Roman Room with a View

Our accommodation in Rome was pretty special. Truly a Roman room with a view. Or rather a set of rooms, as we stayed in the Landmark Trust apartment in Rome in the building that was one home to Keats and Shelley. As we whizzed along the Autostrada heading for the airport at the end of our honeymoon, the afternoon sun glinted off Rome’s domes and spires, Mr CW promised that we would visit Rome soon.  Seventeen years and two children later we finally made that trip.  After waiting so long it was only fitting that our accommodation was pretty special.


The Landmark Trust is a holiday rental company with a difference. All the properties are either architecturally or historically important, sometimes both. In Rome it is John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley that provide the history, the apartment in is in building on the Spanish Steps that they lodged in, the views are the ones that they woke up to every morning. Roman holiday rentals don’t come much better than this.

View of Landmark Trust Spanish Steps.

Staying in the Spanish Steps Landmark Trust Rome

First thing to say is that staying at 26 Piazza di Spagna is not for the infirm, you need to climb up three steep flights of steps before you get to the apartment’s front door and there is no lift.  Once you open the door you leave the twenty-first century behind.  You enter into an elegant dining room.

Interior Landmark Trust Rome rental. Dark wood dining table and chairs, large dark wood wooden wardrobe, ceramic tiled floor

Doors lead off into two bedrooms.

Keats Shelley house bedroom interior with wicker work bed

Another door takes you to the sitting room, equipped with comfy chairs and a well-stocked bookshelf.

Living room interior Landmark Trust Rome with blue wing chair by window, bookshelf with a classical roman bust on top.

In the kitchen, a tray of tea-making equipment was laid out, with milk in the fridge.

Old Chelsea tea set on table in Landmark Trust Rome

Every room has sensational ceilings; be sure to look up.

Decorative ceiling roses at Landmark Trust Rome

Once you’ve finished looking up, look out.  The scene has not changed outside the windows for more than two centuries, sure the tourist wear different clothes now but other than that.  This is view from the sitting room.

Sunshine on white church Trinità dei Monti Spanish Steps seen from Landmark Trust Rome

And this from the shower room!

View from Landmark Rome of the Spanish Steps empty in the morning

Landmark Trust properties don’t have wi-fi which meant that we all put our devices down and talked to each other, read books and played games ….. just like my own childhood!  The Spanish Steps are a magnet for tourists and those tourists stay until well into the night.  As we were staying in January, cold drove them to warm hotel beds at some point after our bedtime. But in the morning we had the steps all to ourselves. Walking up to the building in the evening and unlocking the door made me feel like a resident rather than one of the other tourists. One of the biggest thrills?  Walking past the velvet rope that divided ‘our’ part of the building from the museum!


The Grand Tour was to young wealthy Georgian young men what the gap year is now.  Rome was top of any Grand Tour itinerary and the streets surrounding the Spanish Steps (or Piazza di Spagna in Italian) was THE place to stay.  When the Romantic poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats came to Rome they took an apartment in 26 Piazza di Spagna.  Unfortunately Keats took a turn for the worse and died.  The apartment where the poets lived is now a museum and the identical set of rooms above are the ones available to rent through the Landmark Trust.


First thing to know about the Spanish Steps is that they are not Spanish at all.  They were financed in 1723 by Etienne Gueffier, a French diplomat, to create a route up to the church at the top of hill, the Trinita dei Monti.  Why was he so interested in having such fancy steps up to the church?  Because the Church was French and the square below surrounded the Spanish Embassy and was considered to be Spanish territory.  Surely the steps would curry favour with the Pope, might even become known as the French Steps.  How wrong can you be?!

Empty Spanish Steps with Trinita dei Monti at the top

Francesco de Santis was the architect behind the steps and he made them to be a tribute to the Holy Trinity.  There are three distinct flights of steps and each flight is divided into three.  At the foot of the steps is a rather unusual fountain depicting a sinking boat.  Pietro Bernini was faced with the problem of low water pressure for his fountain and so came up with the idea of commemorating the occasion when the flooding of the River Tiber caused a fishing boat to be washed up on this very spot.  Whatever the reason it makes for a pleasant place to eat an ice-cream.

Fountain with stone boat Fontana della Barcaccia at the base of the Spanish Steps Rome


The streets around Piazza di Spagna contain some of the most expensive shops that you will find anywhere in the world and the restaurants tend to be of the type that have people in the street trying to tempt you in using illustrated menus.  We managed to find places that served good food and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

‘GUSTO OSTERIA – Via della Frezza 16

First of all I concede that we were actually heading for ‘Gusto Pizzeria but mistakenly ended up in the ‘Gusto Osteria (wine bar).  It didn’t matter as the food (and wine) was excellent in the Osteria.  We had huge bowls of pasta but all around us Romans were feasting on plates ham and salami or cheese.

HOSTARIA al 31 – Via delle Carrozze 31

On our first morning we headed out bright and early to get to the Colosseum before the crowds.  On our way we stopped for a quick coffee and pastry in the tiny Hostaria al 31.  There is a bigger room at the back and in the evening the place transforms into a restaurant.

L’ANTICA ENOTECA – Via delle Croce 76

Now that the teens are, well, teens we have been known to leave them on their own for short periods of time at home.  One evening when they were absorbed by their phones we took the rash decision to pop out for a drink ON OUR OWN.  They were on the third floor of a locked building, they had phones, we had phones and would be yards away.  We sat at the bar in Antica Entoteca for our Bellinis, it has been on via delle Croce since 1842 and not much seems to have changed.  So nice did the food look that we headed there the next evening for dinner with the teens and very good it was too.

Bellini Antica Enoteca
ANTICO CAFFÉ GRECO – Via dei Condotti 86

Keats and Bryon both drank coffee in the Caffé Greco.  White aproned waiters glide around the coffee house taking orders.  The interior is lovely, you can imagine Byron drinking coffee or maybe something a bit stronger here.  It is however the most expensive coffee that I have ever drunk.  So if you are looking for history and atmosphere pop in and savour every last drop, if you just want a quick pitstop head for Hosteria al 31 and drink your coffee standing up at the bar.

Caffe Greco cup


The Landmark Trust is a holiday rental company with a difference.  Well, not a company at all, but a charity.  Its aim is to rescue and restore buildings that are at risk.  Once rescued and restored those buildings pay for themselves by being holiday rentals.  Over the years I have stayed in a Scottish castle, a Napoleonic fort, a clocktower (complete with a chiming clock) and a mine among others.  Staying in the Keats and Shelley House has been an ambition since I stayed in my first landmark back in the late 80s and read about it in the Landmark Handbook.

Every Landmark has a copy of the handbook in it, along with a well stocked bookcase covering local literary heroes, architecture and guidebooks.  Every Landmark property is in the book, along with a brief description and floor plans.  I realise that gazing at floor plans might not be everybody’s idea of fun but I love them.  During our stay in Rome the teens browsed the handbook and now have a wishlist of their own, chips of the old block!

You can book Landmarks (as they are known) by simply clicking on the website, if you would like to support the charity more then you can do so in numerous ways.  For £55 a year you can become a friend for which you get a copy of the handbook, priority booking and invitations to various events.

Mr CW came up with perfect itinerary for first time visitors to Rome.




  1. Julie Cordiner
    February 22, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Looks like it was worth waiting for, Catherine! I love Rome – I have a Classics degree so it is a very special place for me. Will definitely check out the Landmark Trust as the properties sound very special.

    • February 22, 2018 / 11:30 pm

      I loved Rome, we went round a corner looking for a restaurant and stumbled across Augustus’ Tomb just wow!

  2. February 22, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Loved reading this post. Would so love to see where John Keats had stayed. Happy travelling #farawayfiles

    • February 22, 2018 / 11:30 pm

      It was a very special place to stay

  3. February 22, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    what a place to stay in:) #farawayfiles

    • February 22, 2018 / 11:31 pm

      Incredible, still have to pinch myself to believe it was real

  4. February 22, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    This looks stunning – and what a bonus, that you were able to get out and have a drink by yourselves. I knew the Landmark Trust offered places to stay outside the UK, but I hadn’t heard of this one. Bookmarking it for the future! #FarawayFiles

    • February 22, 2018 / 11:32 pm

      They have one in Florence ……

  5. February 22, 2018 / 11:21 pm

    Oooh you definitely hit the jackpot! What a special hotel for your long awaited trip to Rome! That view along of the Spanish Steps without anyone on it is worth it!! #FarawayFiles

    • February 22, 2018 / 11:33 pm

      We went out early one morning and had the steps to ourselves!

  6. annette @afrenchcollection
    February 23, 2018 / 8:21 am

    Filing that info away … get up early and take photo of steps without hundreds of extras! What a super shot. #FarawayFiles

  7. February 23, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    This has to be one of the best vacation rental views I’ve ever seen! Funny enough 17 years ago on our honeymoon we did NOT go to Rome, instead we visited Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre… Rome of course was top of my list, but it took over a decade before I finally made it there… with kids in tow… Another great post! #farawayfiles

    • February 23, 2018 / 5:56 pm

      How funny Lazio Coast, Assisi and Montepulciano for us!

  8. Clare Thomson
    February 23, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    i’ve known about this apartment for years and often wanted to stay here. One great advantage is that you get to see the Spanish Steps without the tourists on it. It’s great to see what it’s really like in your photos. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • February 23, 2018 / 6:00 pm

      It is probably the best located holiday rental that I have ever stayed in ….. next time you visit contact the Landmark Trust first!

  9. February 25, 2018 / 10:50 am

    What an amazing place to stay. I love the history but it looks comfy too and so close to everything. Glad you finally got to visit Rome (and did so in style).

    • February 25, 2018 / 10:51 am

      I’ve decided that I NEED to spend three months in Rome at some point!

  10. March 8, 2018 / 9:44 am

    That’s a very cool place to stay. Lve the ceilings. Oh, and the view of Rome too but y’know, ceilings!

    • March 8, 2018 / 9:46 am

      It was tempting to spend all the time inside looking up and occasionally out 😉

  11. March 8, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    What a fabulous place to stay – and that view! The Landmark Trust always seems to have the most amazing properties, but I have to admit I hadn’t realised they owned any outside the UK, How astonishing to be able to stay somewhere with such history. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • March 8, 2018 / 11:40 pm

      Over the years I have stayed in many Landmarks and each one has been amazing

  12. bavariansojourn
    March 21, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    I had no idea they had properties outside of the UK, what an incredible place! It looks utterly gorgeous! Love the sound of no wifi too! 😀 #mondayescapes

    • March 22, 2018 / 7:24 pm

      Only a handful in Italy, Waterloo and Kipling’s house in the States

  13. March 22, 2018 / 2:35 pm

    I’m so glad you eventually got to Rome Catherine! I’ve never heard of the Landmark Trust, but what a brilliant charity and a greta place to stay. I need to look them up for a Tin Box adventure!

    • March 22, 2018 / 7:22 pm

      They have lots of West Country places ……

  14. March 23, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    I have never heard of Landmark Trust before, but what a place to be able to stay in! We haven’t been to Rome yet…hopefully one day. #MondayEscapes

    • March 23, 2018 / 11:05 pm

      Now I’ve been I can’t believe I left it so long

  15. April 7, 2018 / 9:31 am

    I have never heard of landmark trust about to go and do
    Googling! #fearlessfamtrav

    • April 7, 2018 / 9:59 am

      They have some amazing places to stay!

  16. April 10, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Wow wow wow! This is just incredible! I’m so pleased you made it back and managed to treat yourselves!
    Thanks for linking up to #fearlessfamtrav

  17. October 3, 2018 / 6:50 pm

    Not a bad view from the bathroom! I keep meaning to check the Landmark’s website to see where takes my fancy, thanks for the reminder! #FamilyFriendlyStays

    • October 3, 2018 / 7:56 pm

      Landmark has some amazing places

    • October 4, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Even the teens were impressed!

  18. October 8, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    It looks like it was well worth the wait! My favourite view is the one from the shower room, and how cool that you captured the Spanish Steps empty of tourists!

    • October 8, 2018 / 5:48 pm

      It was wonderful watching them slowly fill up in the morning.

  19. October 13, 2018 / 10:32 pm

    How great to be right in the heart of things in such a historic building. It sounds like a great break.

    • October 15, 2018 / 2:44 pm

      It was amazing, we couldn’t keep the grins off our faces!

  20. January 7, 2020 / 12:16 pm

    I stayed by the Spanish Steps the first time I visited Rome and found it a great location. And what A fabulous apartment. Those ceilings are gorgeous. I’d love to re-visit but I’d stay here next time.

    • January 7, 2020 / 1:08 pm

      Made me want to spend an extended period I’m Rome

  21. Barbara Barker
    September 6, 2020 / 11:01 pm

    Reading this brought back happy memories of staying in this very special place about 15 years ago with my husband and our daughter and my Canadian uncle. Our daughter Jo, an English teacher, adored the work of John Keats and for her it was a very special opportunity . She made a pilgrimage to his grave and laid flowers there.
    Sadly she died at an early age and insisted that Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale was read at her burial.
    After this stay, Jo moved to Rome and became Vice Principal of Rome International School.
    I long to pay a second visit to this atmospheric apartment.

    • September 10, 2020 / 2:19 pm

      I’m glad that it bought back happy memories, so sorry that your daughter died young

  22. Barbara Barker
    September 10, 2020 / 7:52 pm

    Thank you for your kind reply.
    It was such a privilege to stay in this very special building. It’s not on Landmark Trust’s website any longer so I don’t know whether it’s still possible. I loved your post and photos.
    Thank you.

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