Rome Travel Guide

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Few Adventures in Renting an Apartment in Rome

No, the authors of Rome the Second Time don't own a place in Rome.  Rome apartments are expensive--on the order of New York City--so we rent.  Indeed, our book and this blog owe a lot to our experiences renting more than 20 apartments in different areas and neighborhoods of the city. 

Until a few years ago we rented on Craigslist, and for the most part that worked out fine.  But not always.  Perhaps a decade ago we landed in Rome on the Friday before Easter, took a taxi with our 8 pieces of luggage to an apartment we had rented behind the Vatican, and within an hour had been thrown out of the apartment, basically for asking for a receipt for the E1500 we had just handed to the 80-year-old owner (we weren't "cultured," she said).  That's a story worth telling in detail, some other time. 

Who is that woman?
Another rental, in San Paolo, worked out great in most respects.  It was 5 minutes from Metro B; 2-minutes from a vibrant shopping era, yet off the beaten path; came with a gated and covered communal garage for our scooter; and had a sweet living room/dining/kitchen space--that "open floor plan" that's so "desirable" these days--in a "modernist" mode (see pic at left).  Because parts of it were semi-"interrato" (below ground level--the building was on a hillside), our internet connection wasn't the best, and we had to hang out the window to use the phone.  

Sky drain

The apartment had one other characteristic that's common in Roman rentals: not everything functioned perfectly.  It's a cliche, but here it is: Italians love design but don't seem to value engineering as much.  So things look good but sometimes don't work.

Our San Paolo apartment had two dysfunctional systems.  The door to the sky drain, which allows the person washing dishes to place rinsed dishes directly above the sink for natural draining--actually Swedish technology, by Ikea--was sprung and useless.  We solved this problem by holding the door open with a pasta roller (photo, right). 

Another pole to the rescue

The second problem was the small washing machine in the bathroom, whose "on" button would not stay depressed by itself.  Here, too, a pole came to the rescue, this one wedged between the "on" button and the nearby sink, spanning the bidet. 

So be prepared to be creative.  And pack two poles. 


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