Rome is every bit a big, bustling city. Cars, graffiti, noise; so many sights to take in it will make your head spin. That’s why when I arrived at Villino Noel – Casa per Ferie run by the Suore Oblate del’ Assunzione (Oblate Sisters of the Assumption) monastery, where I was staying it felt like this:
Yes, I touched up that photo a bit but that’s how lovely it feels to arrive in this private, gated courtyard locked away from the bustle and noise. I had such a long day getting there, it was a great relief to simply arrive. Ahhh….
Anyone can arrange to stay at a monastery in nearly every town in Italy. It helps the monasteries continue financially and offers weary travelers clean, budget priced accommodations. Monastery Stays is a fabulous find and they are easy to work with. They have gone to great lengths to make every imaginable sort of accommodation possible. I highly recommend them. Notice, I said budget PRICED. I did not feel as if I was staying in a budget hotel at all. First and foremost, the bed where I laid my head before this was the train and the dump in London before that. Each room has a private bathroom. (Let’s face it; I am waaaaay too American to share a bathroom at this point in my life. I did it for a year in the dorms and hated it then too.) The bathrooms are twice the size of the one in London.
They also come with a secret luxury: BATH SHEETS! Yes! Bath sheets in a bargain basement priced lodging. I am in love. For those of you who don’t know, a bath sheet is an extra large towel. Bath sheets are so very nice.
The rest of your room, the actual room, is nice too. This is a double room which means it comes with two twin beds. Yes, the room looks messy. Do you ever stop to take photos before dropping your stuff and plopping down on the bed? I certainly don’t. I may at some point in my life remember to do this but I doubt it. Thankfully, the room comes with plenty of storage too. Above the luggage is a generous wardrobe. You can also count on the nuns to keep the place spotless. They are nuns after all. Dust bunnies fear nuns the world over.
It’s a lousy photo but just outside of that window is a bit of the Vatican. That was exciting to see. St. Peter’s was closed for the night but it lent great promise for the week to come. The Vatican is just blocks away, a 7 minute slow walk to the entrance. The Vatican Museum entrance is about a four minute slow walk away.
The courtyard is one of the biggest perks. It truly is a gem to come ‘home’ to. Breakfast is included with your stay but none is gluten free so I skipped it. Several people staying at the monastery would bring their breakfast back to the courtyard and enjoy the quiet. Also included with your room are keys to the front gate and the front door so you can come and go as you please.
My first night anywhere, I like to explore the neighborhood. The Sisters recommended a spot down the street so I started out there. It’s a restaurant called Terno Secco. It appears to be a family run place with mostly locals dining. They did have gluten free corn pasta available with a few sauces so I tried the meat marinara. It was ok. Nothing I would rave over but it was nice to have somewhere so close. Just remember, *sparkling* water is NOT a marketing ploy. Sparkling water comes with ‘gas’ or carbonation. It’s club soda. You will either be asked if you want still or sparkling water or it may be phrased ‘gas’ or ‘no gas’. I will only drink the still. After dinner, I retired to bed. Keep in mind, dinner the Italian way takes three hours and you must request your check.
Next… Seeing the Pope!