I'll start by the car picking us up at Fiumico Airport. They were on time and ending up having to wait for us. It took forever for the airline to unload the baggage from the plane. The driver, Christian, was charming and funny and the car was a black Mercedes. There was no meter, just a driver driving us to the hotel. He drove us briefly around all the major sites, giving us a general lay of the land... telling us places to avoid and "must see and do".
NOTE: Do NOT rent a car in Italy--except maybe in the country. First of all, the lines on the roads and the street light signals seem to be almost meaningless. Everyone drives very fast and if there are any rules, none of them seem to apply--even though there are police everywhere. The police do not seem interested in traffic violations. But they are ominpresent if you need assistance, directions, etc.
SO... we arrive through a maze of tiny, narrow, cobblestone streets to Relais Maddalena. We go up the stairs (about 20 of them) from the street level entry and we are greeted by warm smells and pure quiet. Francesco Amore, the owner and operator of Relais Maddalena, greets us at the top of the stairs and helps with luggage while he checks us in. He is gentle and kind and the helpfulness he exhibited during the reservation process (and the million questions I had for him between the time I found him, finally making the reservation and arriving) were all handled with grace and kindness. Never hurried. This continued throughout the checkin process and is continuing now even during our stay. The Romans are NOT in a hurry. Unless they are driving. However, in this pedestrian central location you do not need a car. In fact, if you had one, I have no idea where you would park it.
We have been here three nights so far and have walked right out the front door to the Pantheon (about a half block away) the Coliseum, St. Peter's Basiica, Vatican City and Museum, Trevi Fountain, Four Fountains, etc. etc. Today we are walking to the Borghese Gardens and the Spanish Steps. No need for a car. None. It would be a waste of money since there is nowhere to park, and extremely dangerous to pretend to know the ways of the road of the Romans.
Relais Maddalena is located on Piazza della Maddalena, with several quaint restaurants on the street level, all with outdoor cafes. Across the street/plaza is the Roman Catholic Church, Santa Maria Maddalena. BEWARE: the streets are stone and are very uneven. Leave your spike heels at home. Not only will they get caught between the stones, get ruined and you would twist your ankle, you will be walking everywhere and a good pair of walking shoes (I recommend Merrills) are going to be your best friend
In addition to be the finest host, Francesco offers excellent suggestions for dining in the area. All, of course, within walking distance of Relais Maddalena. And when I say walking distance, I mean it will take you just a few minutes to walk there. On our first night we dined at Casa Bleve. Lorenzo was our waiter. Last night, New Year's Eve we dined at Grano and our waiters were Stefano and Ferederico. Night before at Ristorante La Rosetta (and our waiter was Enzo) which is right between Relais Maddalena and the Pantheon. All were good. Although Ristorante La Rosetta is all a al carte. No salads or anything like that. You have to ask for it and they (actually not "they" just the one rude woman at the door) begrudgingly tosses together a somewhat pathetic salad.
I'm not sure where we'll be eating tonight or tomorrow night, but I'm sure that the people will be warm and vibrant, the food will be deliciious and the service will make fond memories. I love Rome. It's crowded and busy, but I have never seen more jaw dropping architecture and history in my life.
Relais Maddalena is the perfect, and I really mean perfect, location for soaking it all in. In the center of the pedestrian district, you don't have to hear cars, traffic, etc. And the walls of this 14th Century building are literally 2.5 - 3 feet thick. The windows are super sound/weather proof, but it's nice to keep them open to hear the people on the piazza below speaking Italian, playing flute, smell the pizzas and pastas cooking and just absorbing the wonderfulness.
Francesco has thought of everything: Large (even by American standards) comfortable rooms, large comfortable beds, stylish furniture, large equipped bathrooms (blow dryer, slippers, towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, flosser, shampoo, soap, razor, shower cap) stocked *complimentary* mini refrigerator with different juices, waters, prosecco, beer and nuts, chocolates and cookies. The breakfast each morning includes a selection fresh delicious cheeses, hams, proscuittos, breads, pastries, fruits, juices, coffee, cappuccino. I love this place!
It's going to be hard to go back home, to reality.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Relais Maddalena stands right in the middle of everything! This cozy 6 room guest house is the ideal couch for those who love to get to Rome on a weekend for a romantic getaway or a quick tour of the historical centre. We are just 300 feet away from the Pantheon and the location is really convenient if you like to enjoy the beauty of monumental Rome without using the car or public transportation: everything is at hand and can be reached with an easy walk. The rooms are all elegant and functional; you will find hand made upholstery and fine antiques, king size beds and sound proof windows, plus all the comfort of modern technology: air conditioning/heating, minibar, satellite and cable TV, internet connection, safebox and more! Many rooms have a lovely view outside on piazza della Maddalena and on piazza Rondanini, two among the neatest small piazzas of central Rome.We clean the rooms every day and change the linen every 2 days, and towels every time is needed. All our rooms have private bathrooms, which are spacious and comfortable. The staff is helpful and will do nearly anything to make your stay in Rome the most enjoyable. Ciao!. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Relais Maddalena Hotel Rome