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Three Roman Hideaways

David Cicconi The Inn at the Roman Forum

Photo: David Cicconi

Villa Spalletti Trivelli


An early-20th-century villa with Neoclassical overtones on a side street on patrician Quirinal Hill. A small brass plaque and bell, and the subtle glow of a recent $4 million-plus restoration, are all that distinguish this house from the others around it. First Impressions There’s the involuntary urge to straighten one’s shirt, smooth one’s hair, and generally make oneself a bit more presentable. The villa is the former private home of the Spalletti-Trivelli family, titled since 1667, and many of its appointments and furnishings—from the library (a collection protected by the Ministry of National Heritage) to the colored Piranesi print in the stairwell (circa 1765, very rare)—were once their property. Oak and walnut floors, bookshelves, and moldings gleam with good care; 15-foot tapestries are suspended on butter-yellow walls; overstuffed chenille sofas are arranged in twos in the echoey sitting rooms. Signed photos show various Spalletti-Trivellis attending weddings and coronations and tennis parties. Even the andirons look like a Sotheby’s auction lot. The family coat of arms is everywhere—on the silverware and the Richard Ginori breakfast china, on the towels and the correspondence paper, on the enormous medallion attached to each room key. All of this, plus a gracious and capable staff, makes good on the hotel’s proclaimed mandate: affording guests the opportunity to experience what home life for a Roman nobleman was like (apparently, very hushed).


Big—a double is about 17 feet square, with a foyer and a large closet, and suites are the size of a proper one-bedroom apartment. The rooms on the top floor interconnect and can be booked as a single private unit. The interiors are refined (if not particularly adventurous), with color-coordinated damasks on the beds and armchairs and fine wood tables (some antique, some reproduction) mixed with Lucite ones. The winning touches: exquisite bed linens (making the bed has been elevated to an art here); monumental framed antique maps and prints (each room has at least one); and state-of- the-art marble bathrooms that look as if they were designed according to guidelines submitted by the Association of Persnickety American Travelers.

Sore Spots

The glaring overhead lighting in the rooms doesn’t aid the cause of creating ambience. And breakfast is surprisingly uneven: 12 gorgeous homemade jams, organic yogurt from Calabria in tiny jars—and bad, Tang-y canned orange juice, with a rather meager side of strawberries.

Trump Cards

The beautiful, fully stocked, totally complimentary bars and fridges in each room. And the undeniable exclusivity of the experience; whether or not it’s your thing (or your price point), the Villa Spalletti Trivelli is unique in the Eternal City.

4 Via Piacenza; 39-06/4890-7934; www.villaspalletti.it; doubles from $1,069.


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