No, I am not moving into a Brexit rant here, just reminding myself and my readers how fortunate we are to be able to hop off for a short break, and find ourselves in just a few hours in one of the most magnificent cities in the world - Barcelona, Prague, Bordeaux, Florence, Budapest, Athens and more, right on our doorsteps. In email conversation with an Australian friend the other day, she reminded me just what a bonus this is.
All too often, we become blasé about these great cities, passing through without pausing to take a look (been there, done that). But it is such a treat to return to a city several times, and take the opportunity to explore further. We decided to do just that before joining Seven Seas Explorer in Civitavecchia in October. And the first question was, where to stay in Rome? Of course there are some lovely hotels, but I was really looking for location: somewhere that would enable us to walk to everywhere, clean and comfortable, at a reasonable price. I came across the Tridente Collection and their range of boutique hotels, selecting the Palazzo Navona for just that combination: welcoming, stylish, intimate and well-priced, in the perfect location.
Unpretentious and friendly, the four star Palazzo Navona is just around the corner from the Piazza Navona, so right in the centre of everything. Rainy October weather meant we were unable to take advantage of the exclusive rooftop terrace with views over the skyline of the Eternal City, but this stylish location, with rooftop bar, must be the perfect escape from the summer bustle of the streets after a long day's sightseeing during the stifling summer months.
One of our regular moans about Italian hotels is that style takes precedence over comfort, but we were pleased to take a look at a variety of rooms including Classic, Executive and Open Suites, all tastefully decorated and well equipped, and with a surprising amount of space for a city centre hotel, and the most inviting cosy beds. A varied breakfast buffet is served daily.
We were particularly impressed by the excellent and attentive service, with a warm welcome and good advice at the friendly front desk, and charming attention in the public areas.
Our visit was brief, but as we were discussing our day over breakfast, we fell into conversation with the people at the next table, who were going to be returning to the city, on a cruise, the following summer, bringing all the family (grown up children and their partners, and their mother, slightly slow on her feet). They had decided to come for a few days to work out the perfect single day sightseeing tour for the family! What dedication…
Of course what they will miss out on is the highlight of your 'when in Rome' plans, which is of course to do as the Romans do. Sit out on a sunlit square, enjoying a coffee or a plate of spaghetti cacio e pepe, and watching the world go by. Drift off to take a look at an archeological site, spend a gentle half hour in a Baroque church, then it must be time for another rest, a gelato, and a look at the stylish shops.