I found this box in the room of the B&B in Rome:

Box in the room

I am wondering what is its purpose as it is the first time I have found something like this in a room. There is only one of these even if the room is double.

Its shape and color remind me of a couple of restaurants that used something similar (but significantly smaller) for tipping.

Question: What is the purpose of this single box found in Rome B&B room?

I got another picture and the projected size is about 15 x 11cm. Also, the interior suggests something related to a fancy box used as a gift.

Box size and inside

  • 8
    Are you sure it has a special purpose? It looks decorative to me.
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 9:41
  • @MJeffryes - I am not sure, but it is likely to be decorative.
    – Alexei
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 9:47
  • 2
    @Alexei how does that exclude that the box is for storing things?
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 10:28
  • 2
    @Alexei I still don't understand why that would exclude it from being used for storage
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 10:33
  • 9
    I've certainly stayed in double rooms which had a desk with only one chair or a lamp on only one side of the bed. Not having one per person didn't make me doubt that the chair was for sitting in or that the lamp was for providing light, and I don't see why it should rule out storage of small items as the purpose of this small box with a lid any more than it would rule out any other conceivable usage
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


It's highly likely this box is decorative, my friend has one almost exactly the same that he bought from a department store, keeps small person items in there. A lot of people would use the box for storage instead of leaving smaller items on a surface, especially where they could roll or be knocked off. B&Bs commonly have personal items that the owner has put into the rooms, there doesn't have to be one for each person.

  • 7
    In the middle ages (before drawers and closets where 'invented') it was common place to have wooden or stone boxes to store clothes or personal items in sleeping rooms. Explanation given during tour through Wartburg castle. This may be a plausible explanation. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 11:35
  • 6
    As a side note: I think the invention of drawers is a substantial invention. It is not all that obvious in a world without drawers. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 0:42

The question edit shows there is something in the box after all:

  • soft fabric

  • a mirror

The box lid opens in an unusual direction, presumably because of the mirror, which is in "portrait" orientation.

My guess is this is a jewellery box provided by the hotel so that jewellery may be removed and kept out of harm's way, and/or from getting lost.

It is much simpler than such boxes usually are, because it only needs to contain jewellery actually being worn, not a whole collection.

And there is only one of them, because (typically) only one person will have significant jewellery to remove at night.

  • 2
    Where is the mirror?
    – smcs
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 9:29
  • 1
    @smcs I thought the mirror is inside the lid, on the right, because you can see the reflection of the fabric. But on reflection, it might be a lining stuck to the inside of the lid. But if so, I can't see why the lid opens in that unusual direction. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 9:35
  • @WeatherVane Perhaps a better question would instead be "why is the second picture on its side"? Comparing the dimensions of the box in the first and second pictures, I believe that the latch is off the left side of the second picture, not off the bottom. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 10:32
  • @Chronocidal no, "where is the mirror" is a better question because it is obvious that it's the box, not the picture, which has been turned and moved away from the wall to allow it to be opened, measured and photographed. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 15:31
  • @WeatherVane The question to which I was referring was "why [does] the lid open in that unusual direction". To which, "it doesn't". Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 15:58

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