Grand Hotel de La Minerve, Roma

I took these pictures last month on my whirlwind trip to the Eternal City. This hotel occupies a sweet spot in my heart.

When my son was 10 years old, I took him on his first trip to Europe. Of course it was to Italy! Where else?! We stayed at this prestigious old hotel, so centrally located, and we have very fond memories.

It was funny because at the time of our visit, some bigwig from Korea was a guest in the hotel. His/her room was opposite ours. There were armed guards watching that room 24/7. When we checked in, the clerk told us that this would be going on. He told us we’d be safer than normal. It was kind of strange, because several men would be sitting in the room across from our door; they would have their door open all the time and were usually playing cards. It reminded me of the mafia.

When I was in Rome last month, the hotel was closed. Is it closed because of Covid, I wonder? I do hope it returns when the world returns more or less to normal!

My son and I also recall fondly that on our first morning on our trip, we woke up really early (jet lag) and left the hotel to go to the Rome zoo. It was the hottest June on record (at the time), and we were at the zoo when it opened. After the zoo, James spotted a stand selling enormous balloons. He really wanted a red one. This was my first trip to Italy after the Euro was introduced and, being bad at math and conversions, I wasn’t sure what the actual cost was. I later figured it out: I paid about $40 USD for that silly balloon!

But, it turned out to be a great investment and he kept that balloon with him on our trip and even took it on the train with him to Florence. When we were at the Minerva, he let go of it accidentally and it flew to the terribly high ceiling of the lobby. We assumed it was gone to us forever, but the hotel staff insisted on finding some long sticks and brought it down for him. I always knew Italian loved children, but this moment is especially sweet in my memory. My blue-eyed, red-haired, beautiful boy was immensely happy at that time.

When you walk out of the Minerva hotel, this is your incredible view! Not bad.

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