Friday, July 3, 2009

Rome Trip Report

I was lucked out to find this charming 4-room Bed and Breakfast on a 2nd floor of an apartment building, B&B Baldassini in the heart of Rome. Not only that it's only 5 minutes walk from the Pantheon, this hotel was within walking distance of good restaurants, grocery stores, ATMs, a travel agent (where we purchased all of our train tickets for the rest of our trip in Italy), and gelatarias!

The owner, Francesco Carta, was very accommodating. He served us our breakfast in our room, which I loved, so I could take the time to just savor all of the great selection and discuss the day's plan with my husband! Breakfast was abundant: coffee, tea, yogurt, fruits, cereal, cheese, ham, bacon and eggs. One thing that we wish that we would have known sooner was that he was a sommelier! Had we known that he had wealth of knowledge on wine, we would have grilled him more to give us more recommendations on wine!

We stayed 2 nights in their small room, for a rate of 100 Euro/night (a private bathroom right outside the bedroom) and another 2 nights in their larger room for a rate of 150E/night (with in-suite bathroom & small refrigerator). Upon departure, Francesco gave us a small parting gift of Italian coffee maker and a package of coffee so we could make our own Italian coffee at home. How thoughtful!

He also gave me a discount code for other future guests who may be interested in staying with him (For 10Euro off your final bill, use this code: BBB791).

Restaurant & Gelataria Reviews

Maccharoni, Piazza delle Coppelle 44, (around the corner from our hotel)
We saw this place recommended on Frommer's, Francesco recommended it, and it's very close to our hotel, so we decided to eat here one night. It's a large friendly restaurant with friendly service. Neither one of us wanted anything too heavy, so we each ordered a pasta dish (mine was a spaghetti carbonara, and DH ordered tortellini with walnut and blue-cheese sauce), and a 1/2 liter of the house red. We were too full for dinner, so we ordered a small refreshing dessert of lemon sorbet in vodka, served in a champagne glass. No esperesso for us, we needed our sleep! Bill came to 30 Euro. Food was good, but not memorable. An American couple over at the next tables left two bills of 50 Euro upon departure. As you can see here, you can really spend as little as 30E like we did, or go up to 100 Euro like they did. Also, if you're looking for something romantic and quiet, this isn't a good place. Our rating: 3.5/5

Pizzeria Baffetto, Via del Governo Vecchio 114
We landed at this place when DH and I decided that we wanted to have a light supper. It was around 9:45PM when we started standing in the line in front of this small pizzeria along with other tourists and locals, wanting a table. About 45 minutes later, they called us to settle into a table of two sandwiched between another two tables of fast talking Italians downing local beers and thin-crust pizzas. I ordered the house special, which was a Baffetto, pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, onions, sausages, roasted peppers and eggs. DH ordered a pizza with sausages, onion, and cheese. The pizzas were cooked to perfection, and oh... so satisfying. The best pizza we had in Italy. Our rating: 5/5.

Osteria del Gallo, Vicolo di Montevecchio 27
We came here during our last night in Rome, wanting to have something a little bit more special, and saw the recommendation from the Frommer's guide book. We sat outside and ordered two pasta dishes to split, a salad (fresh buffalo mozzarella salad with hard boiled eggs) and 1/2 liter of house red. The portions were smaller than what I had seen at other restaurants, and the red wine was one of the worst I've ever had. Bill came to 34 Euro, they overcharged us, thinking we had the bread while we didn't. Our rating: 2/5.

Gelateria Giolitti, 3-5 Via Uffici del Vicario 40
This place, popular among the tourists and local alike, is supposedly the oldest ice cream shop in the city. Rating: 4/5

Blue Ice Gelateria, near the Trevi Fountain
We stumbled upon this place while walking around, and decided to stop. They had more of the non-traditional flavors with bright colors gelatos. They had probably the most generous servings of gelatos we've seen in Italy, and trust me, we visited A LOT! Rating: 3.5/5

-We made reservation for a taxi to pick us up at the airport, and we thought that it was worth it. Cost was 35 Euro. We used the Limousine Service (Alessandro Guastella +39-380-508-3981).

-After researching about whether to use the Roma Pass, we decided to go ahead and purchase it during our 3-day stay in Rome. At 23Euro/person, you'd really have to visit at least two museums and use the public transportation for it to break-even. We used this Roma pass to get into the Borghese (you will have to call the reservation line, and tell them that you will be using the pass to get in, they will then give you a reservation #) & the Roman Forum with the Colosseum. I found this pass very convenient because it cuts down the amount of wait time. For example, at the Borghese, I just needed to show them the pass and give them my reservation # then they gave me our tickets. For the Colosseum, I was able to use this as a ticket. We used the public transportation while going to the Vatican and also to Termini.

-The two places we made reservations for were the 1) Borghese Gallery and 2) the Vatican (the Roma pass excludes admission to the Vatican). We had to call for the Borghese, but made the Vatican reservation online.

-We also made our train ticket reservation at a travel agent directly across from our hotel instead of going to Termini. They did not charge us a booking fee. I had already researched the schedules for trains for the remaining legs of our trip, so I just showed the travel agent all of our desired departure times (to Florence, then from Florence to Venice, and finally to Milan).

1 comment:

Molly Jean said...

That sounds like such a good time! And I love the brightly colored gelatos...