These four properties provide a personal touch in Rome and Florence
By Art Terrero
On a recent visit to Rome, we stayed at the Hotel Mediterraneo, one of four hotels owned by the Bettoja Hotel Group. These properties, which are clustered together geographically, are within walking distance to many of the city’s most famous attractions (Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, Imperial Forums and the Opera House) and are conveniently close to the Termini Railway Station.
We found the Hotel Mediterraneo to be an extremely comfortable and affordable four-star hotel. In addition to the standard amenities in our room, the property offered an extensive buffet breakfast and the option of dining for lunch and dinner at its charming terraced rooftop restaurant, where the cuisine and service was superb. In fact, throughout our stay, the hotel staff was always concerned about our needs and willing to offer any needed assistance.
Another high point of the Mediterraneo is its alluring bar, where the knowledgeable and friendly bartenders made our visit a truly enjoyable, local experience. On one of the evenings we were there, we were entertained by a very accomplished singer/pianist who performed in the evenings and sang standard American and Italian tunes with a jazz accompaniment.
Adjacent to the Hotel Mediterraneo is the four-star Hotel Atlantico, another inviting member of the Bettoja Hotel Group, which provided similar accommodations and amenities. With just 69 rooms, the contemporary Atlantico is more intimate than the 254-room Mediterraneo.
Yet another Bettoja sibling hotel (this one is just around the corner from the Hotel Mediterraneo) is the 155-room Hotel Nord Nuova Rome. This three-star property, although recently completely renovated, has retained a distinct decor that reflects its 1930s origins. From its beautiful rooftop terrace bar with intimate tables, to the modern fitness center, to the many contemporary meeting rooms, this hotel can provide the leisure or business guest with the option of staying at an affordable and convenient location. Tip: Guests at the Hotel Nord or any of the other hotels can enjoy all of the bars and restaurants within the Bettoja Hotel Group and have the bill charged to their account at their hotel.
Directly across the street from the Mediterraneo is the historic, four-star Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio. During our visit, General Manager Gianfranco Bassan told us that while the interiors of the hotel have undergone many refurbishments since the hotel was first established in the late 1800s, the façade has maintained the same character of that era. He also said that it was his goal to provide the elegance and style that began with that early period and then to bring that concept of charm and traditional style forward into today’s hectic world. A tour of several of the rooms and lovely suites of this hotel revealed a warm decor and comfortable furnishings provides guests with an immediate reprieve from the outside world.
Note: We recommend that guests of any of the four properties make time to visit the lobby bar of the Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio, which features charming decor and artwork and is, to our eyes, the ideal place to savor a cocktail.
Most notably, the Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio is known throughout Rome for its very fine restaurant on the ground floor of the property, as well as for La Cantina, its wine cellar, which can also serve as a private dining room. We were fortunate to have dined at both locations; the cuisine and service at the restaurant was excellent and the dinner, together with the wine selection available, made the event very enjoyable. La Cantina, which must be reserved for special occasions, proved to be a unique experience. For our meal, we were joined by a large group of travel agents who were touring Rome. We enjoyed aperitifs and then gathered for a sumptuous meal at a long table half the length of the cellar. The meal was prepared by the chef of the main restaurant, who left no culinary detail unturned. The natural ambience of this stone-walled wine cellar, together with the food, wine and the laughter generated, made the entire evening memorable.
As a side trip, the hotel helped us secure a driver to take us to Florence in nearby Tuscany. Anyone traveling through Tuscany will experience row upon row of carefully placed grape vines and olive trees that appear to criss-cross upon the soft hills of the farms, wineries and estates of this region. All of this, combined with the acres and acres of blooming sunflowers, makes it easy to understand why Italians describe this area as “Paradiso.”
To extend our stay in “Paradiso” and, specifically, Florence, we opted for another hotel within the Bettoja Hotel Group: Hotel Relais Certosa Firenze. This 64-room property is just 15 minutes from the Ponte Vecchio in the center of Florence, which is accessible via the hotel’s courtesy bus. Our quaint accommodations provided us with a pleasant view of the surrounding hills through French doors, which also provided access to a small terrace. The hotel features fine dining at La Terrazza, produced by Daniele Raddi.
Note: The Certosa rests in a picturesque park and adjoins the ancient, 14th-century Florence Chartreuse Monastery, where we took the time to visit with the residing monks, who assisted us in purchasing several of the brandies that they produce.
The next day, before spending a day in Florence, we visited La Villa di Geggiano, where we lunched in the main dining room and toured the mansion of the estate. Contact Andrea Boscu Bianchi Bandinelli (firstname.lastname@example.org) to inquire about booking one of the two new suites at the property or to arrange guided tours, wine tastings or even a wedding banquet. Cool connection: The Bettoja and Bandinelli families are longtime friends and the wine produced from the grapes grown at the estate (a delicious Chianti Classico, DOCG Villa di Geggiano) is served at the Bettoja Hotel Group’s properties.
After a glorious sun-filled day in Florence, we returned by train to Rome. We arrived at Termini Railway Terminal less than three hours later and easily walked to our charming room at the Hotel Mediterraneo.
Mary Liz Wheeler is the liaison for travel agents at the Bettoja Hotel Group. She can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.