Villa Laetitia is our home base in Rome. When in Rome, this is where we usually stay.
Sometimes it is nice to splurge and try something super-luxe, a more five-star hotel experience. But apart from special occasions, I like things to be effortless and informal.
So we go back to Villa Laetitia.
What I really like about it there is the balance of fancy and bohemian. The hotel does not feel like an institution, but simply a place that you live in for a certain period of time.
The building is an Art Nouveau villa that, a century after its birth, was acquired by the Fendi Venturini family and completely restored and made into a hotel.
Finished with marble staircases and pillars, antique tiles, mirror and glass details, sculptures and chandeliers, the interior is flamboyant yet lovable. It mixes modern and traditional with design pieces from the 1930’s and the 1940’s on the focus.
There is an abundance of plants and art all around, and the history of the Fendi fashion house is displayed on the walls in the form of old photographs and Karl Lagerfeld’s sketches.
As exquisite and polished the property is, the hotel also follows Anna Fendi Venturini’s philosophy of hosting guests as if she would in her private home, so the service is warm and down-to-earth, never too formal.
Each of the 20 rooms of Villa Laetitia has its own name and mood. The rooms are located on the Villa’s upper floors and the Garden House, the guest house of the property, nestled in lush gardens.
Many of the Garden House rooms have a terrace or some type of outdoor area so we often choose to stay there, especially when we travel with our dog.
The hotel is located in Prati neighborhood on a residential area by Tiber river, and a fifteen-minute walk from the city center.
The area is peaceful and I really enjoy just taking Hilma out and walking the wide streets, admiring the architecture and finding new cafés and restaurants where you can enjoy your meal surrounded by the locals.
A while ago, I overheard a conversation in a café in Helsinki. Someone was trying to find ‘a decent hotel in Rome’ but thought all hotels were ugly after she had visited such beautiful places in Greece.
I smiled. Because yes, Greek design is very different from Italian design. And oh, there are so many beautiful, contemporary hotels on the islands of Greece or, say, Barcelona.
But if it is the real Italy you want to experience...
I have noticed it is more difficult to find that sensually minimalistic style in Italy, unless you are willing to leave the city and try something totally different.
There is often something just a little bit glossy or loud in the interior design. Something a Scandinavian could easily call bad taste, forgetting that we need a little bit of bad taste to stay healthy and alive...
Flamboyance aside, Italy is also very traditional, and very charming in the appreciation of the good old basic things that satisfy our basic human needs.
Talking to people in the south for example, it feels like what over-stressed career builders in buzzing cities read from self-help books, is common sense for these Italians.
Ask a taxi driver in Rome about different types of wind, the city history, art, love, passion, or how to care leather shoes. Ask them about fish, or types of vegetables or a pasta sauce recipe – and they will answer you like an expert.
The culture is deep and the more you know about it, the more you will love and appreciate it.
Lungotevere delle Armi, 22
00195 Roma, Italia