A Notable Hotel Stay... Some Years Back
Oldest Building Yet
The yellow structure on the left shows our hotel, which wasn't a hotel until 1950. Cardinal Domenico della Rovere began construction on the building in 1480. I'm pretty sure this makes Hotel Columbus, my oldest hotel experience. But equally impressive, is the location. The building faces Via della Concilliazone. It was just a short stroll down to St. Peter's and the Vatican City.
The Other Direction
If we went the other direction on the Via, we ended up at the River Tiber.
Our flight arrived early in the morning. It was too early to check in, so Don studied the map, which made us look like tourists. He looks engrossed in the map in this photo, but he was also fretting about his dirty jacket...
Earlier at the train station, (when we were not reading maps) a man pegged us as tourists. He seemed very concerned as he rushed over to help Don. He pointed out a huge blob of bird poop, on Don's jacket. Luckily we were pretty aware of pickpocket dangers, so we shooed the helpful man away. Days later, we learned there really is a thing called "Bird Poop Scam"... which is really white paint, that doesn't wash out.
Finding the Entrance
Although we were early, Don and I headed through the building's walkway to the parking area. We found a wall, fountains, a courtyard and the hotel entrance.
Old and New
I loved the old marble dragon fountain, with trickling water. The decorated entrance looked quite modern for a 500+ year old palace, that had once been a noble residence and seat of a line of holy knights!
We entered the lobby area, where we found the first of many Christmas trees.
We knew it was hours before our room would be ready, but we explored a bit to find a restroom, where Don could go to work on his stained jacket.
Le Colone Bar
We passed through the quiet lounge and eventually found a washroom. Don had no luck removing the stubborn white paint. Bird poop would have been preferred.
We left our luggage and took off for the day. When we returned, our room was ready and we were eager to explore some more. This was just one of the many grand rooms that once made up the Palazzo della Rovere.
Dining in Style
This two-leveled space, with vaulted ceilings and frescos, was the hotel's formal dining room. During our short stay, we didn't get a chance to dine, but the tables looked terribly romantic, with white cloths and glowing lamps.
This doorway was impressive enough, with the carved marble frame and hefty wooden doors. Even the floor was intriguing.
But once inside the room, the real surprise was directly above us.
A few sconces lit this dramatic space with paintings in gold frames. But the ceiling above was the real focus. The shape itself was stunning.
The frescoed ceiling was the work of Francesco Salviati. The image of Apollo with his chariot and horses was at the very top of the curved ceiling.
A carved mask peeked out from each corner! I wish I could have asked these odd little faces to tell me some stories.
Up We Go
We headed up to the top floor to find our room. This sweet little nook was near our room.
I failed to make a note of the room number, but I'm pretty sure our room was the least expensive, on the top floor. Our low bed with flat pillows, took up most of the space. A desk and TV were not really needed, but the window was the prize. The shutters made me feel like I was living in a fairytale.
The wooden chair in the corner, made me want to take a seat for hours at the window. The tiny window had a great view of the courtyard below, but my eyes were drawn to the tile roofs and beyond.
There it was! The cupola of St. Peter's! I remember being 11 and counting the steps as I climbed inside the dome with my family.
With the camera, I could zoom in on little details... designs near the window and a metal cross above a pointy roof.
On the Roof
I loved being able to open the window, so I could feel like I was sitting on the clay tiles, peering down at the treetops.
The hotel made us feel like we were spending the night in a museum. How odd to walk through such grand rooms without being followed by guards. But the hotel room was really my favorite part of the stay. That tiny window brought in the sounds of pigeons cooing and the chiming bells of St. Peter's!
What a treat, to watch the sky change colors in the evening... then to watch the silhouette shapes appear... and then the stars. I think I might need to revisit this hotel!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!