Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 724: Owner, Trastevere Apartment - Property 1740
1 bed apartment in Trastevere, Rome
Nov 1 - 8, 2003, 1 week
Very close to the Ponte Sisto, in the small Piazza San Giovanni della Malva -- you have the advantages of Trastevere (less traffic, great places to wander and eat) but with easy access to the center. The windows have double pane glass to cut down on the noise, but there are bars all around and we did hear soccer teams celebrating & some traffic at night. But for being in the heart of a big city, it was relatively quiet.
There are numerous bars, restaurants, gelaterias, pizzarias, grocers, tabacchi, etc. in the immediate area. The flat is only a 5-minute walk from Campo di Fiori, so fresh produce, meat, cheese, fish, flowers, and anything else you could want are very close. We also liked going to a wonderful funky grocery in Trastevere called Drogheria Innocenti, just off Piazza San Cosimato. It's probably a 10-minute walk, but there's so many interesting things to look at along the way (and little medieval streets to turn the wrong way on) that it always took us much longer. There's a payphone on the piazza just steps away.
The apartment is above a small shop that sells jewelry and objets 'art, and the building has maybe 4 or 5 floors with other apartments. The front door opens right onto the square; from there you go down a short corridor, up 19 stairs, up another flight of 9, then turn and down a few stairs. I counted the steps because the timer lights on the stairways didn't always work. There was an elevator but we didn't use it as we were only on the second floor.
The apartment was lovely, nicely decorated, high ceilings and nice parquet floors, very spacious and romantic for two. The building is a restored 16th Century palazzo, and they've done a nice job of keeping the feel of an historical building while providing all the modern conveniences. All the appliances and furnishings were in excellent shape.
There was a very small balcony overlooking the piazza -- one person could stand there, maybe two if you stood still. There's an interior "courtyard" but it's dark, mostly used for storage of cleaning supplies and bicycles -- not somewhere you could sit, but useful for ventilation.
It was clean and tidy, although not antiseptic -- it had character: nice art on the walls, even a fresco in the bedroom. Chairs aplenty, a large dining room table, comfy sofa and chairs, TV, and a bookshelf wall unit loaded with books, magazines, videos taped from the BBC. We watched a couple of Poirot episodes. Among the books I found some of my favorite authors as well as some nice art books and guide books to Rome. The living room chairs folded out into beds, but there were only 2 of us, so we didn't fold them out. There's a washer tucked into a closet in the foyer, also an iron and board and a giant fold out drying rack. We made good use of all of that; after being on the road for a month, it felt like a real luxury. There was central heat that worked very well for the crisp November nights -- heat included in price of rental. There's also AC if you're going in summer.
The only matrimoniale bed we had without a crack in the middle! It won the "most comfortable bed of the trip" award. The linens were fresh and pretty. There's a big wall unit wardrobe in the bedroom so I actually got to put my clothes away properly. Part of the wardrobe had a ton of extra towels, sheets, and blankets, plus there was another chest in the room with more linens. There were good reading lamps on both sides of the bed, and a nice little writing desk in the bedroom. The bathroom was very nice -- it has a bidet and a shower stall big enough for 2 people, although I scrubbed some shower mold away before we used it (no big deal, but I'm kind of picky about shower mold). There was plenty of hot water.
The kitchen was great. It had nice dishes, plenty of pots and pans, an espresso pot that seemed brand new, a four-burner gas stove, and even a dishwasher. Had we not been so lazy and so well-fed in the local restaurants, we would have been able to do full meals there easily.
Problems or Bonuses
I wasn't too surprised because I had chosen the apartment based on Dean's glowing review, but the place was even nicer than I imagined. One thoughtful detail was the book of the house, a binder containing restaurant recs, maps, directions to various amenities. I added my ST print-outs to it before we left.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
We booked through the 1001 Villas website, which advertises rent-from-owner places. The owner in this case has an agent, Virginia Bellisario, who was a thoughtful communicator, with prompt e-mails. I did have trouble reaching her on the phone once we were in Italy, but we had arranged everything so well in advance it didn't matter much. Our train was late arriving into Rome, and I called a cell phone to reach Anna, who also was in charge of cleaning, to let her know (she was waiting to let us in). She did not speak English, and we got a bit confused, but she was there when our taxi arrived, so all's well that ends well. Anna returned our damage deposit through a friend who came to the flat the day before we left -- there was no inspection. She also cleaned one day while we were out, but there wasn't much for her to do.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
Yes, we will definitely stay here again when we return to Rome, and I'd recommend it to friends without hesitation.
Things to do in this area
Eat, shop, stroll, eat more, gawk at the art in the churches and museums, stroll more, eat more. The gelateria on one corner of the square was dangerously delicious. For pizza, there's a great little place just around the corner, but for really sublime pizza, run, do not walk, to Forno La Renella on Via del Moro. They fire their ovens with hazelnut shells. I'm not sure if that was why, but it was the best pizza I've ever had. Across the street and down a few paces, there's a little English language Corner Bookstore that satisfied my Iris Origo fixation, with a friendly British owner. Also on Via del Moro there's a great little shop called Polvere di Tempo that sells sundials you can wear on a keychain, eggtimers, compasses, tiny sextants, and all sorts of magical little time and space devices, made by hand right there. I fell in love with the churches--Santa Maria, and its lovely piazza, also Santa Cecilia. Our favorite little restaurant close by was Taverna della Scala in Piazza della Scala--good pastas and veal. Across the river and just off Campo di Fiori, we became addicted to the anise cimbalini, biscotti di Novembre, and torte della nonna at a bakery I've lost the name of. It's in the first block off the piazza on Via Dei Baullari (I think).
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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