Paola's lovely apartment was perfect for us. Steeped in history yet beautifully modernized, it is a true oasis from the swirl of people on the Piazza di Espagna and Spanish Steps. The living room/dining room is lovely -- open and spacious, with high ceilings and beautiful wood floors throughout. Loved the hand-painted mural creating the view you'd see if could see through the apartment's back wall. Brilliant. The color palate is soothing; the vibe is welcoming. There is a nice selection of books about the city, as well as design. The vivacious and charming Paola greeted us on arrival and gave us a thorough rundown on the apartment and its excellent neighborhood. (She also left us wine, cookies and flowers and made us feel so welcome.) Paola excelled as a host from our very first communication, quickly responding to email and providing great restaurant tips for a special night out. (The tasting menu at Michelin starred Imago, atop the Hotel Hassler was an exceptional experience.) Paola arranged transportation for us to and from the airport with Maurizio, such a gem of a fellow. She also connected us with an excellent guide, Eva, a deeply informed and highly personable art historian, who led us on an evening tour at the Vatican Museum. Paola's own book of suggestions at the apartment was super helpful, too. She went above and beyond and truly couldn't have been kinder or more helpful. Practical details: the apartment's furniture is comfortable, including the beds -- linens are very good; the bathrooms and kitchen are on the small side by American standards, but hey -- you're in Europe! They're great. All was thoughtfully designed, attractive and functional. And the washer/dryer is a huge help: cuts down on how much you need to pack. There was lots of hot water and really good water pressure. Most of the apartment faces interior courtyards and has good natural light. When opened, the apartment's many windows give excellent ventilation and allow you to hear birdsong in the morning and the burble of the crowds outside. But close them and the place is super quiet. The location can't be beat: it puts you within very easy walking distance of major attractions, including the fantastic Villa Borghese and gardens -- the Central Park of Rome and home to several exceptional museums, contemporary and Etruscan. A climb up the Spanish Steps and a walk through the park puts you there and rewards you with some of the best views of the city, anywhere. Our crew walked six to seven miles a day, but if you're not into hoofing it there's a taxi stand a block away and the Espagna metro just around the corner. There's also a good grocery and a sweet organic market a few blocks away. If you're into high-end shopping this area is heaven. We're not, really, but loved our evening strolls and admired the art of the shop windows, just the same. And the gelato at nearby San Crispino is perfect pretty much any time. Back inside, the apartment's kitchen is well equipped and makes starting your day with breakfast at home, or ending it with drinks and snacks a pleasure. It's worth noting that one of the bedrooms is up a short flight of stairs; whoever is using that bedroom needs to be OK with that. No problem for our group -- plus, the upstairs bedroom has the benefit of a small terrace with a little staircase that takes you up to a bench directly on the Spanish Steps. Great for sipping a glass of wine and people watching. All in all, a great stay!
Paola's place is fabulous. It is very clean and the location could not be better - it is literally right on the Spanish Steps. Paola is a fantastic host. She is extremely communicative and is very helpful. She even helped me get a reservation at a restaurant that was fully booked. I will definitely stay here every time I come to Rome.