Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 5709: Owner, Il Portico (#474798)
2bed/2bath apartment in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna
April 2014, One Week
Via del Pratello is a lively little vicolo in the historic center of Bologna. While the street, like much of Bologna, is marred by graffiti, nonetheless it is a great location and very animated in the evenings with a few eating establishments and local beer bars ... bars in the Italian and not the American sense ... little cafes with outdoor seating and small plates of food in addition to selections of wine, beer, coffee, and liquors.
Coffee bars and cafes are plentiful within easy waling distance, some just outside the door. There is a small grocery within a block. There is a wonderful indoor market called Mercato delle Erbe about a five minute walk away with a wonderful array of fruits, vegetables, and fresh pasta and meats, and a small but well stocked COOP grocery just next door to this market. Via del Pratello runs directly into the intersection of via Marconi and via Ugo Basso, both of which are major commercial streets with abundant shopping and restaurants.
The building is historic but in good shape. While the street can be nosiy the windows (like everything else in the apartment) are of extremely high quality and totally block out any noise. The apartment is on the first floor (second American) so we did not wander further up the building but believe, like our floor, there are only three or four apartments on each level.
The only thing we wished for was an outside terrace, as there is none. However, the quality of everything else more than compensates, and there are innumerable cafes with sheltered outside seating close by so we really did not miss this. There is no pool.
The furniture, carpets, beds, closets, kitchen, and everything else was in new condition (just restored in 2013) and of very high quality ... and absolutely spotless. The divan in the living room seats four and there are a number of upholstered dining room type chairs in the apartment which allow for additional seating.
The dining area seats four but there is a breakfast bar in the kitchen with stools for two more.
The beds were very comfortable. Both bedrooms have twin beds which can be arranged with a single sheet over them to be super king size beds. The bathrooms are, like almost all in Europe, small but adequate, though the showers would be problematic for very large people.
The kitchen was new and very usable. Counter space is limited but the compensation is a full four burner cook-top and oven, along with a microwave and dishwasher. All utensils, pots and pans, and dishes are of good quality and go together visually. The refrigerator is of reasonable size and the freezer is large by European standards. Cooking full meals is a pleasure.
Problems or Bonuses
The biggest surprise is that the apartment is literally stocked with everything you would have in your own home ... dish soap, sponges, laundry detergent, hand soap, shampoo, body wash ... in the kitchen is salt, pepper, fresh olive oil, balsamic vinegar ... and a nice bottle of white wine (ours was from Sardinia) and home made panna cotta to welcome you.
We have rented at least 15 apartments in four different countries ... many of them through VRBO. While all have been acceptable and in many cases better than that, Il Portico is a cut above in quality by any standard.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Paola lives 20 minutes away. She is an English teacher and meeting and working with her has been just great. At her suggestion we attended what turned out to be a highlight of our visit ... a concert recital by a world renowned pianist in the Oratorio at the end of the street ... and intimate setting which seats no more than 120 people. Paola was helpful in any way we needed. The reality of the apartment actually exceeded the description and pictures in the published information. We paid €750 for the week, in April of 2014
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
We absolutely would stay here again or recommend it to our best friends, without qualification. I almost hesitated to write a review as it might just make it harder for me to book it nest time.
Things to do in this area
I mentioned the concert, and we also went to a Vermeer/Dutch Masters exhibit at Palazzo Fava nearby. Two restaurants we recommend are Anna Maria and Camminetto D'Oro ... which I will review separately, along with Ai Sangiovese (where we will eat tonight, but see Amy's review).
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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