When in Rome: Calvin Tsao

Reproduction of a map of Rome in monochromatic orange

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.

Calvin Tsao (2010 Resident) is a principal at Tsao & McKown Architects. He became chair of the Academy’s Board of Trustees at the start of this year.

1. Chez Dédé

Via di Monserrato, 35 
Nested close to Piazza Farnese, Chez Dédé is a cabinet of curiosities, assembled by a husband-and-wife team. Andrea Ferolla is an artist who designed some of the wares, while wife Daria Reina curates a changing collection of new and vintage objects for the home. A great place to discover things you never thought you wanted.

2. Renato e Luisa

Via dei Barbieri 25 
Renato is in the kitchen and Luisa tends to guests in a most welcoming and cozy room. In warm weather the scene at their restaurant spills onto the narrow street outside. The recipes are given a fresh take and execution, using the best seasonal ingredients.

3. Federico Polidori

Via del Piè di Marmo, 7/8 
Near the Pantheon is this unobtrusive shop where the leather smith Federico Polidori has been plying his shrinking trade for four decades. His sturdy and handsome leather goods can be custom made in a great variety of hides that will last a lifetime.


Via dell’Orso, 72 
The designer Carmelo Morello, who worked at many established fashion houses, now designs under his own line a collection of elegant, forward-thinking clothes using unusual, end-run textiles sourced from the mills in Como.

5. Bomba

Via dell’Oca, 39 
This store off Piazza del Popolo is a hidden gem full of exquisite clothing. Cristina Bomba designs the women’s wear while her son Michele Am does the men’s. A world-class Roman institution.

6. La Chambre Turque, Villa Medici

Viale della Trinità dei Monti, 1 
The Moorish room, or la Chambre Turque, at Villa Medici is worth getting a permesso to see this small space in one of the towers. It is an exquisite example of orientalism that so fascinated European artists of the nineteenth century.

7. Trinità dei Monti

Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 3 
The murals at the church of Trinità dei Monti were painted using anamorphic projection, where one can only see the true image by looking at it obliquely.

8. SantoPalato

Piazza Tarquinia, 4 a/b 
Situated off Piazza Tarquinia, a bit away from historic center, this restaurant features a modern treatment on an old Roman tradition of serving offal in an offbeat and easygoing atmosphere.

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

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Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

+39 335 6857707

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