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06 August 2013

B&B Gli Artisti in Rome & The Vatican Area

Here it is. For once, when someone asks me if I can recommend a place to stay in Rome close to the Vatican, I can easily say B&B Gli Artisti with confidence. How many times have I received questions like this and I always remain with a blank. After this weekend, things have changed because I had the opportunity to stay at the B&B Gli Artisti myself. 

By invitation of the bed and breakfast itself, we set the date to try out their place. Whatever I write in here is based on my own opinion and experience. So nothing is biased and under no means was I asked by the bed and breakfast to write what they want me to relay. 

The pictures above are of my room, the Yellow Room. It is very spacious, has its own bathroom with ample space to move around, air conditioner, safe, flat screen TV, access to free wi-fi, hair dryer, and toiletries. And one very important aspect - it's very clean! When looking for a place to stay in, that is paramount to my choice of hotel.

The pictures above and below are of the Pink Room. It can accommodate 4 by adding two additional single beds. Like the Yellow Room, it also has the same amenities.

The breakfast part of the B&B is something to sit down to and start the morning right. There's a selection of prosciutto (ham), cheese, Italian pastries, cereals, yogurt, bread, jams, juice, tea and coffee. To be more exact, they won't let you go out without getting filled up first.

Adding to its homey feature, the small kitchen corner can be used by the guests freely and  the contents (water, yogurt, juice) of the fridge are also for the guests' consumption. 

Aside from all these things I have written, another fundamental feature of the B&B is its great location.  A Metro stop (Ottaviano) is just around the corner and it's just a very short walk to the Vatican. In its proximity is also a plethora of restaurants, pizzerie (pizza places), gelaterie (ice cream parlors), banks, laundromat, farmacie (pharmacies), agenzie di viaggio (travel agencies) and every shop you can imagine. You really are at the center of the urban hub!

The B&B has 5 rooms and occupies one floor of a residential building. It is not visible from the outside. The picture of the main door of the building is above. Ring the B&B at the intercom, take the elevator to the 4th floor and you are there! The reception area is the breakfast room itself where you will be welcomed with a cozy atmosphere of the place. It feels like a home away from home. There is no curfew so you don't need to worry about being closed out. If your flight leaves way after the check-out time of 10:30 AM, you can make arrangements with the B&B for your luggage.

You can find all the essential information at the B&B Gli Artisti's official site where you can also do your booking directly.

It is just a few meters from the main road, Via Ottaviano where the Metro (Ottaviano) and bus stops are and it's also the road that leads to the Vatican. There's paid parking along the road and the other roads in the vicinity of the B&B.

As a conclusion, my stay at B&B Gli Artisti had been a very pleasant experience, having friendly service, good food and a clean and beautiful place to go sleep in. Since I live in the outskirt of Rome, it had been a fun experience to stay at the center of the city for a couple of days and be a tourist. So what I went through these couple of days at the B&B and around the city is the same experience that all of you had or will be having when you visit Rome. Below are some pictures I did while I was in the area.

Even if I had been to the Vatican innumerable times, I cannot resist going inside the basilica and go around this magnificent church and that includes taking pictures too. This time, I also opted to go up to the cupola (dome) to take pictures of Rome on a clear, sunny day. The last time I had been there was more than a decade ago with a manual camera.

To access the cupola, the queue is the on the right of the basilica's entrance. Entrance is €5 if you are taking all 500+ steps or €7 if you are taking the elevator halfway up but still leaving you with 320 steps to deal with. If you have any heart problems, you are advised not to go. If, however, it is in the middle of summer, very hot and full of people, think twice about going up. It can get too hot in the last piece of the tight spiral staircase with very little ventilation. When I went up there, it was 40 degrees Celsius outside, extremely hot and full of people. It was not the smartest thing I did because I almost passed out from the lack of oxygen but I made it along with the others who also suffered from the heat. One poor woman actually passed out and there was a nice person who gave me some fresh grapes to put some sugar and liquid in my body. The best time to go up there would be in the cooler months.

Eating around the area is not a problem at all because it's overflowing with possibilities. Knowing where to go is a big plus so you don't waste your money & time in looking for a good place to experience Italian food. Here are some possibilities where I, myself had some good food.

Duecento Gradi Bread & Condiments, Piazza Risorgimento, 3 (Pictures above). This is a casual and modern sandwich bar that serves panini (sandwiches), salads & desserts. I've been here twice and I would come back again when I am in the area because the sandwiches are great! It's called Duecento Gradi (pronounced du-we-chen-toh gra-di) because the bread they use is exclusively prepared for them by a bakery and baked at 200 degrees Celsius, which is its English translation. Open from lunch until very late at night. It's just a couple of blocks from the B&B, at the main square, Piazza Risorgimento.

Castroni, Via Ottaviano, 55. Just around the corner of the B&B, stands one of my favorite food shopping places. There are two of these in the area. The bigger one is in Via Cola di Rienzo, the main commercial road that leads from Piazza Risorgimento. It's a food shop with products from different countries and Italian regional food items that cannot be found in the regular supermarkets.

Lemongrass Gelateria, Viale Giulio Cesare, 56 (corner Via Barletta). It's actually right next to the Metro stop of the B&B across the road. Finding this place had been accidental when, looking for some gelato after a night walk going back to the B&B, this lighted up, clean-looking gelateria came to view. The gelato is very good. It's another place that I am earmarking for the future. Worth a stop and a big order!

Piacere Molise, Via Candia, 60. Walking distance to the B&B, this is an air-conditioned restaurant (the A/C matters a whole lot when it's sizzling outside!) that specializes in regional food of Molise (south, next to Calabria) and traditional Italian plates. Good food, especially the sword fish rolls and the grilled one, with a warm family ambiance provided by the owners.

Other places to try are these two. They were recommended by the B&B but both were closed, being a Sunday and it's also the period of summer closings for the shops & restaurants when they go on holidays too.

Fa-bìo, Via Germanico, 43. A sandwich, juice & smoothie bar situated at the street after the B&B going towards the Vatican. I've heard good reviews about this place, the quality of the ingredients being very good and the food being delicious too.  Open all week, except Sundays.

L'Isola della Pizza, Via degli Scipioni, 45. You won't miss this one at all because it's just right next door to the B&B. It's a pizzeria & bisteccheria (steakhouse) whose popularity has grown so much with the locals that it can get crowded at times, according to the B&B. Their charcoal-grilled Danish beef steak is popular. Remember to book a table. Refer to their site for the number.