Only-Apartments, Camp dei Fiori, Rome
Reviewed by Rosie Bendandi
PRICE: from £64 per night, whole apartment
ADDRESS: di San Salvatore in Campo 43, 4 , 00186 RomeTYPE OF HOTEL: Apartment | Classic | Self Catering | Secluded
TYPE OF BREAK: Romantic | City Escape | Special Occasions | Late sun | Foodie
HOTEL STYLE: City luxury with historic twistSTARS: 5
This is the way to do Rome: get the key to your very own apartment for the weekend, climb up to the third floor, take a glass of local Sangiovese onto your private balcony and watch the sun set over the rooftops of historic Rome.
The Campo de Fiori, is one of Only-Apartments ' 1,950 rental properties in Rome (they have 30,000 worldwide). A one-bedroom penthouse flat in the centre of the city, it has ornate beamed ceilings, walls decorated with cherubs, an extensive library of books (some on shelves around the bed), and the comfiest two-poster bed (how they managed to get it up the Roman tight staircases is a mystery).
It's like travelling back in time; in a good way. With the old comes the new: excellent wifi, satellite TV, and all the mod cons a city-breaker could wish.
The apartment – which was once on the front cover of Architectural Digest – is right at the top of a medieval tower in the most ancient and atmospheric part of Rome.
Just around the corner is the famous Campo dei Fiori (field of flowers), a typical Roman fruit and vegetable market by day, and a-buzz with packed bars and restaurants by night.
Rome is a very walkable city, especially if you are based here, so bring your flats, grab a map and head out.
And where Only Apartments scores over air bnb and other homestay companies in Rome, is that they can arrange up to 600 euros worth of free and discounted experiences for you.
Pick from all kinds of treats including a Fiat 500 tour through the iconic sights, free bike + discounted scooter rental, a 'skip-the-line' ticket and guided tour of the Vatican museum, and even rafting down the Tiber river.
Picture by Rome 500 EXP
The Fiat 500 trip, above, was top of our list: you can drive yourself, or be driven, in your own souped up Fiat 500, only 44 years old but looking fresh from the factory.
You zip around the city with a headphone radio commentary telling you all the kind of things that only insiders know.
Alvise, your tour guide, has a passion for both Rome and the Fiats, which is infectious, and it will make you fall even more in love with the city.
Picture by Rome 500 EXP
And as for the cars - there's nothing more Roman than driving a classic Fiat 500 round the old streets. Everyone wants a selfie with you and the car, everyone smiles as you drive past, and even those notorious Italian drivers give way. As Alvise says, it's feel-good therapy – for everyone.
Having your own self-contained apartment gives you independence and the sense of belonging in this beautiful city. Our host Riccardo treated us like friends, and was not only a great source of information, but also went out of his way to tailor our stay to our needs. La Dolce Vita indeed.
- Waking up from your king-sized bed and having your morning coffee overlooking the city skyline from our private balcony.
- Having some downtime in front of the wide screen TV. We can't promise the world on Italian television but you can bring your own DVDs or hook up Netflix and chill.
- Our host speaking excellent English.
- The hubbub of piazzas nearby with delicious food choices, shops, bars and historic fountains all in close proximity.
- You don't need to seek out the landmarks, you can't move for them.
- Affordable, luxurious, local.
- There is a five-storey stairway to heaven. No lift.
Need to Know: Campo Di Fiori
Number of rooms: one; sleeps four ( two on double sofa bed in the living room)
Check-in/check-out times: arrive from 3pm, check out 7am to 11am
Room service: No - it's strictly self catering
Swimming pool: No
Eating and drinking:
Just yards from Campo de Fiori, every street is crammed with traditional Roman eateries, surprisingly not overpriced in spite of the very touristy location.
If you want something more a la Romana , wander round the back streets and find one of the many off-the-beaten-track osterias.
Just a short cab drive, or a 15 minute walk away, is Taverna Trilussa for the best Bucatini all' Amatriciana in town (the classic Roman dish, made with hollow spaghetting with bacon, pecorino and tomato sauce ) or in the centre, the very traditional Fortunato al Pantheon (ever tried spaghetti with mint and black truffle? ), has outdoor seating with views of the Pantheon, but service can be a bit hit-and-miss.
Near to? Besides all of the main Rome attractions, including the Vatican City, the west coast beach isn't far (about a 50 minute train ride to Santa Marinella, and there are two lakes 40 minutes drive north of the city, Bracciano and Matignano, that are perfect for late summer swimming and barbecues.
Campo dei Fiori, di San Salvatore in Campo 43, 4 , 00186 Rome
Getting there: British Airways flies into Fiumicino from Lonodn Gatwick and Heathrow, from around £110 return. A very fancy uber (compared with London) took us to and from the airport in about 30 minutes each way, priced around 40 euros