There’s a sense of anticipation the moment you enter the marble hall, with its deep, pale sofas and fresh flowers – Marco’s wide smile and infectious enthusiasm reinforce the feeling. This is an unusual, delightful place, hidden down a side street five minutes’ walk from the Spanish Steps. The house belonged to Marco’s father, and Marco and Giulia (he a writer, she a musician) have turned it into the perfect small hotel, which they run with artistic flair. Marble floors, white walls and scarlet furnishings are a dramatic setting for black-and-white photos, their starkness softened by luxuriant plants. The bread oven of the 1700s has become a dining room – all vaulted ceilings, whitewashed walls, cherrywood tables. Bedrooms are fresh and vary in size; some have balconies and wonderful views, all have small, perfect bathrooms. There’s a lovely new sitting room and bar for guests. The whole place has a sweet, stylish air, and there’s a small, jasmine-scented courtyard, an unusually quiet oasis in the centre of the city. The friendly staff will do everything to make your stay enjoyable; ask about Rome’s secret corners or grab a copy of Marco’s new guide and discover them for yourselves.