The focus of the regularly occurring series “When in Rome” is the city beyond the Janiculum, coming directly from those who have spent time in Rome—including fellows, residents, staff, and more. Selections typically include: quiet places or off-the-beaten-path locations; specialty shops or stores; cafés and restaurants; parks or green spaces; and views or vistas.
Five 2021 Fellows who have just returned from Rome share their favorite places in the city and region.
Via Stefano Colonna, 9
If you need a break from statues and spritzes and are craving instead some live music (of the more experimental vein) and great beers on tap, look no further than Klang in the heart of the Pigneto neighborhood. Check the website (updated weekly) to see who’s performing and go early for an artisanal burger.
—Katherine Balch (2021 Elliott Carter Rome Prize Fellow in Musical Composition)
Editor’s note: Klang is now a roving curatorial studio without a physical address.
2. Studio of Dario Cali
Via Nicola Zabaglia, 9
I often experienced Rome through the eyes of my six-year-old, Eliot. Of particular interest was the studio of children’s book author Dario Cali in the heart of Trastevere. There we found a charming book, Pepe of Trastevere, about a mischievous dog that visits iconic local spots, including the local luthier and his small clowder of cats, rabble-rousers at San Calisto, and Bar 5. We enjoyed using the book to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood as well as meeting a local author embedded into its life.
—Steve Parker (2021 Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize Fellow in Design)
3. Roseto di Roma Capitale
Via di Valle Murcia, 6
Located opposite the Circus Maximus, on the slopes of the Aventine hill, Rome’s central Rose Garden is not to be missed in May and June. Free and open to the public, the Roseto showcases over a thousand different species from all over the world. The design is also noteworthy: as a thank you to Rome’s Jewish community, which allowed the garden to be built on a former sacred cemetery, paths through the upper portion of the Roseto form the shape of a Menorah.
—Matthew H. Ellis (2021 Paul Mellon/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize Fellow in Modern Italian Studies)
4. Biscottificio Innocenti
Via della Luce, 21
This unassuming bakery—with its original custom 1960s oven—tops many “best-of” lists, but it’s the quiet ritual of strolling down from the Janiculum and stopping in on the way to some new adventure that necessitates a mention here. There are too many delicious treats at Biscottificio Innocenti to name but by far the best are the “Brutti ma Buoni” (“Ugly but Good”) cookies. Visit before a holiday weekend and see the neighborhood queue up in force to bring the seasonal specialties to family and friends.
—Katy Barkan (2021 Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture)
5. Fondazione Alda Fendi
Via dei Cerchi, 21
Fondazione Alda Fendi was my favorite respite in the city. Gently tucked out of the way near the Circo Massimo, and discretely marked with minimal signage, the gallery rises six floors through an ancient building with a contemporary insertion by architect Jean Nouvel. Daylight pierces down through the building and illuminates the experimental work of contemporary artists in a city born of tradition. In addition to the innovative art and architecture, the rooftop has a great bar with some of the best views of Rome in a relaxing atmosphere that is particularly inviting as the sun sets over the city.
—Kevin Benham (2021 Prince Charitable Trusts/Kate Lancaster Brewster Rome Prize Fellow in Landscape Architecture)