After wandering around the streets of the capital all day, it would be wonderful to come across a peaceful oasis right in the center of Rome where you can relax and have a bite, or perhaps just enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine.
Far from the noise of the city and a long way from overcrowded tourist sites, you’ll find a doorway on the left side of the church of Santa Maria della Pace behind Piazza Navona. Inside is the Chiostro del Bramante (the Bramante Cloisters), one of the hidden beauties of the Renaissance heart of Rome.
The building is one of the most harmonious examples of Roman Baroque architecture, and is often used as a venue for some of the best art shows in town. But, if you don’t feel like visiting any exhibitions, you can still go to the Caffetteria Bistrot, which has the same hours as the Cloister del Bramante itself (Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., or 9 p.m. on weekends). Within this fascinating blend of classical and modern architecture, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, a simple coffee and a pastry, or, if the mood strikes you, an aperitif. There are two rooms on the upper floor, and so you can either take a seat between the columns and observe the geometric architecture of the Cloister from above, or look through the large windows of the Sala delle Sibille, just next to the cafeteria to admire Raphael’s splendid fresco of the Sibyls in the church of Santa Maria della Pace, all while listening to an interactive audio guide.
While in the center of Rome, the Caffetteria Bistrot in Chiostro del Bramante is the perfect spot when you have a bit of spare time. For breakfast, you can choose from croissants, brownies, muffins, toast, eggs, or yogurt with muesli or honey. If you’re looking for a caffeine fix, try the Macchiatone, which is a large macchiato that is bar’s specialty. Vanity Fair described this as one of the 101 best breakfasts in Italy. However, if you’re here in the afternoon and looking for lunch instead, don’t worry because this architectural gem has you covered. You can choose a tasty omelet with cheese and arugula, or a mouthwatering risotto made with juicy tomatoes. And you can wash down either with a good wine. After lunch, it’s time for a cup of tea. When it arrives at the table, you can’t believe how good it looks. Order it with the homemade cheesecake and you’re in heaven.
The Caffetteria Bistrot at the Chiostro del Bramante also operates as a showroom for young artists, and is frequently a venue for temporary shows of contemporary art. If you’re only in town for a few days and want to use the internet to search for other rare pearls in the center of Rome, you can connect to the bar’s WiFi free of charge.