Cisterna" restaurant is certainly one of the oldest restaurants of Rome capital. Hans
Rath, a German writer in love with Rome, in his book titled "Osterie Romane"
(Roman Taverns), dates the origins of La Cisterna back to the year 1630, when the tavern
"osteria" was situated below the street level (four meters below today's street
level). In 1700's the street level of the neighborhood Trastevere (named after the famous
Roman river, the Tiber) was elevated to avoid the frequent flooding of the adjacent river.
This level, called the underground, is where the historical well from the 17th century
around which the "osteria" tavern was originally built is situated. The well
called by the people of the neighborhood "Cisterna" gives the name to the
At the end of the eighteenth century on top of the new street level was built the new
building, which still hosts the restaurant "La Cisterna" now.
After World War I, Cesaretto and Marietta Simmi, originally from Trastervere, bought the
tavern and transformed it into a worldwide famous restaurant, which maintains the cordial
and friendly atmosphere that is typical of Trastevere.
After having had dinner with a background of Roman songs the guests go for a tour in the
underground level where the Simmi family has kept all evidences and historical finds of
the century, including the wonderful well. Of particular interest are also the beautiful
poems of the owner Cesaretto and from other Romanesque authors.
It is also the restaurant tradition at the end of the tour to have the guests throw a coin
in the well and celebrate with a glass of champagne (Champagne is the title of one of
Cesaretto poems) to wish for their return to this suggestive place.
Via della cisterna, 13