Discover Rome: Piazza di San Cosimato in Trastevere, one of the liveliest places in Rome
Trastevere is one of the most ancient districts of Rome. It represents the beating heart of the city, and if you are in the capital, you can't miss to visit it. The points of interest in this area are so many, some very famous such as Piazza Trilussa along the Lungotevere - the river Tiber - or Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, within the district.
A less known but still worthy of a visit location is Piazza di San Cosimato.
In Piazza di San Cosimato, you can admire the church with the same name, now part of the new hospital Regina Margherita.
In the ancient times, the Church was part of a Benedictine monastery, dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano. In 1233, it was entrusted to the “Clarisse”, the nuns of Saint Damiano. The building's façade overlooks the square and it is preceded by a vestibule (from 12th century), made of re-use materials. From the entrance, you could access to a courtyard where there is a bathroom vase made of granite, decorated with still visible lion heads and rings.
In the monastery, there were two cloisters: the first is located on the right side of the main building and it originally was on two floors, but the arches of the upper floor were replaced by some rooms dating back to the 15th century. The second cloister was built in the fifteenth century, and it is characterized by a pillars structure and by the presence of a covered well in the middle.
In 1891, the convent was seized by the municipality and it became a hospice. The nuns moved to the convent of Saint Gregorio, in the Celio district. The complex, however, became the seat of the new Regina Margherita hospital, in 1960.
The church could be accessed crossing the courtyard of the public square, and passing through the vestibule, closed nowadays. On the right side of the courtyard, there was the entrance to the most ancient cloister, from which you could reach the second cloister, where the well was situated.
Being a church annexed to a convent, the building was small. Pope Sisto IV of the Rovere, with the occasion of the Jubilee of 1475, started to the restyling is of the church and of the monastery. This evidence is visible thanks to the inscription inside the architrave of the back door dating back to the 15th century.
The inside of the church is made of an only one nave and it was changed in 1871. We can still see only the "Holy Mary with the Child" from the 15th century phase, a fresco made by "Il Pastura", Antonio del Massaro. A small bell tower in Romanesque style completes the building.
The market of Piazza di San Cosimato
Near Piazza di San Cosimato, there is a very ancient market, opened from the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the current vendors still respect the ancient traditions of their family, working with their stand and a generation after the other. The scene of the market in Piazza di San Cosimato represents a perfect picture of the life in Trastevere, where time seems has stopped.
You can buy food or abandon yourself to the fascinating stories told by the various vendors, almost all inhabitants of the district.
During the years, many things have changed in the market. For about two years, it has been moved to Piazza Mastai, due to the renovation of Piazza di San Cosimato.
The restyling of the square didn't please the people living there, as they think the modern project has wasted much of the history of the square. The greatest regret also comes from the market vendors who felt excluded by the renovation: despite this, they have never lost their smile interacting with the customers. According to them, people still went to the market not only for daily shopping but also to exchange the classic “neighbourhood chattering”.
As explained by Mrs Giuliana Pettini - who inherited the cheese and meat stand from her father – “Going to the supermarket is easier but much more sterile. Around the 80s, my offer has introduced "delicatessen" of the Alps”. The lady says that when she will stop working, her son Emiliano will inherit everything, just as the tradition dictates.
The same familiar and informal atmosphere can be breathed at the desk of Mr. Franco, also known as the "market leader". The business originally belonged to his father's aunt, then it was inherited by his father, and today, carrying on the family tradition is up to him. At the beginning, the stand used to sell only fruits and vegetables but over the years it has expanded and it now offers a wide variety of products.
Menelik is the oldest fish stand there. It is situated in the market of Piazza di San Cosimato since the 20s. Concerning meat, the butcher shop of Mauro is an institution where you will be able to buy domestic hens, eggs, meat balls, quails and steaks together with various pre-packaged meals ready to be cooked.
Among the funniest stands, we have to mention the one selling second-hand books, where you can collectors’ items, and the small corner where to buy good quality food for animals.
The park for the children
In Piazza di San Cosimato, there is a small park for children. Despite the modest dimensions, it has numerous attractions for children. A peculiarity of this playground is the presence of so many toys given by the inhabitants of the district, but also from other people.
They have been left there to allow all children to taking advantage of them. The atmosphere in this playground is quiet and happy, and it brings you back to the past, when the children used to play in the street, with no apprehensions and pressure from their parents.
Open air cinema
In the summer 2018, Piazza di San Cosimato has become the seat of the "new" Cinema America, once again. In 2014, the people showed the intention of bringing films projections in the historical square in Trastevere, to continue the tradition of the Cinema America, in order to save it from demolition. Merchants and residents expressed great enthusiasm for this idea and they worked hard to bring the Cinema America back to the square.
It is a truly political and cultural event, created to commemorate the historical Roman cinema, and to let the citizens live the public squares in an unusual way, and to enhance the role of aggregation and social growth they have.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Hotel Panama Garden, ideal for discovering Rome thanks to its strategic location.