Rome, Florence and Venice are the “holy trinity” of Italian travel – an iconic itinerary that almost every tour operator suggests as part of the Grand Tour of Europe. Rome, the historical godhead, Florence the inspirational daughter and Venice the spiritual muse. There are few cities in the world that create such a mystical union of travel experiences. But seeing and savoring the hyperbolic landscape of Rome requires a different philosphy of travel, one with a less is more point of view.
We’re beginning with accommodations outside the tourist flow at an home on Via Gregorio VII near Vatican City. We’ve been to Rome before and following our paradigm that the quality of travel is far more important than quantity we decided to look into an different type of stay this time around, a private residence listed by a community of global “hosts” who rent out an entire home, flat, apartment or even an extra bedroom to travelers looking to get off the tourist radar. We stayed at properties like this before and we find it an interesting alternative to the standard type of travel accommodations. It allows us to live like a local, can oftentimes be more economical and less constrained than a standard hotel room.
Internet sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, HomeAway and FlipKey by Trip Advisor connect host individuals to travelers who desire to rent short-term lodging in “homes and apartments, private rooms, castles, boats, manors, tree houses, tipis, igloos, private islands and other properties” to create a more personalized travel experience where the how and why of travel is just as important as the sites you see. And if you’re wondering as to whether there’s a lot to pick from, in only five years Airbnb has created a “shared marketplace” that offers 300,000 listings in 35,000 cities in 192 countries.
Past properties we stayed at included an apartamento in Milano a few blocks from Piazza Duomo and a residence apartment in Portogruaro near Venice. Our host in Rome offered a flat with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, linens, internet access, furnished kitchen and terrace. When renting a property through an agency like Airbnb remember to inquire about whether heat is included which can be expensive in European countries and information about deposits and cleaning fees and whether bathrooms will be shared and if you will have full or limited access to a kitchen. Also map the destination on an expanded view and street level to make sure of the location, surroundings, walking distances to sites you want to see and proximity to public transportation. Read property reviews on multiple sites for what others are saying about their experience. Don’t just rely on pictures.
Depending on your travel goals and the number in your group (in our case 8) you may find that seeing and savoring Italy from the comfort of your own private space is the ideal way to travel and the home-away-from-home atmosphere these types of accommodations provide just what you need.
Our Airbnb “host” confirmed our stay in Rome with the promise that “Rome is waiting for you”. We’ll return at the end of October to let you know how we were welcomed!