Exploring Trastevere, Palazzo Corsini

Jet lag finally caught up with my on my third day in Rome. I ended up snoozing my alarm and sleeping for about 12 hours total! By the time I woke up, it was almost lunch time so I prepared some gnocchi with pesto, chicken, and mozzarella before heading out to explore Trastevere. I walked down the Viale Trastevere towards the river and entered the crowded cobblestone alleys in the touristy part of the neighborhood. I walked past the famous Santa Maria in Trastevere church and made my way to the Palazzo Corsini, about a 30 minute walk from my apartment. Although I had visited the Villa Farnesina and Botanical Gardens two years ago on my visit to Rome, the Palazzo Corsini had been closed so I had not had the chance to tour its small gallery.

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typical street in Trastevere

The Palazzo Corsini was built between 1730 and 1740 for the Corsini family. The National Gallery of Antique Art in the Corsini Palace on the first floor of the palace is comprised of a variety of paintings, many with religious significance but also some landscapes and secular themed works. Although some big name artists are present, the collection serves more as an example of 18th century collecting. I was very disappointed that the collection does not include an audio guide nor very much information. Also, all of the handouts for each room were in Italian. I could make out the general interpretation but for those who can not understand Italian, it would be frustrating. Of the three museums I have visited this summer, I would recommend this one last to anyone in the city on holiday.

Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Corsini

I left the Palazzo Corsini after about 30 minutes in the small gallery and navigated my way through Trastevere to find Joey’s school for the summer, John Cabot University. The main reason why I am living and exploring Rome this summer is that my boyfriend has a 3 credit summer course at John Cabot. The school is located in Trastevere, so only about 20 minutes away from our apartment. After locating the school, I set off in search of the Via del Moro. There is a small place called the Forno del Ranella on the Via del Moro which I had read about in “Rome in Detail; A guide for the expert traveler”, listed as one of the best bakeries in Rome. I promptly ordered one of each of the 5 biscotti (cookie) varieties and went on my way. I was determined to wait to enjoy my biscotti with some tea at my apartment but while walking I was pulled into a place called Kettymanji because of their sign advertising fresh centrifughes (fresh made juices). I stopped in and ordered the “refreshing blend” with pear, apple, mint, and orange. I will return for the salad topped with all sorts of grilled veggies, it looked delicious!

biscotti from Forno del Renella
biscotti from Forno del Renella

On my way back along Viale Trastevere I stopped at a home goods store to purchase an additional pillow for the apartment. I always sleep with way too many pillows so an extra is a must! Then I stayed in the apartment for a couple of hours while the landlady’s son went to make a copy of the keys to have ready for when Joey arrives tomorrow. After a short time on Skype, I decided to head to the sporting goods store which Federico had recommended to look for a yoga mat. I had to hike back up the Scala de Ugo Bassi, those 15 flights of stairs by my house, to get there. I have a feeling those stairs and I will become quite close over the summer. Many great restaurants, stores, and parks are up at the top on the Janiculum hill.

After discovering that yoga mats cost $50 at the sporting goods store, I decided to try to get one from a budget store at a later time and began exploring the area at the top of the hill. I stumbled upon a wine shop with huge casks of wine where they sell wine by the liter. I bought a plastic bottle full of wine from Montepulciano for about $3.50. Next, I stopped in for more pizza by the weight at Pizza da Simone and took my pizza with zucchini flowers and plastic bottle of wine for a stroll in the Villa Sciarra. I found a park bench to sit on and eat my pizza and drink my wine while watching an assortment of dogs walk by with their owners. Rome has many parks and outdoor spaces which used to be part of opulent villas but are now open for the public to enjoy. This is very helpful because most Romans live in small, cramped apartments so these open air spaces serve as a sort of communal living room.

After dinner I made my way back down the massive staircase to Viale Trastevere and walked for a bit in the neighborhood around my apartment. There are many grocery stores and cafes on every block, and a large population of students from around the world, many speaking in English from the States or from England. This is because many university campuses are in the area, so I found one cafe advertising “American breakfast” proudly out front. Tomorrow I plan to visit a more contemporary art exhibit centered around the works of Marc Chagall. Updates to come!

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