All posts by Pat Byrne

A Roman Holiday: Staying near the Spanish Steps in the Sabini Sistina Apartment

Renowned travel blogger Leah Travels tells us all about  her enjoyable stay in Rome. 

The Spanish Steps have been an inspiration for poets, painters and artists since the early 1720s. They’re also a landmark I frequented during my fourth visit to Rome in June. My Italy Perfect apartment was just a one-minute walk from Piazza di Spagna, the home of the Spanish Steps.

The 138 Roman Baroque-style steps are iconic for their elegant and unique butterfly design, connecting the Piazza di Spagna with the higher piazza Trinita dei Monti. Once a popular meeting place for creatives, the Spanish Steps is now a gathering place for Romans and travelers of all backgrounds. It felt fitting to call this area, more specifically the Sabini Sistina Apartment, my home base for my most recent visit to the Eternal City.

The Sabini Sistina Apartment

Staying near the Spanish Steps, and coincidentally near many of Rome’s most famous attractions, was my best option for such a brief visit to the capital city. However, I was greeted by far more than just a desirable neighborhood when I arrived at the Sabini Sistina apartment. Natural lighting, cozy but modern furniture, and a traditional Italian terrace provided the European elegance I love without the touristic hotel feel.

The simple pleasures of home, like a clothes washer and dryer, full kitchen, and luscious L-shaped sofa, truly made me feel like a local in a city that steals a bigger piece of my heart every time I visit. I especially enjoyed perusing the provided set of Rome guidebooks with my morning espresso on the interior terrace.

Staying Near the Spanish Steps

Experience Rome’s traffic, and you may think a relaxing haven on one of Rome’s most historic streets is impossible to find. But the peaceful Sabini Sistina apartment overlooking the constant motion of Via Capo le Case, is just that. Simply stepping out of the apartment and into the neighborhood means discovering art galleries, people watching at the Scalina Spagna and exploring the former home of John Keats.

So many of Rome’s top attractions are just a short walk from the Sabini Sistina apartment leaving the hassle of battling that infamous Rome traffic out of the picture. I was able to walk to Italian architect Nicola Salvi’s Trevi Fountain in five minutes, and ancient Rome’s best-preserved building, the Pantheon, in 13 minutes. Exploring these areas by foot also meant discovering the local shops like those on via Frattina, cafes, piazzas, and galleries sprinkled in between. Note to shoppers: it only took a few minutes for me to drop my shopping bags back at the apartment before venturing to farther attractions.

The nearby location of the subway station at the Spanish Steps, just a 5-minute walk away, became a great convenience. Less than 20 minutes on the subway, and I was at the Vatican Museums and St. Peters Basilica.

There’s never enough time in Rome for me, but staying near the Spanish Steps at the Sabini Sistina apartment made squeezing in all of the sightseeing, shopping and dining that much more convenient and enjoyable.

By Leah Walker of Leah Travels Blog


Where to Stay in Rome? Italy Perfect Experts Share Advice.

Here are the Roman neighborhoods most prized by tourists who like to walk to and from the sites and roam the wonders of this amazing city. The naming of the areas can confound because some use the ancient designations, such as “Campo Marzio”, widely referred to as the Spanish Steps area, while others use medieval names, and others, like us, will go with conventional names that are more descriptive of what sites you’ll find there.

Rome is a big city, but the historic center is very manageable. You can visit most of it on foot or just a short bus or metro ride between sites. Tourists who like to wander out their front door into the most intriguing places in the city have a wealth of wonderful areas to choose in the historic center. We select all the apartments we represent for their prime locations in Rome’s historic center. Here are our favorite locations.

Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo & Trident

This famous neighborhood is crossed by a trident of streets that leads south from Piazza del Popolo. This most upscale neighborhood in the center has great shopping and dining.


  • The Spanish Steps with its iconic stairs, fountain and designer shopping draws all visitors.
  • Piazza del Popolo has welcomed tourists since mideaval time with an expansive piazza, Egyptian obelisk and ancient gate in the Roman wall.
  • Via del Babuino for charm.

Italy Perfect Vacation rental selection is wonderful: Large properties are Villa Aurora, SpagnaZegno, Valentina, Umberto, Casa Ruffo and Elegante.  Two bedroom apartments: Flaminio, Greci, Sabini Sistina, Renata, Minerva’s Treasure, Ginevra and Orlando. One bedrooms: AngelinaBellina and Princess Paolina.

Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Pantheon

Wander the maze of narrow streets and alleys dating from the Middle Ages that open into beautiful piazzas with delightful fountains and wonderful Renaissance and baroque churches and palaces.  All the while ancient Rome is always present.


  • Piazza Navona is glorious with fountains, statues, cafes, restaurants and street artists of all kinds.
  • The Pantheon, built 1900 years ago, is a magnet for the ancient temple as well as its lovely piazza.
  • Campo de’ Fiori is another glorious piazza with a farmers market as well restaurants.
  • Another great piazza is Piazza Mattei leading to the historic Jewish Ghetto.
  • Not to miss, of course, is the Trevi Fountain for beauty and the magic 3 coins tossed into the fountain to ensure you’ll return to Rome someday.

Italy Perfect apartments here from large to small: Landini, Pasquino, Danza, Romulus and Viva.

Ancient Rome and Monti

Modern monuments and ancient ones define this Eternal City.  Wander through time.

  • Piazza Venezia with the gleaming Victor Emmanuel Monument is just the beginning and a great point for navigation.
  • The Roman, Imperial and Trajan’s forums echo with glory.
  • And above rises the Palatine hill with ancient palatial ruins.
  • The Coliseum is a must.
  • The Monti neighborhood leads to the Coliseum and is artsy and quirky.

Gorgeous views from Magnifico and Imperial Vista.

Via Veneto, Villa Borghese & Piazza Barberini

Via Veneto winds gracefully down  from Villa Borghese with the cafes and restaurants that defined La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini

  • Within the beautiful Borghese Gardens is a gem of a museum the Borghese Gallery.
  • The Via Veneto itself offers a pleasant walk with good shopping and cafes.
  • Piazza Barberini is another great piazza with the iconic Triton Fountain.

Nobile is a lovely apartment in this neighborhood.

Vatican, St Peters, Prati

Just across the fabled Tiber river the proximity to the Vatican and St Peters is enhanced by the great shopping and dining in the Prati neighborhood. Boulevards with nice architecture.

  • St Peters and the Vatican museums are magnets for so many.
  • Castel Sant’Angelo is an ancient fortification for the Popes.

Vacation rental prices can be a little lower here because you have to walk across the river: Elegante, Elegante TreRigoletto and Fresco.


Everyone loves Trastevere. It is a neighborhood with fun restaurants, charming streets and roaming students from abroad. Known for night life.

  • Santa Maria in Trastevere is a beautiful and ancient church in a piazza that is a gathering spot for locals, tourists, students, street performers.
  • Restaurants with live entertainment charm tourists.
  • Walk up to the top of the Janiculum hill for gorgeous views over the city

Spectacular Vacation Villas Right in the Center of Rome!

Imagine a stay in Rome that combines the best of country living and city amenities.

In a small, gated neighborhood near the prime Piazza del Popolo-Spanish Steps area, and accessed from Piazzale Flaminio, two villas perch just enough above the city such that you can toast the sun as it sets behind the dome of St Peter’s basilica in the distance. The neighborhood adjoins the Borghese Gardens. A 4-minute walk puts you at one of the popular cafés in Piazza del Popolo, the large pedestrian piazza that has welcomed visitors to the city for a millenium.

Continue reading Spectacular Vacation Villas Right in the Center of Rome!

Where to Stay in Florence

Florence is an intriguing small city, packed with wonderful thing to see, do, eat and drink.  We recommend finding a vacation rental that you like and using that as your base to explore this fabled city. You really can walk to anywhere in the center, even with children. But if time and distance require, take a short taxi ride.  Of the farthest points on a first-time visitor’s list are usually the beautiful Boboli Gardens and the Accademia the home of the original David statue of Michelangelo and that distance is just 3 kilometers/2 miles.

Continue reading Where to Stay in Florence