Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Villa Spalletti Trivelli

Italy

A perfect Roman retreat with rare elegance, exceptional service and every comfort imaginable

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The Suite Offer

 

30% off Best Available Rates for Grand Deluxe and Garden Suite bookings, with inclusions such as buffet breakfast, complimentary mini bar in-suite and free access to gym and Turkish bath.

 

Minimum stay 2 nights, valid 7th January to March 29th, July 22nd to August 30th and November 1st - December 19th 2018. Blackout dates may apply.


 

 

Luxury Explorer exclusive offer:


Room upgrade upon availability, Bottle of Spalletti Trivelli wine in your room and €30 food and beverage voucher per stay.


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Villa Spalletti Trivelli

Location

Via Piacenza, off the Via del Quirinale, Rome

Travel Information

Leonardo da Vinci International Airport - 35 mins

Top Tips

Rome is best viewed on foot - and almost every attraction of note is accessible from VST

5-Star X-Factors

The honesty bar beneath a Rubens painting of cherubs blowing trumpets

MORE REVIEWS OF
THIS PROPERTY

Spalletti al dente
Cherubs and honesty

MORE REVIEWS OF
THIS PROPERTY

Spalletti al dente
Cherubs and honesty

Spalletti al dente

It doesn’t take much convincing to get me to Rome. What’s more, after this last stay, it tops the charts as my most profound and beautiful city of all time. The added benefit of staying somewhere that blends in seamlessly with the Eternal City's pace, history, and culture, makes it all the more special. Sometimes glitz and glamour are simply a distraction, or too excessive and surplus to requirement.

On the other hand, stylish sophistication, with a patrician grandeur that feels effortlessly resplendent, marries well with this city. Besides, we did everything on foot, and stepping out felt as good as stepping in. The location is excellent: situated on one of the seven hills of Rome, the Quirinale, it benefits from an exclusive setting near the majestic ministerial buildings with huge plane trees opposite the noble entrance, as well as having its own private landscaped gardens.

An aristocratic neo-classical villa

Villa Spalletti Trivelli is the former private residence of a highly esteemed aristocratic family. Built over a century ago, it seems young for Rome but its neo-classical build and dusky pink hue are extremely befitting. Described as a boutique hotel, it is a far cry from small, quaint and bijou: it has only 12 deluxe rooms or suites. However, each one is classically bespoke and palatial in feel, with soaring ceilings and enormous wood-framed windows with original shutters that face either the villa’s private gardens or those of the Quirinale.

The en-suite bathrooms are capacious and grand: clad in golden marble with a large shower, a deep long bathtub, twin vanity units with plenty of Ren potions. In the suites, the polished antique furniture, original paintings and carefully chosen Rubelli fabrics are exactly what you would hope for, while each room is fitted with the necessary mod-cons for today’s speed-dial traveller. The usually ‘hands off’ mini bar is gratis. Now that’s a first. However, you don’t pay for a drink in your own home, and that’s just it: they want you to feel at home. And you do; it feels less like a five-star luxury hotel and more like an all-star stately townhouse.

The reception rooms are magnificent. They are furnished with a collection of the family’s finest antiques, along with breathtaking wall hangings, thread-perfect vintage Mahal rugs – which are splayed across the pristine parquet floors – while comfortable, puffed and preened seating areas are positioned around marble fireplaces. The museum-worthy oil paintings, by renowned 'Old Masters', are a constant source of admiration, while the refined wood-panelled library, housing one of Rome’s most outstanding private book collections, is so fabulous that it is recognised by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. It is a stately residence, however, it is grand without being grandiose. Besides, it is an honour for them to have ‘you’ as their guests.

I was travelling with my brother and sister and we stayed in a luxury suite with an additional bedroom, along with two bathrooms (and two mini bars) facing the majestic trees on the Quirinale. It worked extremely well: flowing from area to area until at night when the heavy doors between the rooms made the bedrooms totally independent: girls in one, boy in the other. The air-conditioning was so sublime you barely noticed it was not an earthly breeze keeping you cool. But, this is the Eternal City, and the air outside was still hot and balmy, so blocking out the sound along with the heat is paramount. The handmade, monogrammed linen and large comfortable beds made sleep sound.

Rise and shine

A morning coffee, brought swiftly up to the room, was followed by a fabulous banquet-style breakfast in the glorious dining room with panels of de Gournay hand-painted wallpaper, overlooking the private gardens. Breaking the fast was akin to a Roman feast, with every type of breakfast wish available, including the freshest of fruit alongside cereals and muesli, as well as delectably creamy mozzarella and butter-soft prosciutto. There is also a lengthy menu of internationally recognised cooked alternatives. If you are walking all day, as we were, this gourmet fuelling works a treat.

So, we arrived at our private ‘villa’ on the Sunday evening to a surprisingly sultry Rome, and without much ado we were shown to our boudoirs, while an arm waved in the direction of the drawing rooms and library, as if to say, ‘welcome home’. There is little fuss here. You make your own drinks at the honesty bar, beneath an outstanding Rubens painting of cherubs blowing trumpets. It’s not really an honesty bar; it’s a courtesy bar. We then sat in the garden under the contemporary gazebo beside the water feature, with a long, ice-filled drink, and felt deeply grateful to have Villa Spalletti Trivelli as our home from home for three nights.

An insight into Rome

On our first night we walked around the corner to La Taverna dei Monti, a cheerful trattoria with gaudy lighting that served good, honest, homespun Italian food. We had superbly fresh rucola and super-sweet tomato salads, with lashings of shaved Parmesan, seafood pasta and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. This came in at under 90 Euros for the three of us. My advice would be to sit outside and enjoy it under fairy lights!

The following day we left for our ‘Rome at a glance’ day, in appropriate footwear (heels on Roman cobbles are not recommended). It’s so easy to get distracted on a cultural walk here; an almost magnetic force draws you into extraordinary little shops. But alas, my brother would take no prisoners. Thus with map in hand and standing at well over 6ft 5’, he marched us centurion-style from Basillica to church to fountain to steps to obelisks and piazzas, with dog-eared, cultural determination. I am so glad we did. In less than 30-minutes we were at the Spanish Steps having appreciated a couple of resplendent churches. There are more churches in Rome than days in a year, so don’t worry if you miss one. The next will be equally special.

From here we strolled down to the famous Via del Corso and up to Piazza del Popolo where, in brilliant sunshine, we marvelled at the mesmerising, almost perfect symmetry and mirror image of the avenues of Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino. This triangle of roads is known as the Trident, forming a grand symmetrical antechamber to the heart of Rome. Twin Neo-Classical façades stand on either side of the Porta del Popolo while an Egyptian obelisk rises up in the centre of the square. The matching domes and porticoes of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto were commissioned by Pope Alexander VII to Carlo Rainaldi, and flank the beginning of Via del Corso.

Utterly glorious today, this square witnessed horrific brutality over the centuries. Even as late as the 19th century, public executions of the most horrific kind were carried out here, often as part of the Carnival opening ceremony. Sipping a refreshing iced-tea under the shade of an umbrella at a very expensive café, it’s hard to imagine such barbarism while looking across the now unified square to the lush Pincio Gardens.

Sights for sore eyes

We followed our café break with a strident walk down to Piazza Navona, a truly staggering and unique piazza that owes its shape to a Roman racetrack and its exquisite architecture to the Roman Baroque era. The Fontana del Moro has a central sea-god designed by Bernini, while supreme and spectacular churches surround the piazza. It is the most theatrical piazza in Rome and one to be enjoyed day and night. From here you can stroll down Via del Governo Vecchio lined with antique shops beneath magnificent Renaissance façades. It’s all simply wondrous.

With lunch looming at Maccheroni, a coveted brasserie off  Piazza delle Coppelle, we had just one more place to visit: the alluring Pantheon. Up until its Christianisation in the Middle Ages, this was a temple for ‘all the gods’ and was built in AD118-125, which is hard to believe when you get inside. However, what has remained a constant source of admiration, throughout time and turmoil, is the awe-inspiring domed interior, which has become an iconic symbol of Rome. With its only light source being the oculus, the hole at the top of the dome, it has a truly ethereal quality that seems to entrance every person who enters.

A few steps from here and we lunched at the rustic and intensely charming Maccheroni. With the sun still belting a late September heat, we enjoyed a great meal al fresco. Beware, the street is small and on several occasions I thought my brother was going to be thrown from his seat. The insalata caprese and beef carpaccio were good, while my brother’s fresh porcini with tagliatelli was even better. The wines were reasonably priced and well sourced.

Surrounded by suave Italians donning Raybans and slim frames, it buzzed with that heady mix of the rustic, authentic and fashionable. Now fully fuelled, we chose to meander down the surrounding streets with the map folded. We arrived at Campo De’ Fiori where the open-air market was coming to a close. Once again, we were charmed by yet a different personality within Rome’s multi-faceted character. Here the atmosphere is Bohemian and colourful with a true sense of the Medieval era, when this square was awash with swashbuckling inns.

A short stride away from the River Tiber and we stumbled across Area Sacra dell’Argentina, where in 1920 the remains of four temples were discovered. These date back to the Republican era and are some of the oldest in Rome, dating back to the early 3rd century BC.

Gelatos and grand hotels

We were now exploding with culture and with the sun showing no reprieve, we headed for a famous gelato house. This also came with a large glass of sticky Sambuca, which caused sore heads all round. However, it was such fun and we felt like legal kids. To end off our afternoon we wanted to admire Rome from atop in a coveted roof terrace, which we found at Grand Hotel De La Minerva, around the corner from the Pantheon. The panorama of a timeless golden Rome, with church bells ringing and sea gulls swooping, appeared breathtaking beneath the setting sun.

We were ready now to walk a gentle pace back to our little oasis, our serene villa, that felt like a wonderful haven on our returns. That night, at extortionate cost, we had a delectable plate of white truffle pasta at an established restaurant, called Rinaldi al Qurinale, around the corner from the hotel. We were served the first truffles of the season and presumably the most expensive, but were nonetheless a taste sensation that, if you love, will take you somewhere your wallet will just have to follow. After a quick toast to Rubens’ cherubs, we made our way to our cool boudoirs, but only after we jointly sighed (in awe) at the exquisite interiors of this grand and graceful retreat.

The colossus walk

On our second day, after another hearty breakfast in the splendid dining room, we marched the short walk to the Colosseum. This is about ten minutes from the hotel. My brother was missing only one thing this day: his armour. Perhaps the greatest amphitheater of all time, the Colosseum, never ceases to amaze as well as conjure up images of deadly gladiatorial combats along with gruesomely gory fights between, and with, wild animals. I think Russell Crowe has certainly helped us with this and I imagine his name is mentioned here several times a day.

Built in AD72 by Emperor Vespasian, largely for entertainment purposes, the Colosseum has weathered many storms and suffered considerable damage over time, but it’s majestic stature and awesome presence is always gripping. We followed this with our tour of the Forum, the centre of political, commercial and judicial life in central Rome. This takes some walking and digesting and, though it is absolutely fascinating, you need at least two hours to walk around the West and East Forum. There are so many remnants of temples, basilicas, arches, columns, Vestal Virgins as well as the Palatine Hill, where the legend says Romulus and Remus were brought up. A guide may well be worthwhile. We had my brother.

We meandered down to the River Tiber, passing the Circus Maximus. This was once ancient Rome’s largest stadium, where hundreds of thousands of spectators would gather in stands to watch the thrilling horse and chariot races, the last of which was held in AD549. If you look up from here to the Palatine Hill you get an idea of the enormous proportions of the emperors’ chambers and, of course, their view. We crossed the Tiber at Ponte Fabricio (the oldest bridge in Rome, built in 62BC), in order to lunch in the positively stylish, chic, bohemian, and altogether peaceful district of Trastevere. Here the Tiber resembles more of a wild gushing ravine than a city river.

Rome’s most picturesque ‘village’

The district of Trastevere is fiercely protected by its inhabitants who feel quintessentially Roman and who live in the most picturesque district of Rome; quaint old buildings in faded pastel shades, with shutters, window boxes, washing lines and parked up bicycles line the ancient cobbled streets, with a few trendy boutiques and bars in between. Beautiful medieval churches ring out at seemingly random times and we didn’t see a single bus. We felt really transported here, having been pleasantly discombobulated by our morning; it was a fabulous contrast and the perfect place for rest and respite after hard work.

The weather was still glorious and we enjoyed a lingering lunch at Ristoranti Sabatini in Piazza Santa Maria. The fried artichokes were sublime, as were the porcini on gluten-free pasta, and the Jermann Pinot Grigio was extremely well-priced. We even enjoyed the local music: a double bass and banjo played by two very short, fifty-something men, donning panamas, braces and waistcoats. I genuinely felt that Trastevere was somewhere I could have made more than a short stay, if only.

After wandering around the streets of this entirely charming ‘village’, we walked across Ponte Cestio (inscribed with the names of the Byzantine emperors who restored it) to the tiny island of Isola or Tiber Island. There is a church with a Romanesque bell tower, visible from afar, in the island’s piazza called San Bartolomeo all’Isola, which was built from the ruins of the Temple of Aesculapius in the the 10th Century. There is a genuine feeling of bygone-era, and sitting in the square sipping an espresso was enchanting. Where were we?

We walked back via the Capitol and Piazza Venezia, where the massive white ‘wedding cake’ in honour of Italy’s first king in 1911 – the Victor Emmanuel Monument – dominates the scene. A visit here is a must. The Capitol is the citadel of Ancient Rome with wide steps that lead up to Michelangelo’s spectacular Piazza del Campidoglio where he designed the staggering geometric paving and the façades of the buildings. It’s here that you can visit museums as well as admire some of the finest sculptures and paintings in Rome. Car-free, you can enjoy this visit without watching your step.

The last supper

Returning to Villa Spilletti Trivelli after walking around this extraordinary city simply feels right. There is no great contrast from the gems of your walkabout, no jarring on the senses, no taking you out of the specialness of this great legacy: it is a cultural complement.

That evening, after a drink in the garden, we walked to a small square around the corner from the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona, called piazza Rondanini. Rome at night is vibrant and its marvels are even more alluring after sunset. We dined at Le Volte Restaurant in the little piazza, a classic but upmarket trattoria with outside tables lit by lanterns and offering the best antipasto of our stay. Go for that alone. We then visited the Trevi Fountain, a resplendent, incandescent pale-green at night; it appeared even more dazzling than in daylight.

Rome needs to be revisited many times over. Each time you will discover something more exhilarating than before, even if it’s about one of the famous landmarks you have already appreciated. If it’s your first time, then it’s the beginning of a fascinating journey into the ‘worlds’ of a city that makes you feel liberatingly humble.

The following morning, my siblings drove off for their next adventure in Puglia, while I was (sadly) preparing myself for a return back to London. However, I had one more important experience to indulge in – a visit to the hotel’s wellness centre, downstairs in the cocoon-like lower floor of the villa. It glows in parts like an ancient golden tomb while, in others, it refreshes with a bright white vibrancy, plus there is also a fully-equipped gym, which is another story. There is a divine hammam, a tepidarium where you can book a salt-water float, an authentic steam room and sauna, along with meditative treatment rooms. I had a massage, a signature one, and it was excellent.

After sightseeing, wining and dining, along with three days of leg workouts, this spa is utopian. Next time the Vatican, oh and so much more…and a float!

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant

Cherubs and honesty

Imagine yourself sitting in a room underneath one of Rubens' famous classical paintings of cherubs. You are surrounded by antique 16th century Flemish tapestries and next to a cultural heritage, bond-awarded library filled with valuable, ancient books.

All of the furnishings are original pieces collected over the past few centuries, kept in pristine condition and give warmth, elegance and a sense of period to the salons around you. When the townhouse that you're in was built, it was the early 1900s and people such as the writer Bonfadini, Italy's Prime Minister, Sidney Sonnino and the Nobel Prize-winner Rabindranath Tagore drank, talked and read in its rooms, along with the owner Countess Gabriella Rasponi Spalletti Trivelli, niece to Napoleon's sister Carolina Bonaparte. You can still sense the aristocratic luxury they must have enjoyed all those years ago as you sip your cocktail from the honesty bar.

You are in Villa Spalletti Trivelli, a unique residence tucked away in Rome's city centre, owned by the Spalletti Trivelli family for the last 100 years. It is a moment's walk away from the Trevi Fountain and Rome's monumental area. You enter their villa as you would any private aristocratic home, by ringing the doorbell and awaiting the butler to greet you, which he did, along with the desk clerk and manager. I loved that. I loved how local I instantly felt to this well-established, notorious family, like I had been a dearly awaited, invited guest.

There are 12 deluxe rooms, six of which overlook the villa's own garden, and six facing the gardens of Quirinale. Spacious, light and beautifully decorated, each with a sophisticated energy cleaner system that purifies energy fields, as well as handmade pure linen sheets on every bed and all the modern amenities one would require. The hallways upstairs are filled with antiques and I particularly enjoyed how the family chose to leave their picture frames out spanning the last century and all its glory.

Suite heaven

We walked into our suite and the first thing we saw was the tall, gorgeous wooden double window that opened onto the garden below. The room was an airy, light space with its pale blue walls complementing the mahogany antique desk and side tables, and again, more stunning art to admire. The bathroom was the right mixture of marble and stone, using wood for warmth and style. Our suite was a generous size, which also offered another interconnecting room ideal for families. There are a few different options to choose from for interconnecting rooms, all exceptional and user friendly.

The size of the garden is unusual for a city centre and houses two glamorous gazebos in a classical Italian setting where you can have a drink, relax and enjoy the sounds of the water fountains. The villa has enjoyed weddings here and I couldn't imagine a more romantic, sensory-filled experience. The staff are trained to a delightful perfection where all requests are greeted with a smile and wish to help. We were unsure of our evening plans when we arrived, and the desk clerk merely needed to know if he should keep the chef on hold for us and what we might desire for dinner.

Needless to say, the food was delicious and the fact that I had been craving the 'special' on menu was indeed a treat. The honesty bar in the main sitting room was truly an honour to drink at. We made ourselves some fabulous cocktails having all labels of spirits and liqueurs on offer, a bell to ring for fresh mixers and no price tags attached. We were so excited by the choice that we barely noticed we were bar-tending under a Rubens!

The attention to detail in both sitting rooms and library is impeccable, with map prints, portraits, drawings and the most beautiful refined fabrics to take pleasure in. The library can also hold a meeting for up to 24 people with all the latest Wi-Fi technology hidden behind ancient books from the most prominent writers of all time.

Welcome wellness

The Hammam Energy Bar wellness centre is also purified by the cleanergy system and offers innovative treatments such as Energo-vibrational therapy, Cranio-sacral massage, 'floating' – which uses their purified water for its highly beneficial effects – as well as a modern fitness room with state-of-the-art equipment. There is a hairdresser available on request, a Turkish bath and naturopathy in addition to several beauty treatments. Fantastic.

Shopping and sight-seeing are extremely easy from the villa's location – you can literally walk to the Trevi Fountain. After a day out in the inescapably awesome setting of Rome, I must say coming home to Villa Spalletti Trivelli is the icing. However formal the structure and décor, the atmosphere is beyond comfortable and individual – they invite you to use it as your own. The Spalletti Trivelli family had a desire to share their landmark property with the public, keeping all its original art, furniture and history. They run it as a family house and want their guests to feel like they too have the opportunity to live in one of Rome's most prominent addresses.

Upon leaving, we thanked the manager and made sure we found the desk clerk who was always so sweet, even when we had him bring three cappuccinos in a row up to the room, one after another after another. He smiled and said that he hoped we enjoyed our stay in his villa. 'His' villa? Yes, the desk clerk was a Spalletti Trivelli himself, learning the fine art of how to run a successful luxury villa from the desk...up.

Jennifer Hamm
Jennifer Hamm


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