Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Review 738: Roman Reference, Lungotevere della Farnesina (#140)
2bed/2bath apartment, on Governo Vecchio (near Piazza Navona), Rome
Nov 29 to Dec 14, 2003, 2 weeks
I am in Rome now and am just back from my evening passagiata through this incredible neighborhood. The apartment is right on Governo Vecchio, very close to Piazza Navona, but not part of the tourist route. There are many, many restaurants and shops (fashion, furniture, antiques, flowers). I am 3 blocks from a great little gym (La tua palestra) and even closer to the famous Da Bafetto pizzeria (go before 8:30 and eat outside and you can get seating - go later or try to eat inside and plan to wait for an indefinte period). There are several excellent bars within a block or two and two wine bars within a block. And there is a hardware store just down the side street for the basic needs like a telephone extension cord! The apartment itself is in a 16th century building. The windows are double-paned so it is quiet at night, but with the windows open, you can take part in all of the activity of the local merchants.
There are several corner grocery stores right in the area, with a pretty comprehensive selection of foods and basic necessities. Campo Dei Fiori with its incredible market is just 5 blocks away. Excellent restaurants of all types (from inexpensive cafes to great pizzerias, to high end ristoranti) are within easy walking distance. Actually at this location, nothing is far.
The building is very well maintained - built in the 16th century. The apartment is very large by Rome standards. A large master bedroom, TWO bathrooms, a small but well equipped and open kitchen, dining area, a long hallway with a computer desk and phone connection, and finally a den area with a couch (fold out), TV, VCR, stereo and another desk. Very comfortable and spacious.
No garden, but our gym has a pool (as well as sauna).
The apartment is very clean (a cleaning person comes every Wed). There are 2 comfortable couches, several plush chairs, a dining table with 4 chairs. There is also a huge bookshelf the entire length of the hallways, filled with books in both English and Italian. This is great when you just want to relax at home or at a cafe.
The master bedroom is very large and the queen size bed is firm and comfortable. The TWO bathrooms were a delight. My wife and I didn't have to fight over anything in that regard. There were plenty of towels and changes of linen (although easy to wash our own since there is a washer/dryer).
We are cooking breakfast and lunch daily. The kitchen is fully equipped with pots and pans and plenty of cultlery (a knife sharpener would be nice though). There are enough dishes to serve a small army! The gas stove has the brilliant feature of different burner sizes - for the little espresso maker, you use the small burner, for the fritatta pan, you use the large burner. We tend not to use the dishwasher, so instead wash by hand and let the dishes air dry. The cabinet that is immediately above the sink is actually a drying rack, so you put your wet dishes in, close the door so they are out of the way, and they drip dry into the sink - very clever and something I wish we had at home.
Problems or Bonuses
The merchants in the area become very welcoming and friendly after 2 or 3 visits. You become part of their neighborhood - they recognize you, know what you like, and they greet you like you are family ("Buon Giorno ragazzi, Come state, Buona Domenica, etc) and they watch your habits and take care of you ("you might want to buy more orange juice because Monday is a holiday and we are closed"). When we have asked for directions, people have been more than willing to go out of their way to make sure we are heading in the right direction. It has been very welcoming.
Agency and Representatives (and price)
Guglielmo of Roman Reference has been very very helpful and very friendly. He arranged a car to pick us up at the airport on our arrival. He was there to greet us when we arrived at the apartment. He showed us around the apartment, showed us how to use the appliances, told us about the stores in the area we would find useful, and pointed out some of his favorite retaurants and bars nearby. The whole experience was smooth and welcoming.
Do you recommend this vacation rental to others?
I wish I never had to leave! This is a great area and a very comfortable apartment. I thought that as an American speaking bad italian, that local merchants might be a bit hostile, but they have been helpful and inviting. Food is outstanding! And we love being able to cook! Now when we go to Campo dei Fiori, we can buy the prociutto or radicchio or the puntarelle! And then go back and actually make our own meals.
Things to do in this area
Just off of Campo dei Fiori near the tortuga fountain is the San Danielle restaurant - excellent place with a focus on San Danielle prociutto. Also a great pizzeria nearby to Governo Vechhio is Da Francesco. The best part though is just walking around there area - the early morning hours and evenings are the best - the colors are amazing and the people are so welcoming.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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