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, an 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!