Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5447: Roman Reference, Montefiore Apartment (#266)
1bed/1bath apartment in Trastevere, Rome
1-15 October 2012, Two weeks
The apartment is located in via di Montefiore in Trastevere, just one block back from viale di Trastevere (the main street), and with easy access to the #8 tram and a busy taxi stand (Piazza Sonnino). It was also quite close to the river and Ponte Garibaldi, the Tiber Island bridges and Ponte Palatino, giving easy access to the historic centre.
There is an area immediately opposite the building which contains the ruins of a Roman Vigili headquarters (fire station - mostly underground). It is a bit of a gathering place for young people to drink at night - not really somewhere to hang around, but we didn't have any trouble, apart from almost tripping over a drunk passed out in the shadows one night. In general, though, it was well-lit and busy enough that we didn't feel unsafe at any point.
There were several caffes just around the corner, and we decided on a 'regular' and went there most days. There were supermarkets within a short walk, although you need to look for them, as they are in historical buildings and not always obvious. Trastevere is full of restaurants - the only problem is which one to choose!
The apartment is in a 17th century building, and has been decorated quite tastefully. It is accessed from the street via a locked door to the building, which leads into a corridor. Through the corridor you go up a couple of steps into a small courtyard, and from there up some steeper steps to the apartment. There's no protection from the weather from when you enter the courtyard to when you step inside the apartment - when it rains, you need to juggle an umbrella while using both hands to open the tricky lock.
When you enter the apartment, you walk into the lounge/dining area, with a small kitchen on the left. Two steps down on the right is the bedroom, with the bathroom on the far side.
The apartment is a little dark and doesn't have much storage space, but we expected this in an older building, so it wasn't an issue. We had one Saturday night where there was a lot of noise from a party on the terrace next door until well into the small hours, but otherwise it was fairly quiet.
It was difficult to tell how many apartments were in the building - I think there were about 10 in total, but they were in two separate sections, and the building was quite irregular in layout.
The shared courtyard wasn't really for sitting - more just a space for light and air, with access to the apartments in this part of the building.
The furniture was all fine and comfortable. The apartment was clean, and a cleaner came in after the first week to change the linen, mop all the terracotta floors, clean the bathroom etc. She even washed up the couple of glasses I hadn't got around to, and took out the rubbish and recycling.
The lounge/dining area contained a sofabed, two low, comfortable armchairs, a rustic coffee table, a table with two chairs (and there were two more folding chairs in the closet), and a couple of small cupboards.
The bed was comfortable, although I would prefer a top sheet for warm weather (and it was warm) as well as a doona. The bedroom was decorated in the same green and eggplant purple as the living room, and had a very nice print of Piazza del Popolo above the bed. There were individual lights over the bed for reading, with separate switches on each side.
Off the bedroom was a small closet with hanging and storage space. It also contained a clothes drying rack and iron/ironing board, and a few cleaning items.
The bathroom could only be accessed through the bedroom, and contained a shower with glass doors, the toilet, and a basin with vanity unit. It was smallish (but to be expected), but there was plenty of hot water. We did have a problem with the shower not draining properly, which worsened over a few days, but once I contacted Paola (the key-holder), this was corrected within three days (his email reply said 'tomorrow', but as I have found in Italy, tomorrow doesn't always literally mean the next day). Once it was attended to there were no further problems.
The kitchen contained all we needed (fridge, microwave, cook-top, washing machine) although we mostly ate out or assembled meals, rather than cooking. I did notice there were not many decent knives for cooking, and there were only wine glasses - no ordinary glasses for water, etc.
The kitchen also had a small bench space and a sink for washing up, and had some basic supplies (salt, oil, coffee etc.). The owner supplied a bottle of milk and a bottle of water in the fridge, as well as bottle of wine and two packets of biscuits.
Problems or Bonuses
In general, we really enjoyed staying here. However, I was very disappointed that the advertised WiFi did not exist. I was traveling with a child, and we had been communicating daily with my husband and daughter at home by Skype up until now. WiFi is mentioned several times in the ad, but Paola (who met us) and Leonardo (the landlord) both seemed to have no idea about this. It was in fact one of the reasons I chose this apartment (washing machine, kitchen and WiFi were the three things I was looking for), and I personally wouldn't stay here again because of this issue.
The only other things I would suggest (and I let the agency know about this) would be a manual on how to operate the appliances, about rubbish disposal, etc (Paola did tell us how the gas cook-top and hot water worked, but when you've been traveling and are tired, this information doesn't always stick!). It would also be useful to show guests the trick to unlocking the door (pull it towards you very hard and then turn the key), as I had difficulty with it the first night until I worked out that it needed a very firm pull towards you before turning the key.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Roman Reference were easy to deal with, by email and on the phone. Apart from the WiFi issue, the website ad was pretty realistic. Paola, who met us, was very friendly and spoke quite good English, and I also spoke to Leonardo (the owner) on the phone when I thought I'd locked us out on the first night, and he was very nice too.
We paid €1461 for 14 nights in October 2012.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, I would recommend this apartment, with the proviso that you understand there is no WiFi (or any other internet connection), and there are some reasonably steep steps up to the apartment door. Staying in this area, there is also the possibility of noise, although the other side of viale di Trastevere is much busier and noisier.
Things to do in this area
We found a cafe around the corner - Bar Cucina la VII Coorte - with good coffee, gelato and friendly service, which had free WiFi so we could Skype home each day, post blog updates, check email, etc. We tried to avoid their busiest times so we didn't take up too much space, and went there often twice a day for the two weeks. They got to know our regular orders, and we always got a friendly 'Buongiorno!' when we arrived.
Another favourite was Pizzeria Ai Marmi - a very popular place on viale di Trastevere.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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