the Colosseum, Rome
Novemberr 15, 2011 to November 25, 2011, Ten days
This apartment is in an ideal location to visit Rome, not right in the noisy, touristy thick of things, yet not too far away from any of the major sites. The apartment is on the Via Labicana which runs between the Colosseum and San Giovanni in Laterano, and is situated between Line A and B of the Metro, so five minutes in one direction gets you to Line A and five minutes in the other direction reaches Line B. Because it's a penthouse, it's very private, with no one overlooking the terrace or even into the windows.
There is a wonderful pastry shop right across the road (our daughter went there every morning for breakfast and several evenings for dessert - once asking for cannelloni instead of cannoli, which caused much hilarity in the shop). In the same block is also a Tabbachi for bus tickets, a butcher and grocer. If you want the familiarity of a supermarket, there's a Despar about a ten minute walk away.
So close to the Forum and Colosseum, there are plenty of tourist-trap restaurants with their greeters and menus in English, but because it's a neighbourhood as well, there are also plenty of excellent restaurants, gellateria and coffee shops within two or three blocks of the apartment.
The building is not historical, I would guess that it was built post WWII. But since it's Italy, it's very nicely done with marble flooring in the entrance, a cute tiny wrought iron elevator, high ceilings and thick walls. Though we met some other residents in the hall, we never heard anyone once we were in the apartment.
When you enter the apartment, a coat closet and two doors are immediately in front of you. One door leads to a full bathroom with washing machine. (There are drying racks build over every radiator in the apartment and a drying rack on the terrace.) The other door leads to the first bedroom, with a double bed, chest of drawers, desk with computer and 6Mbs Internet access, a folding chair/bed and a loft with another double bed.
To the right of the front door is the main living area, a dining area with a round table and six chairs, a living room with two daybed couches and two folding chair/beds and a great view of St. Quattro Coroni Basilica, the kitchen and a spiral staircase to the upper floor. The kitchen has a full sized refrigerator, three gas burners, several different types of coffee makers (though why you'd want "American" coffee in Italy is quite beyond me), double sinks and an adequate supply of cooking pots and utensils. We are all avid cooks and didn't really miss anything.
The spiral staircase leads up to another bedroom with a skylight over the king-sized bed, another bathroom with a shower, and a sitting area with another daybed and a desk with an Ethernet cable. I very happily telecommuted from that desk most afternoons. Sliding glass doors lead to the terrace which has a large table, several chairs and benches, lots of plants and...
...a fabulous view of the Colosseum, the dome of St. Peter's, the Vittorio Emmanuele monument, and the Parco di Traiano in one direction and St. John Lateran in the other direction. Even though it was November and a bit too cold to eat outside, we spent many hours there.
The furniture is fine. Not fancy but not shabby either. Everything is very comfortable and well-maintained. The owners have obviously put a lot of thought, effort and time into making sure their guests are comfortable and happy. The apartment is spotlessly clean, a cleaning lady comes every Monday and at the close of every visit. This is included in the rental.
There is air-conditioning, though obviously we didn't use it.
The beds are large and comfortable, plenty of pillows including thin pillows (we're stomach sleepers) and plenty of blankets. The bathrooms are lovely, spacious and warm.
Problems or Bonuses
Our only surprise was that the apartment was better than the listing or pictures suggested!
Agency and Representatives (and price)
The owners of the apartment were lovely, patient and helpful. They offer a cell phone for their guests, which we did not need since we had bought our own to receive calls and used Google phone to call home.
We received a discount for our ten day stay, and paid €1580 for four people for ten days, €39.5 per person per day. PayPal fees for the deposit are not included in this calculation.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I hesitate to recommend this apartment to anyone, because I don't want to run the risk of it being booked next time I want to visit Rome!
I approached making our reservations with a good deal of caution and precautions. You can find some real horror stories online about apartment rentals. I am posting this review because I couldn't find any reviews of the apartment anywhere other than on the VRBO site, and those must be taken with a large grain of salt. I worried the whole time between booking and our trip because I just didn't know for sure whether I'd made a good choice or not.
The listing calendar shows the apartment as booked nearly a year in advance. This was one good sign but not convincing.
The picture of the view from the terrace seemed so unbelievable that I actually drew lines on a map from those three landmarks and then checked the address where the lines intersected against the address given in the listing. It matched.
I asked for references, which they quickly supplied (another good sign). One reference had a university domain name, so I checked the faculty listings for her name before contacting her. Sure enough, she is employed by the University and gave a good recommendation of this apartment and another (188213 which I'll review later.)
I paid the deposit by PayPal and then asked if I could pay the remainder upon our arrival also by PayPal as a way to check and ensure that the Internet worked as promised. Suspicious, I'll admit, but Internet access was critical to stay in touch with our clients. I was willing to pay the additional PayPal fees.
We will definitely stay in this apartment again. In fact, we may plan and schedule our trip around the availability of this apartment, it's that great.
Things to do in this area
We spent, all told, 17 days in Rome, taking our time to visit and appreciate the sights and sites. Spent a day on the Palatine, a day in the Forum, a day at Ostia Antica, a day touring catacombs, a day on the Campo Martius and so on.
We didn't eat a restaurants, preferring to cook at the apartment. Cheaper means you can stay longer!
The highlight of the trip and our stay at this apartment was entirely unexpected. November 23rd is the feast day of San Clemente, the second Pope, whose church is around the corner from the apartment. Two days before (though I didn't figure it out at the time) a street market appeared in the piazza beside the church, and the streets around were decorated with lights. At about 2pm on November 23rd a brass band began playing. After a while, we went down to see what was going on and found a military brass band marching around, playing and singing.
At 10pm they were still playing (!). So we went down again to watch again. They marched and ran (while playing their instruments which is something to see!) to the Via Labicana. Police had blocked the four-lane street for a few blocks in either direction. Everyone stood around for a bit, then a huge fireworks display then went off on the hill of the park!
It was fantastic. Lots of fireworks, smoke, burning bits of paper, Dominican priests and monks standing around, spectators watching (one man with a 3G iPad FaceTiming the celebrations to his wife(?) in a hospital bed somewhere), people hanging out of their windows, music and two Canadian tourists laughing with delight.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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