Stuff, Wanderings

Bending The Rules

When I first joined Her Britannic Majesty’s Prison Service, several lifetimes ago, (I actually joined up twice it was such a hoot!) a gnarled old Chief Officer gave me some advice. ‘Sonny’, he said, ‘rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools!’

He wasn’t wrong! Which is why I’m bending my blogging rules and slipping in a little reklam (advert) for a very deserving little business. It’s called the Althea Inn, it’s in Rome and it is, in my opinion, a very special oasis in the midst of big-city hustle and bustle.

When J and I made our recent trip to Tuscany, flight timings meant that we needed to overnight in Rome. Ideally, we wanted to be as close to Ostiense rail station as possible and so we searched websites for places and information. It was an enlightening but uninspiring experience. Feedback about place after place around the area made for dismal reading – ‘. . whatever you do stay away from this dump’ . . ‘the photos lie!’ . . and so on.

the room

. . and then up popped the Althea Inn with glowing reports and photos. I phoned Alessandro the owner/operator and, dredging up all those years of experience of dealing with plausible, likable rogues (‘they’ are all plausible and likable when they want something), did a gut-feeling character assessment and booked.

the terrace

Streets around railway stations on wet, dark evenings seldom look very salubrious and Via dei Conciatori was no exception. Number 9 Via dei Conciatori does not look like the sort of place that would house the rooms we had seen on line – I experienced a slight wilting feeling as I rang the bell.


When Alessandro appeared and welcomed us our doubts melted away – he is a most charming and attentive host. When he opened the door to our rooms it was like walking into one of the many photos of his tastefully decorated rooms. The mini-fridge was stocked with non-profiteeringly priced drinks; on the table was complimentary chilled wine and scrummy, hand-made chocolates. The shower was hot and the bed wonderfully comfortable.

breakfast of our choice

a nightcap before a wonderful night’s sleep

Breakfast next morning was a treat of fresh fruit salad, good coffee, juice, croissants, and a selection of meats and cheeses – delicious! On our return leg we had a different room and a repeat of everything above, plus a black, luxury Merc complete with a ‘Man-In-Black’ driver who was himself complete with earpiece with blue, flashing light. Cool!

So, if you are in Rome and want a really decent place to stay then contact:

Alessandro, Althea Inn, Via dei Conciatori 9, Roma 00154   Tel: (+39) 0698932666  Mobile: (+39) 3394353717  email: info at altheainn dot com   website:           B&B: 90 Euros per room    Man-In-Black with car to airport 50 Euros

That’s it! Promotion over – normal service is resumed.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

12 thoughts on “Bending The Rules

  1. Totally off topic but oh my! Did you really used to work right next door to where I used to work?

    And my dad used to be MO there…. (One of my first phrases was ‘My daddy’s dahn the Scrubs…’

    1. . . at last, someone who will believe some of the outlandish stories of life behind bars! Did many a detached at Scrubs and Brixton and for some time when I was reception officer I’d make weekly trips to select prisoners for our jail Eastchurch. When I rejoined I became Industrial Manager for the place and H&S manager for all three island jails. Small world! We have to meet up and swap tales.

  2. İt looks and sounds wonderfull. The room and terrace are so chic and welcoming. Pity i am not going to Rome.:-(

    1. . . ahhh! You might go there one day for a romantic break with hubby and this is a very romantic place to stay in Rome.

  3. Alan, Not telling people about good things is not a good rule at all! (And besides, you break that rule all the time.) It’s interesting that we also found a nice B & B for a very reasonable price near the Termini RR station (Little Italy B&B). Rome is so daunting because there are so many expensive hotels that are so terrible but it is possible to find modest B & B like Althea. Thanks for the tip.

    1. . . you are right, it’s more a case of not wanting to go down any sort of endorsement road on a regular basis. Anyway, when people/places/things stand out they deserve a share. We’ll be looking for a reklam from you guys when we wander up to the big city.

    1. I admire your interpersonal skills Jack, generally we were a hard-hearted lot, never easy to find the soft bits!!

    1. . . you can see from the photos how nice it is, and the pizzaria just down the road is excellent. There are other classy places around but we lacked the time to try them. Access by bus, train and metro are close by so getting around the city is easy.

  4. thrilled to hear of this place – and if i had had half a brain around me – would have gotten you together with Mozzarella Mamma – now we know where to stay when we visit them next!

    1. . . had it planned to meet up with MM but floods, re-routed trains and a tight schedule scotched that as she lives the other side of Rome. We’ll manage it better next time. Really excellent place to stay.

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