Once home to the patrician families of Ancient Rome, the Aventine hill is a leafy enclave far above the bustle of the modern city – but within walking distance of the [node:168805] Piazza Venezia and Trastevere. It’s also close to the working-class Testacio district – not a great looker with its gridplan streets and between-the-wars low-cost housing blocks, but full of good-value trattorias, and also a happening nightlife spot. The hotel is just along the road from the famous Giardino degli Aranci, with its orange trees and views across Roman rooftops to St Peter’s.
Decorated with rich brocades and elegant antique furniture, many rooms have theatrical four-poster or baldaquin beds, and some feature balconies. Bathrooms are mostly large, paved in polychrome marble or mosaics, and 16 (out of 34) feature jacuzzis (most of the others have elaborate ‘massage’ showers). The Sant’Anselmo’s new more contemporary slant is on display especially in some of the themed bedrooms – like the one carved out of the former gardener’s shed, which now features a bathroom with sunken stone tub and LED-lit starry ceiling.
There’s an elegant little lounge area, but it’s the garden with its gravel walks and cast-iron tables and chairs that is the real draw.
Eating and drinking
A full-featured breakfast is served amidst scented orange trees and oleanders in summer and in an opulent, antique-filled breakfast room in winter. Romantics – or layabeds – will appreciate the fact that it can also be served in one’s room for no extra cost. There’s a sweet little bar on the premises, and an evening-only restaurant in the Sant’Anselmo’s nearby sister hotel, Villa San Pio, but the latter is no great shakes – you’d be better off heading downhill to the Testaccio district, which has some great trattorias.
Polite and helpful, depending on who you get. However, it’s not a bad idea to supplement their restaurant recommendations with other tips or Internet research, as they’re not always as fresh and up-to-the-minute as they might be.
Who stays there
Anyone who loves old-style elegance and believes that the spirit of the Grand Tour is still alive – from linen-suited aesthetes to cultured young honeymooners.
My advice is to push it to a deluxe room if you can afford it – these tend to be a lot more romantic.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- Lovely leafy setting
- Romantic bedrooms
- It’s a steep walk up from the nearest bus and metro stops