The Devil is in the Details

February 18, 2016 / Art & Archaeology
Rome, Italy

Walking along Via della Lungara, the old road on the Trastevere-side of the river that leads to the Vatican, you’ll spot these two pots perched on their columns on the side street that leads to the Orto Botanico, right after you pass John Cabot University on your right.


They are decorative elements of the impressive iron fence that surrounds the mid-18th century Palazzo Corsini (now the Accademia dei Lincei, Italy’s Science Academy), although perhaps they aren’t that old?


They’re they kind of details that are easy to miss in Rome, which truth be told was the case for me until yesterday. Actually, peeking down the length of the fence, I saw that there’s one of these pots above each of the columns.


Who knows what their story is? Regardless, the grotesque dual-direction facing devilish faces are a fun “find” to have come across… one of the many whimsical urban decorative details that make Rome Rome.



by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

15 Responses to “The Devil is in the Details”

  1. It should be also said that Palazzo Corsini, besides hosting the Accademia dei Lincei, is also the place of the “Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Palazzo Corsini”, which is open to public (with a fee; free the first Sunday of the month). Among the paintings are works by Beato Angelico, Rubens, Murillo, Luca Giordano. Here is a link for more info (click on “visita le sale” to see the interior):
    The historical gardens of the palazzo are part of the Botanic Gardens.
    Thanks for all your posts on the Eternal City!


    • GB

      Thanks Emanuela, we’ll be writing a note about the collection for sure! As carol said, non basta una vita!

  2. Nice post. One of the joys of Rome is seeing things you haven’t noticed before. Also nice to know about the art collection inside.

  3. lewis murray

    gb…good work re pots at palazzo corsini. i have always thought they were attractive, but never went further…there is SO MUCH to see in our town…regards, lewis

  4. Linda Boccia

    why don’t you write a small book about Rome and let those of us who have either lived there or love it in particular contribute to it? I love your off beat stories about many things and it would be fun to know even more.

  5. GB
    Been down that street many times before, admiring the old section of Rome and never noticed them before. We assume they are your current photos.
    Many thanks, good friend.
    Suzanne and Ron

  6. Helen Anderson

    Love the Trastevere area and your article. It brings back wonderful memories. Do you know anything about the former Convent of the Sacred Heart, Villa Lante? It had been there for centuries.


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