With tongue in cheek, La Papessa (a female Pope) has indeed been recommended and selected, but you’ll need to read more to understand the true context of this statement. It is made with a smile, and all respect to the solemn nature of the Conclave in Rome, yet the timing of this recommendation is certainly fortuitous.
So, on with the normal post and recommendation …… but please subscribe so you’ll be notified of future announcements and videos (as seen below).
When we initially arrived in Rome, we were there for one short day as we were scheduled to depart on a cruise the following day. The arrangements at the Bed & Breakfast known as La Papessa, had been made for the backend of the cruise, upon our return to Rome – so, though we had finally arrived in the Eternal City, we still had to wait 11 more days to experience our B&B! …though excitedly we did make a point of locating La Papessa that first night so we would know where we would be returning with the long-awaited taxi drop on that 12th morning. We absolutely loved the central location and couldn’t wait to get back!
This is not to say that the cruise was anything short of spectacular; however, the cruise ship does not count as a Bed & Breakfast, nor even borderline “inn”-ish, so for the sake of this commentary, use your imagination to fill in the gaps of an incredible trip to Italy, Greece, and Turkey as we fast forward to our SECOND arrival into Rome after the cruise.
Historic Rome is renowned for the Roman Forum and the ruins, with one of the most famous and chaotic traffic circles in the world, the Piazza Venezia located adjacent – watching this chaos is not for the faint of heart. Just a couple blocks north on the main street of Via Del Corso is a quaint street (aren’t they all?), leading to a small Italian café and pizzeria (don’t they all have one?), and a large door with a brass wall plaque – La Papessa Guest House. This is truly what “nestled” can feel like in a big place like Rome.
Entering the main door into the marble-floored front room of the building, we knew ahead of time that we would be encountering a lift – not an elevator mind you. And this wasn’t just quaint Italian semantics, this was really a lift, with a cascading, telescopic steel frame that you must open before you can open the door of the chamber itself and step inside. We literally squeezed ourselves in with our luggage, one on top of the other, and gingerly closed the door, looked at each other, laughed, pressed the button and started our slow ascent to the third floor.
The door for La Papessa was clearly marked and, upon knocking, we were greeted with a smile by Marcella. She quickly got us acclimated to the front room that also served as the breakfast room and included a computer that was available for registered guests, along with some small tables and chairs with reading materials as well. The guest house offers 4 air-conditioned rooms, each with its own bathroom, and either a courtyard or city view. We were very pleased with our room, the L’Imperatore (The Emperor), comfortably appointed with a king bed, antique furnishings and a beautiful coffered ceiling – you can see these in our video tour. It was extremely comfortable and with the large window opening 3 floors above to the Via Del Corso, we could choose to listen to (and watch) the busy city or have true solitude upon closing the windows. Before we left to explore Rome for the day, we explained to Marcella that we would be out the door at dawn the next day as we were catching a train to Florence. So, while we were gone Marcella prepackaged some breakfast items for us in our room (including a small loaf of bread for toast, some croissants and pastries, and two boiled eggs) so that we could grab and go in the morning. It was such a nice convenience and we appreciated her attention to our needs. (By the way, I have YET to find similar croissants as tasty in our many travels – there was just something unique about them, with a little cinnamon and sometimes a light cream filling. So good.)
Difficult as it is, we must respect that this is not a travel blog about our visit to Rome either and though we want to tell you EVERYTHING we experienced there, we will take a deep breath and remain focused on La Papessa. The owner, Massimo Gentili, was gracious and made time to sit with us, educate us on the history of the guest house, the rooms and some of the furnishings and paintings that grace its walls. In addition, his significant other, Catarina, also shared time with us and gave some of her perspectives on running the bed & breakfast. Massimo explained that the origin of the name La Papessa comes from the legend of the female pope many centuries ago. This was allegedly the home of the woman who rose to become Pope. After our interviews for www.RomanceRoom.com were over, we were honored to be invited to their home for a glass of wine on their rooftop, some great conversation and interesting additional history about the city. They also took us for an evening drive, taking us to some great viewpoints above the city as well as introducing us to the Jewish ghetto on the east bank of the Tiber, where Rome’s main synagogue still remains. For all of you that know Andrew, it won’t surprise you to know that we didn’t leave the area until we circled back to a bakery were a scrumptious brownie had been spotted (no doubt for the road). J Everywhere we went in Italy offered a culinary adventure – including Mary’s favorite Panini EVER – but more on that another time.
We very much appreciated the exceptional customer service, hospitality and attention to detail that we were shown at La Papessa, and based on other reviews we have read, this service is a normal occurrence and is simply how Massimo, Caterina and their staff have chosen to set themselves apart from other properties. That kind of treatment is typically only found on the Private Concierge levels of a major hotel for which you pay dearly. Here it is just included and these folks love to help, so just ask.
Lastly, we cannot emphasize enough the incredible convenience of La Papessa’s location – in the historical city center, we were literally around the corner from the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, and just a few blocks from the Spanish Steps. All the key sites were within walking distance – the Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona, Campo de’Fiori and even Vatican City (if you have some good walking shoes on). We found many eateries as we ventured through the streets, had some of the most fabulous Panini’s, savored authentic lasagna, enjoyed crazy-good espresso, got hooked on sparkling water and made sure we had gelato in every city we visited (or maybe I should say every neighborhood!). We have to mention that, around the corner from La Papessa, we literally stumbled upon a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit of Michelangelo’s pencil sketches of images that he would incorporate into his paintings in the Sistine Chapel – being displayed in public for only 9 days, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the completion of the project. We felt so fortunate to have discovered it as it was an awe-inspiring experience and incredibly memorable!
As the saying goes – “location, location, location” – and when you combine that with the superior guest relations, the lovely guest rooms with all the necessary amenities, and the extra touches such as the extra effort made at breakfast, we highly recommend La Papessa. Be sure to watch all of the videos, including the interviews with Massimo!
Andrew says: “Rome has always been known as a truly unique place in the world with so much history. Well, La Papessa feels the same way, especially with the legend of its origin. The B&B has amazing service and is comfortable and clean, always appreciated in a large city. Yet here, everything seems so close within walking distance. What a fun place and the innkeepers will go out of their way to make your stay as unforgettable as possible!”
Mary says: “I adore Rome! And I loved La Papessa! My only regret is that we did not stay longer, have more time to settle into our beautiful room and be able to take in even MORE of the flavors of this amazing city. La Papessa is well-run and gave me a sense that they were prepared for anything, ready to offer assistance and guidance and ensure a good guest experience. I know that is NOT to be taken for granted – and I hope, and know, we will visit again.”