Peeling off the Layers

January 21, 2010 / Food & Wine
Rome, Lazio

La Cisterna was a hotspot for celebrities during Rome’s glamour days of the 1950s. Even today, celebrities can occasionally be seen dining at preferred Table # 9 on the outside patio.

However, this Trastevere institution is a treat even for non-VIPs because of the after-dinner delight of visiting the quirky basement. There is an odd assortment of statues, a mosaic decorated staircase, and most surprisingly, anPeelingLayers2 ancient well. Tradition calls for guests to throw a coin down the well and then drink a glass of Prosecco for good luck.

The well serves as a reminder of another era. In fact, the original restaurant can be dated back to 1630, when the street level of Trastevere was four meters (12 feet!) lower, prior to the construction of the Tiber’s embankments.

Rome truly is a city steeped in history with layers of secrets waiting to be discovered… even when you grab a bite!


Ian Zurzolo

by Ian Zurzolo

Writer, editor, American University of Rome graduate, Italian Notebook Editorial Intern.

6 Responses to “Peeling off the Layers”

  1. Love it, Ian! Wish readers around the world could all meet for that coin toss and glass of Prosecco!

  2. From an personal perspective, what the Italian Notebook invites us to do is revisit the relationship between the olive tree cultural wisdom and the creativity and energy of a Lexus mentality. One symbol stands for the past and the other for the present. When we connect the wisdom grounded in antiquity with the energy of our rapidly changing world we rediscover our complexity of roots and our wings and appreciate both. Bringing these two perspectives together is what this Notebook does well providing hope and wisdom in our polarized world of righ/wrong, good/bad, black/white, and either/or thinking and invites us to move beyond that stuck place. In doing so we discover deeper mental, emotional, and spiritual bonds between the past and the presence while honoring both. John Bellanti

  3. Giacomina

    I love all the suggestions for attractions and restaurants to visit, but it would be very helpful if the authors would include the ADDRESSES of the places mentioned, not just the city or area of the city (e.g. Trastevere).


  4. Ian Zurzolo

    I only hope we can live up to your expectations in the future. Thank you for the kind and thoughtful comment.

    To all others,
    The address is Via della cisterna, 13. It is located right off of Via San Francesco a Ripa, near Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere.

  5. Frank Scaramella

    For all the new stories about Roma and Italy in general,you could write a book that would,,doubtless enrich any library.It is totally new to me and this, is the first time I learned about this underground spot.many Thnks!!


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