Ilta Sanomat - December 2007

A Home in Rome
by Pirkka Siltaris

Translation of Pirkka Siltaris article: A home in Rome
Rent an apartment, if you are staying a long week-end in Rome. It is a nice and reasonable alternative for a small hotel room.

The plus-sides:
At the price of a small hotel room you will get a two-room apartment.
Your own privacy – no hotel noise.
Fully equipped kitchen, you can cook a breakfast or a meal

The minus-sides:
Contacting with the rental agency requires some language abilities, but a moderate English is enough.
No hotel breakfast, but a better one you can cook yourself, or buy in the nearest coffee-bar.

I have been travelling in Rome once or twice every year in order to meet an elderly relative, and I really love the city. But there was always one annoying thing.

If you would like to find a nice hotel room at a reasonable price, you will mostly be disappointed.
I and my wife have been in hotels at the price of 100 – 150 €/night. The journeys were taking from a couple of days to two weeks. In most times we felt that the rooms were not worth of that money.

Then, four years earlier, we finally had enough of this, when were in a hotel near Piazza Fiume.

The double-bed and originally white leaning chair made the tiny room full. The dirty wall papers were depressing. Through the window we could see nothing but a wall, and hear the heavy traffic noice.

The hotels around the main railway-station Termini with equal prices are of the same level.
Yes, you can get a better room in Rome, but be prepared to pay at least 200 €/night.

Then we tried to find an alternative simply by googling ”accommodation in Rome”. And we found a cornucopia.

By today, we have rented an apartment four times using two agencies.
We know Rome quite well, so we can use the public traffic and need no map to go around the center. The first apartment was situated in wealthy Parioli outside the historical center of Rome.

The 50 square meters apartment consisted of a living room, a bedroom, a kitchenette and a large bathroom and a terrace of 40 square meters. The apartment must have belonged to a film maker,
as in the library there were many film-related books in English and Italian.
The level of Parioli district can be discriped by the fact, that there were two shirt taylors and two car stores in the neighborhood. The first car store only sold Jaguars and the other only Aston Martinis.

With a couple of friends we rented an apartment of 100 square meters in Trastevere in the center. Besides the large living room there was two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a wonderfully equipped kitschen. The price was 210 €/night. Divided by four the price for each
person it was only 50 €/night.

Once we wanted to go away from the noise of Rome, and stayed in Tivoli, situated 30 kilometer from Rome. We lived in a modernly built and equipped flat of 70 square meters, which was built in two bottom floors of a medieval defence tower. The price was 120 €. .

The latest experience we had in last October. It was also the first time, that were were slightly dissapointed. The flat was in Trastevere in a small house with two floors. At the photos if the agency we could not see, that there was no wall between the living room and bedroom, only a book shelf. Neither was the flat cleaned before our arrival, but this problem was taken care within a couple of hours and one phone call.

Anyhow, three person received a lovely apartment and a most beautiful courtyard with palms, cypresses and pine trees at the price of 159 €/night.

When you live in an apartment, it is so easy to mix up with the locals.The neighbours in the same house begin to say hello right from the beginning, the the same when you go to a shop or restaurant for the second time.

There in an old saying: Roma – non basta una vita, Rome, one life is not enough to learn to know it.

The Australian Jill and Leon Kammer have for six years managed a company, that rent apartments in Italy, France and Spain. Before that they have lived in Thailand and USA.

For us it is a small advantage to be foreigners. The Italians do not always understand, which kind of things the foreign clients can find strange or difficult, tells Leon Kammer.

In Rome the agency is renting hundreds of apartments yearly. A part of there apartments can also be found in the lists of other agencies.

We have clients throughout the world. Our Amercian clients are the most challenging, because they have higher expectations. From Finland we only have received a few clients, mostly women, that travel with each other.

And this how to get there:

Finnair and Blue1 fly to Rome. From the airport to the apartment you can go either by your own means, or using the transport, which is provided by rental agencies. In that case a driver is waiting at the airport with a sign with your name on it. Then he will take you to your apartment in a Mercedes Benz. This takes 55 €, a little more than a taxi, but the driver takes you directly to the right place.

In a metropolis, there are always people that have extra apartments. They do not want to rent them
permanently. This has made an occasion to many companies, that arrange to short time rentals.
Prices by one night vary between 80 – 500 €. With that much money you will get a luxury apartment.

The photo texts:

1 Casa Bianca. The price of the ground floor apartment situated in a peaceful courtyard was 159 €/night.. You cannot get the same privacy in a hotel room.

2. Spanish Steps: La dolce vita.

3. Casa Bianca. The aparment is provided with a small terrace, were you can have for instance your breakfast.

4. The Australian Jill and Leon Kammer are managing an agency, that provides short-term apartment rentals.

5. Gianicolo. The view can you see from the Finnish Institute of Rome called Villa Lante, situated on the Gianicolo-hill.