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Rome apartment review and some Rome travel tips

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Apr 3rd, 2013, 06:19 AM
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Rome apartment review and some Rome travel tips

I'm going to write this in segments, as time allows. Please bear with me: I type slowly and this may take a while.

We spent March 16-22 in Rome, where we rented the Vittoria Luxury Terrace apartment for 6 nights, through Rental in Rome. The apartment is at via Vittoria, 50 just a few steps in from via del Babuino, hence about 2 minutes walk from the Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps and the Spagna metro station.

The immediate neighbourhoo, which is largely pedestrianized, houses Chanel, Ferragamo, Gucci, Loro Piana, MiuMiu.... well, you get the picture. There are more atmospheric corners of Rome but there is none posher than this.

We had rented once before through Rental in Rome, whom we found quite satisfactory, SInce we had no problems either time, I cannot say how they would cope in the sort of crisis other reviewers here and on Trip Advisor have described. The property was as advertised; our meeting with their agent was smooth - in short, there were no hitches.

One small irritant with this and other Italian holiday rental companies is their expectation that every respectable citizen travels with a cellphone. The company asks that you contact their agent on arrival to fine tune the timing of your rendezvous. I explained we had no cellphone. (Payphones do exist but they are hard to find and often vandalized or out of order) We agreed by email on a time to arrive at the apartment and agreed that I would be responsible for contacting the agent if there was any slippage.

We were charged the high-season rate, which was 925 E for 6 nights. They also ask for a 200 E damage deposit but the owner's agent waived it when we arrived.

I'll proceed with a description of the apartment but the best overview of the accommodation is this album of photos we took:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=7ba57d953c
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 06:51 AM
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As you can see from the photos, the apartment is unique. From what I can see, this was once an open loggia of the palazzo. One end wall bears the date MDCCCC - 1900. It appears, though, to have been built in two phases and internally has two different rooflines. It looks as though it had fallen into ruin and lost its roof, then been rebuilt quite recently.

The apartment is therefore a very long (70 foot) very narrow corridor - generally no more than 8 feet wide. It is entirely walled in glass on one side, so it is like a giant greenhouse, with a sliding glass wall opening onto a 300 square foot terrace.

You reach the apartment through a series of courtyards, onto which some 5 buildings have a direct or indirect view. The apartment has its own rather grand door onto the courtyard. From the very large entrance hall, you ascend a stone staircase to the main level of the apartment.

I imagined that we would feel quite exposed, with all the neighbours and all the glass. However, most of the windows that look onto the courtyard were dark the whole time we were there. Several of the ground floor windows are the back rooms of shops or offices that front on via Vittoria or the next street (via della Croce, I think). These business premises are empty at night, of course.

Basically, we never felt our privacy was compromised. Venetian blinds paired with dark roller blinds darken the rooms quite well. We seldom, at this time of year, got direct sun though the windows and the direct glare would be even less as the sun gets higher. However - and despite modern A/C - overheating from the passive solar effect might an issue in warmer months.

Nor were we ever bothered by noise, except one evening when a young couple sneaked in from the street to try to have sex. I can report that the acoustics of the courtyard are excellent.

Were I a voyeur, it might have been amusing to let the comedy play out, as the young woman had a certain theatrical flair. Indeed, her transports of rapture had an even hysterical - rather than merely histrionic - quality. But I opened the window and shooed them away.
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 07:37 AM
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Grat srat Ted!! Waiting for more on a city we really love.
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 07:38 AM
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Sorry: should read "Great start".
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 01:25 PM
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Cool apt!
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 02:11 PM
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Can't wait to read more! The apartment looks great!
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 04:38 PM
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A few more observations on the apartment before I get into my other recommendations and tips:

The big issue for most people would be the narrowness of the bed. I had inquired and been assured it was 160 cm. It was not. It could have been 54 inches (135 cm) at best. Oddly enough, we did not actually find this cramped.

The bathroom is compact but perfectly adequate. Efficient, glassed in shower with abundant hot water. Good rainforest showerhead. Bidet, which we did not use. Small vanity surface - it was adequate for all our toiletries.

There is a hanging cupboard in the bedroom and also a free standing clothes rack in a rather underused space between the sitting area and the bedroom (it has a very dramatic glass cupola - I simply cannot guess what this was for).

The sitting area is really just 2 armchairs but what more did we need?

We found the TV controls challenging and ultimately touched some button that made SkyTV inaccessible. WiFi was generally reliable, though it did conk out sometimes. We never managed to connect our Android to it. Our tablet worked much better.

The kitchen, though small, worked pretty well for breakfasts and one dinner. Storage is a bit awkward -- imagine bending almost to the floor for your cutlery drawer. But the cooking utensils and equipment were adequate. There were almost no foodstuffs supplied, apart from salt, pepper and perhaps some instant coffee.

There is not much furniture on the terrace, which is very spacious and attractive. The lock on the terrace glass door did not work but we were not worried -- the terrace is pretty inaccessible to anyone else and we always left our valuables in the wall safe.

Garbage was a bit of a conundrum. Non-recyclable waste could be put in a bin in the courtyard but the usual differentiated bins for glass, paper and plastic were nowhere to be seen.

The agent explained, when I inquired by email, that bags of recyclable materials are simply deposited on a street corner, down via Vittoria. As instructed, we deposited our wine bottles up against the wall of the celebrated Accademia di Santa Cecilia, from whose practice rooms we daily heard different students practicing on different solo instruments: clarinet, oboe, piano, violin...

When we left, we merely left the keys, as instructed, on a table and closed the self-locking door.
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Apr 4th, 2013, 08:06 PM
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Most unusual apartment, Ted! I liked the look of it, and that's a good location,( with music, yet!)
However, my DH would need a much bigger bed!

Waiting for more. Your reports are always good.
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Apr 5th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Thanks. I'm a bit distracted with other stuff just now. I do plan to write more about Rome. I also want to report separately on our time in Emilia Romagna, which I very much liked (despite truly lousy weather)
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Apr 5th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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Well, I'll bet you found a good place to stay. You always do. I even have a file entitled: "Ted Gale's Places."

Weather everywhere in Europe seems to have been execrable in the past couple of months!

Always willing to wait for your stories.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 02:12 PM
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The big issue for most people would be the narrowness of the bed. I had inquired and been assured it was 160 cm. It was not. It could have been 54 inches (135 cm) at best. Oddly enough, we did not actually find this cramped. >>

lol, Ted, that's the width of a standard UK double bed.

if i sleep in anything wider I get agoraphobia!

great start to your report - what an amazing apartment.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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We often rent apr., they always ask to call them from the airport.
I finally purchased a cheap unlocked phone and a SIM card to use in Europe.
comes in handy.
Good point about bed sizes;
we make sure there is another bed or a pullout in the apt,
sharing a small bed with a 6'3 over 200 pounds man would not my choice.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 04:15 PM
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Your travels are so interesting and I love your writing style. I will always be grateful for your long ago mention of Osteriia del Pegno....we return regularly. Will be anxious to read more a out this trip.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 06:09 PM
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Great apartment tedgale..I will keep it in mind on my next trip to Rome..

I have already rented and paid a large deposit for a very nice apartment in a good location ..

But I would have loved to have a terrace..
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Apr 7th, 2013, 03:34 AM
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That's a really unique apartment. I like the look of it.
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Apr 7th, 2013, 05:07 AM
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TedGale's Places! I love that idea! This one goes in my file and I eagerly await further details of the trip!

Could not agree more with the issue of the cellphone and lack of public phones.



Just to be sure, is this the link?

http://www.rentalinrome.com/spagnast...rraceapartment
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Apr 7th, 2013, 05:13 AM
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A lovely looking place. I am in the same situation as kismet, I have rented

http://www.myapartmentsforyou.com/lo...rosa-apartment

but would have liked a terrace.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 04:21 PM
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ekscrunchy: Yes that is the one.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 04:37 PM
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I wanted to share next our nicest restaurant discovery of this trip: Il Gabriello.

The restaurant is literally next door to the "portone" - the large entrance door - to our palazzo. In other words, a few doors in from via del Babuino on the via Vittoria.

An inconspicuous door from this pedestrian street leads to a tiny vestibule and stairs down to the subterranean restaurant. The space is not large and is divided into a couple of distinct areas, so every table feels quite quiet. On the evening we went, the clientele was a mix of Italians and foreigners - no obvious tourists.

Our waiter spoke English (some online posts spoke of language problems, others spoke of the staff's fluency). However, he gratified me by responding always in Italian when I addressed him in that language.

I'll post pictures, if I can, of what we ate. But I'll cut to the chase by summarizing that evening's experience. This struck me as a consummately professional restaurant, a well-oiled machine where no server passed our table without removing a plate...filling a glass...adding, removing or adjusting cutlery. All this was done deftly and unobtrusively.

Food came at exactly the right time; the bill came promptly on request. Our server was faultlessly correct - skillful and neither too intimate nor too distant.

The food was refined without being fussy. The atmosphere was perfect - not too sedate, not too noisy. Nicely informal yet you had the feeling you were "somewhere". As I said at the time: It was like my favourite sort of NYC restaurant.

I'll post this now, then sort out the photos I want to upload.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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The setting: Il Gabriello:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...2&l=cd12745af1

We shared the antipasto misto, which was so abundant it would have made a meal for one person:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...7&l=42b2f7f8b7

Our main courses were swordfish and a salt-encrusted branzino (sea bream). The waiter saw my look of perplexity when the branzino arrived and asked "Spino io?" (ie "Shall I debone?). I gratefully assented and the dish reappeared moments later, salt-free and ready to eat:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...5&l=1e2dd1ee6c

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...2&l=06dab936d8

With these dishes, we ordered some grilled vegetables and a dish of the season's best specialty, puntarelle:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...7&l=6cee5da37e

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...9&l=930ee86098

We declined dessert and coffee and were offered, gratis, some savoury tarallini and two limoncellos to round off the evening. The latter were, in a word, volcanic:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...2&l=9c57456920

Having paid the (very moderate) bill, we rolled up the stairs and back to the flat in a euphoric mood, persuaded that Rome was, at that particular moment, the best place in the world to be.
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