It seems that this time round, on my second visit to Rome, I am enjoying it more and starting to fall in love with it. I believe that the reason my love for this ancient city didn’t develop last time is that I was too concerned about doing all of the sights and attractions and I neglected the heart of the city. Today, I discovered a secret haven within Roma’s heart which I would love to tell you all about.
Piazza di San Cosimato is a spacious triangular area squeezed between colourful 6-storey apartment blocks and situated west of the river, approximately equidistant between Vatican City and the Colosseum. This triangle hosts a daily morning fruit and vegetable market used by the locals as well as cheese, meat and book stalls. Permanently in the Piazza is a children’s play area which was teaming with kids having tonnes of fun today. All around the piazza are shops, cafes and restaurants beneath the homes of the local Romans. All of this provides a community hub and brings everyone together. It’s a really lovely place to spend time in as a tourist and (attempt to) blend in.
Today, the 18th of February, the piazza bought together even more people than usual. The crowds joined to mourn the loss of Massimo Fagioli, a psychoanalyst with an incredible amount of dedicated fans. You can read about this here. The scenes were heartwarming of people hugging, crying and laying flowers. I didn’t want to intrude but I watched from afar and it gave me a whole different impression on this area and its inhabitants.
Then I discovered the true secret haven. It really is one of the most wonderful places I have ever been in and I can’t believe more people don’t know about it. The place was deserted – which added to its charm – and it was mainly Italians that were there. And cats. Chiesa di San Cosimato is a church that was part of a monastery and is accessed via a courtyard from the piazza. It may be partially in ruin now but it contains a collection of beautiful garden squares connected by open convent cloisters. I found it incredibly peaceful to wander through the arched walkways and sit beneath the orange trees with the cats and relax.
This area of the city is really lovely and I would recommend having a wander and soaking in the atmosphere of a community space. This church is also very special and deserves some time on your travels.
Just a snippet of my day today,