Our Roman correspondent, Annie Shapero, sat down with us recently to talk about her experience reviewing hotels in Rome for EuroCheapo.
1. Favorite hotels
1 Step from St. Peter's hostel is unreal. The rooms are clean and huge, and you can practically see your reflection in the floor. The same goes for the bathrooms! The rooftop apartment (for €130 a night) may not be cheap, but it's so dreamy that it's worth it.
Colors Hostel and Hotel has something for a range of tastes and budgets, and the staff is great.
2. Favorite thing about working in Rome
Rome is renowned for its rather lackadaisical attitude to work, which I've concluded to be either the cause or effect of the simply fabulous places to take breaks. And no one does breaks like the Romans. Not once did I finish a hotel visit in under half an hour. We had coffees and chatted away about the tourism industry and general goings on about town. It's far from efficient, yet when you're on your feet all day, there's no turning down a chat and some refreshment.
3. What surprised you about Rome?
I was expecting hotels to have sky-high rates and dingy furnishings. So wrong! Not only are there loads of clean, cozy hostels and pensions, some of the bigger guns on the mid-range hotel circuit offer great service at reasonable rates.
4. Funny story or two
After 45-minute long visit at the one hotel, I was ready to call it a day, when the super friendly concierge raced after me yelling, "Hey Annie, do you know why this street is called Vicolo delle Palline?" It was hot and I was tired, and kind of lost it for a second. (In Italian, “palline” means "little balls.") Anyway, it has to do with the Medici family crest.
When I first passed by 1 Step from Saint Peter's (see above), it was around 11 a.m, and the manager, Friedrich, answered the buzzer and asked me to please come back later as he was still sleeping. Love it!
5. City secret
You can enjoy copious amounts of free food at nearly every club and bar, starting around 7 p.m. The aperitivo originated as a light snack at happy hour. In typical Roman fashion, it has exploded into an all-you-can eat buffet paradise. All for the price of one drink.
6. Favorite local food item
It's a toss up. Carciofo alla giudia is a pressed and fried artichoke, akin to the bloomin' onion, but smaller, crispier and (of course) an artichoke. My other top pick is Fior di zucca. This is the goldenrod blossom on the end the zucchini, stuffed with fresh mozzarella and the whisper of an anchovy for a kick. It's fried too. Don't ask me why they're all so thin!
7. Highlights of reviewing period
I live in Rome, so the best part of my experience was meeting Vivien and Tom, laughing like crazy and having an excuse to fall in love with my city all over again.
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