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Jul 24, 2008 03:45 AM

Rome: Apartment Rental Location

My husband and I are going to be in Rome for a week in mid-April. We're debating between renting an apartment and staying in a hotel, and that's why I'm posting. If we stay in an apartment, we'd love a recommendation for a good location for food shopping and a bit of household product shopping.

We've begun by looking for apartments in the Prati area since I know that's a residential area, but we're having trouble finding rental apartments. In addition, for a week's stay, my husband and I think we'd like a bit more central location.

In reality, we would need food only for breakfast. Can someone please recommend a place to pick up some fruit, yogurt, cornettos, salumi, and cheese and basic household goods like paper toweling and dish washing detergent?

We have three of our dinners planned so I'll pass those along for more data points in your apartment recommendation:
Il Convivio
Colline Emiliane

We ate our first meal on our first trip to Rome at L'Angoletto and for, sentimental reasons, we begin all trips there. I've learned that the restaurant had changed hands. If someone has recent information about declining quality at this place, I'd love being warned that it's time to change our tradition.

We haven't eaten at Il Convivio in our past couple of trips to Rome. It's definitely time to go back.

Colline Emiliane is on our list for the simple reason that we visited the Emilia-Romagna region for the first time in '07, and we fell in love with the cuisine. Since that trip, we haven't had a slice of culatello or any of the other E-R specialties we love, and we need to deal with our deprivation.


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  1. Personally, Id prefer staying in Caelio, Monti or Testaccio to Prati. They are more central residential neighborhoods and all have good shopping resources. Small supermarkets seem to be common in Roman neighborhoods now. There is a nice street market and good shops in Caelio and of course the large public market and many good stores in Testaccio. We were never at a loss staying in any of these neighborhoods.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Not surprisingly, the apartment rental web sites don't get down to the level of detail beyond the most recognizable neighborhoods: Vatican, Piazza Navona, Trastevere, etc. And those categories are pretty crude. As best as I can figure, any apartment in Monti and Caelio gets lumped into the Colosseo category. Could you -- or someone -- post some specifics about the location of a good store, food shopping street, small supermarket, or large public market in Monti or Caelio?

      I'm having particular trouble locating information about the Caelio neighborhood. A Google search invariably turns up references to Cicero's PRO CAELIO rather than contemporary information about food and restaurants. One web site lists Monte Caelio restaurants and their addresses seem to be in the Monti district. The result for me: confusion.

      I'll use this information to more efficiently wade through the deluge of apartment possibilities. Thanks.

      1. re: Indy 67

        If you haven't already found it this site will be invaluable for trip planning. There is a search feature and I know there have been discussions about what you are looking for. Some people will even post a map telling you how to get there. Recently someone submitted a map showing the Rioni (sp?) like Monti, etc. I use Chowh for restaurants and Slow travel for all else.

        1. re: stymie

          I agree that the Slow Travel site is a good resource for detailed info re Roma, but I think the regular site users have a collective bias toward apartments in Campo dei Fiori for some reason. It may just be that once an area is recommended, people flock there, so the database gets kind of stuck there. No doubt people enjoy their apartment-experiences around the Campo dei Fiori, but I wouldn't want to stay there, and perhaps not shop there. (Some complain about the tourist-inflated prices.)

          I don't think you will need to worry about an absence of small shops to buy fruit, yoghurt, cornetti, salumi, and cheese and basic household goods like paper toweling and dish washing detergent. Roma is not like American cities with an overwhelmingly large, purely business district area of offices. There always tiny stores and bakeries, squeezed into the streetscape, that when you enter turn out to be jammed to the ceiling with everything you described. About the only are where you'd find a problem is the Vatican. If you specifically want a "supermercato," those are harder to find in the antique center, but you really don't need them. Tiny stores carry basics.

          I would also point out that my recollection is that some of the Roman bed-breakfast websites also include apartment rentals, or what gets listed as a b-b is sometimes an apartment.

          Roman public transportation is slow. I rely on walking almost everywhere. If you have a heavy agenda for sightseeing or specific restaurants you want to be near, you might keep that in mind when it comes to choosing a rental location, depending on how much you like to walk or how patient you are about buses arriving, or your budget for taxis.

        2. re: Indy 67

          Colosseo it is, on some sites, or as bropaul suggests below, Celio. There are some less attractive areas along the main streets (Via Labicana, Cavour) but the hearts of these neighborhoods are solid and pleasing.
          I think you may be a little like me and want to envision everything in full ahead of time. I would just repeat that not so small supermarkets have sprung up everywhere, which would have all the household products you need. On our last apt rental we stayed in an apartment on Via Quattro Santi (I think I am remembering right) in Celio , and there were two not-so small and quite nice supermarkets, a street fruit and veg market, a good daily bakery, several smaller convenience markets, a poultry and egg shop, a butcher shop, etc - along with a number of restaurants, within a 2-block radius. Testaccio is less visually attractive, but it is full of life and delicious food and the apts might be a bit cheaper; ours was very nice and within one block of the market, with more foodstores (do you want some horsemeat?) than I could count nearby, not to mention Volpetti. Monti has some very nice shops, produce stores and bakeries, as I recall - it may have a nice small supermarket too at this point, in addition to the large one over toward Santa Maria Maggiore thats down under some structure - that was serviceable, but sort of downmarket. All these areas have good transportation links or are walkable to the main attractions and they are much less overrun with tourists than Piazza Spagna, Navona or Campo Fiore areas.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Thanks to everyone for this really useful information. Yes, Jen, I do try to envision everything in advance. When I feel confident about some basics, then, I feel much more prepared to be spontaneous.

            For this trip, I'm trying to duplicate the fantastic experience we had in Florence a couple of years ago. We stayed in the Palazzo dei Ciompi area which was about 1 1/2 blocks east of a Standa supermarket and about two-three blocks west of the Sant'Ambrogio market. We had the best of both worlds: the convenience of the supermarket's generous hours and the excellence of specialty market stands and special-purpose food stores in Sant'Ambrogio.

            1. re: Indy 67

              Avoiding the "pausa' is worth a lot, I agree!

              Here is the Yellow Pages for Roma, listing locations for supermercati. You can use the search feature at the top of the page to plug in a location in your desired neighborhood (i.e., piazza del popolo) and get the supermarkets in the vicinity. Not all of these will have continuous hours every single day, but when you get into the nitty gritty of renting your apartment, your landlord should be able to tell you when they are open.

              If you're good at Googling, you can probably come up with more Roman locations for the chains.


              1. re: summerUWS2008

                Appartements de vacances Rome Italie. Logement, appartements louer pour des vacances à Rome.
                Appartements de vacances à louer dans quelques minutes du centre-ville de Rome (Italie).
                Vous pouvez réserver votre appartement à Rome solidement en ligne.

      2. If you are interested in staying on the Mons Caelius, I would recommend you use the Italian spelling - Celio - to do your research today. I agree with Jen Kalb that Prati may not be the best neighborhood to be in for food.

        1. the campo de' fiori is where we rent every march. we shop at the campo every day.

          1. for our last three visits (including the one just ended two days ago!!) we've rented in trastevere and prior to that have rented in three or four spots on the "other side". for food, food products, environment, real romans and minimal tourist impact, we think it's the best - very NYC west village. it's also a very short walk to campo di fiore, right across the bridge which has a wonderful outdoor food market (just filled up on wonderful spices), but which can be very loud an night. for renting vs a hotel, imho, there's no question! we now have our favorite "bar" for morning coffee, favorite butcher for beautiful meats and other products and favorite panificio for great bread, hot and fresh every morning - what a wonderful place and culture!. buon viaggio!!

            4 Replies
            1. re: frankki

              frankki, we will be in Rome the end of next April for 5 nights and would love to rent an apartment in trastevere. Any advice on which site to rent from? We will be meeting our daughter in Florence after she finishes her classes there and after a few days will be spending more time in Rome. Any favourite places to eat in the area?
              Thanks for any advice.

              1. re: kadaffodil

                Hi kadaffodil - we've rented thru both and craig's list and those experiences were all very good. i think the apts were owned by the respective mgmt companies. the cost was definitely 50% less than a hotel and more comfortable, imo. great restaurants all around, its very neighborhood like, we like al fontanone for very good, straight forward lunch or dinner. really exceptional and somewhat pricey is trattoria la gensola (or something along those lines...on a street of the same name). great spot, trastevere.

                1. re: frankki

                  I ended up renting through when I went to Rome last year. I agree with Jen that Testacchio is a great chowish neighborhood that really feels like a neighborhood, including a park with a playground, and yet is very convenient to all the sites. I bought a one-week transit pass and had a blast.

                2. re: kadaffodil


                  Just a reminder that lodging suggestions are beyond the scope of our board.


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