When in Rome: Joseph Farrell & Ann de Forest

Detail of an 18th century map of Rome
Detail of Leonardo Bufalini and Giovanni Battista Nolli, Vrbis Romae ichnographia, 1755

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.

In this edition we highlight the favorites of Joseph Farrell, who was a Resident in fall 2013, and his wife, Ann de Forest, a frequent Visiting Artist. Joe and Ann have been exploring Rome together since 1982. When not doing that, they live in Philadelphia, where he teaches classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania and she is a writer whose work centers on the resonance of place.


Via Giovanni da Empoli, 37

Not your typical Roman restaurant, but definitely among the most satisfying and imaginative ones. Chef Domenico Cortese spent ten years in the Rome Sustainable Food Project kitchen at AAR, and Marigold is his dream. Organic, seasonable ingredients, locally sourced or foraged, are the basis of everything served here. The menu (breakfast, brunch, and lunch only) changes every day and is at once familiar, inventive, and always delicious. Domenico’s partner, Sofie Wochner, is a master baker whose breads and pastries are all irresistible. A warm welcome is part of the experience, and Domenico and Sofie themselves, sometimes both, make time to schmooze with patrons.

Studium Urbis

Via di Montoro, 24

Borrowed from the original name of the medieval Sapienza University, Studium Urbis is where the remarkable Allan Ceen studies the history of the city through the history of maps, prints, and other historic media. Housed in an unpretentious street in Campo Marzo, Studium Urbis is an archive, a workshop, and an exhibition space that Allan has created over decades of teaching, researching, and writing about Rome. If any of this sounds interesting, you should definitely visit. Studium means “enthusiasm,” and Allan’s studium urbis is definitely the infectious kind.

Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo

Via di San Teodoro, 74

The Saturday and Sunday farmer’s market across from the Basilica di Sant’Anastasia al Palatino has an amazing selection of organic meats and fresh fish, produce, dairy, olive oils, artisanal pasta—it’s hard to go wrong here. The vibe is very relaxed, down to earth, and friendly. Same goes for the outdoor “food court”—that’s kind of what it is, even if this one is the antithesis of what you’d find at the mall—where you can get a lunch that is worth the trip by itself (seafood fries, savory soups, local craft beers and wines), even if you don’t do any shopping. Enjoy the view of the nearby Arco di Giano and the campanile of San Giorgio in Velabro and occasional exhibitions and activities for kids. Have a coffee at the Bar Santeo around the corner and explore the base of the Palatino, the west flank of the Forum, and adjacent areas (Velabro, Foro Boario, and of course Circo Massimo) while you’re in the neighborhood.

Hotel Villa San Pio

Via Santa Melania, 19

Of course everyone would rather stay at AAR, but sometimes that’s not possible, or it may just make more sense to be closer to the center of things. At the Villa San Pio you can have both, a central location and peace and quiet. One of three adjacent hotels on the Aventino, all under the same management, it’s quite reasonably priced, something you would never expect if you just walked in the front gate into its beautiful garden or its gracious reception area. Nor do the rooms disappoint, or the silence of the neighborhood by night, or the delightful indoor/outdoor breakfast area, which is also a tranquil place to relax with an aperitivo after a busy day. Just down the hill is the Marmorata/Galvani bus stop, where you can catch the 75 and get up the hill in about fifteen minutes. Or you can cross the via Marmorata and head for shopping or lunch at the Testaccio market or to try one of many excellent dinner options in that neighborhood.

Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini

Via Foro Traiano, 84

Right in the center of everything, just off Piazza Venezia, is a trifecta experience. You can decide which is the main attraction, but the titular one is a pair of elite homes (domus) from the Roman Imperial era discovered under Palazzo Valentini (itself an elite Renaissance home, but one not open to visitors). The structure is complex, both because it developed over time and because it was heavily damaged by earthquakes and the encroachment of other architectural projects (including Palazzo Valentini itself). But an augmented reality installation with sound an guides visitors through the buildings’ rooms, revealing their original form and purpose. The other two attractions are a concrete bunker built during WWII to protect the Fascist brass from Allied bombardments and, on the other side of that, an amazingly up-close view of Trajan’s column.

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)