Antica Osteria Da Giovanni - Lani Bevacqua
via della Lungara 41
Just beyond the limit of Trastevere proper, outside the gate at Porta Settimiana, beyond John Cabot University, there is stretch of the via della Lungara not more than 365 feet long that could easily fill an afternoon. The Orto Botanico is your first stop. On your left, up an imposing driveway that evokes its former use as a private palazzo's garden, the entrance is gated and an attendant will collect a fee. Once inside, you can choose one of the paths that lead to the garden's main fountain, water features, ducks, and plants that are identified with signs. It is a spot of green and cool in an otherwise car-filled city. Walk the paths into the thicker trees for some nice city views, or bring a picnic and watch the children play in the grass.
A few blocks farther along are the Villa Farnesina and Palazzo Corsini. The Arnesina, built as a suburban villa by the Chiga family in the sixteenth centry, is famous for its frescoed ceiling by Raphael, considered comparable to his work at the Vatican. But unlike the Vatican, the Farnesina is usually empty. You can actually sit down here and enjoy some quiet time with a masterpiece. Across the street, the Baroque Palazzo Corsini jumps forward a hundred years and boasts work by Carlo Maratta, Giovanni Lanfranco, Caravaggio, and Annibale Carracci.
Father along via Lungara, on the left, you find the Casa Internazionale delle Donne. This is a library, exhibition space, hotel, eco-friendly store, cafe, and more. The women-only hotel is a bargain, with single, double, and dormitory-style rooms. An adorable shop sells organic and artisanal products made by women.
If it's 8pm, drop into Da Giovanni, a homespun restaurant with no more than a dozen tables. Every night, hidden away on this stretch of via Lungara, Da Giovanni serves very fresh pastas and secondi to very few people, and if you arrive too late they will have run out of everything. That's when they know it's time to close. And the prices are extremely reasonable!