When in Rome: Tina Cancemi

Color reproduction of a map oif ancient Rome
Detail of sheet 28 of Rodolfo Lanciani’s 1901 edition of Forma Urbis Romae

The focus of the regularly occurring series “When in Rome” is the city beyond the Janiculum, coming directly from those who have spent time in Rome—including fellows, residents, staff, and more. Selections typically include: quiet places or off-the-beaten-path locations; specialty shops or stores; cafés and restaurants; parks or green spaces; and views or vistas.

Tina Cancemi, programs associate for special events and external affairs, has been with the American Academy since 2003. Born and raised in Japan, she graduated from Smith College and lives in Rome.

1. Museo delle Mura

Via di Porta San Sebastiano, 18
Located within Porta San Sebastiano along the via Appia Antica, Museo delle Mura (Museum of the Walls) showcases Rome’s defensive history from antiquity to the third century CE. A panoramic terrace and sparse crowds make this museum visit a quietly pleasant and reflective one. Free admission is also a plus.

2. Basilica of Santa Maria della Pace

Arco della Pace, 5
In my early days after moving to Rome, I innocently stepped into the Basilica of Santa Maria della Pace to avoid the summer heat to find, among other treasures, Raphael’s Sybils, painted in 1514. Though the fresco is hardly considered a hidden gem, my twenty-year-old self felt so giddy to have “discovered” a masterpiece on an afternoon walk. The painting, which can be viewed near the church’s front door as well as the first floor (Sala delle Sibille) of Chiostro del Bramante, was restored during the pandemic, in fall 2020.

3. Co.Ro. Jewels

Via della Scrofa, 52
Costanza de Cecco and Giulia Giannini of Co.Ro. Jewels are the architects-turned-designers behind these handcrafted gems inspired by Rome’s architectural heritage. I am a fan of their Roman Baroque line, especially their earrings replicating Borromini’s seven-pointed plan of the Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza.

4. Gelateria Torcè

Viale Aventino, 59
The gelato genius Claudio Torcè’s enterprise has expanded from its original EUR location to three more: Parioli, Aventino, and Marconi. My dog Tito and I adore walking around the green, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods of Aventino and San Saba, so a stop by Torcè Aventino for a scoop of their black sesame and matcha gelato before climbing the hill is a frequent and yummy tradition for us.

5. Trattoria Pennestri

Via Giovanni da Empoli, 5
I have enjoyed Trattoria Pennestri since 2017, when they opened, and am always comforted by their staunch commitment to quality and service. The ambience is sweet and inviting, their food delicious and satisfying (ask for the daily specials, which often feature seafood), the wine list solid (leaning more into natural than conventional wines), and most of all, their warm and gentle staff are among the friendliest in Rome. They get busy, so prepare to settle in for a leisurely meal as waiting times vary between dishes. I also love that they open as early as 7:00pm for dinner!

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

Director of Communications

212-751-7200, ext. 342

a.mitchell [at] aarome.org (a[dot]mitchell[at]aarome[dot]org)

Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

+39 335 6857707

m.bonicelli.ext [at] aarome.org (m[dot]bonicelli[dot]ext[at]aarome[dot]org)