The Cloisters of San Cosimato

We recently went with our friends over to a lovely little piazza in Trastevere. We had never before been to Piazza San Cosimato. There were two reasons for the visit that day. The first was to let our friends’ toddler have some time at the marvelous little playground there (she loved it).

The second reason to go was to enter a marvelous place, the old entrance to which was visible just beyond the playground.

A hint that the something very cool lies  behind the playground in Piazza San Cosimato

The massive door in the little tower is no longer the entrance to the wonderful place we were to explore. Instead, just past the old entrance, you walk into a hospital parking lot  — yes, you read that correctly. We were going to the Ospedale Nuovo Regina Margherita, a polyclinic housed in an ancient monastery complex (that happens to accept foreign tourists).

The entrance to the hospital complex.

Pass through the small hospital parking lot, and you enter another world… a beautiful, medieval one: the cloisters of the church of San Cosimato.

The gorgeous, delicate double-column medieval arcade
The medieval cloisters


One of the ambulatories of the medieval cloisters, decorated with bits of ancient and medieval carvings


A close-up of a bit of lovely carving

But this amazing 13th Century cloister is only part of a fascinating, larger complex. We climbed a small set of steps at one corner of this cloister, past the sign for the Contagious Diseases unit — I am not making this up — and arrived at a second cloister. This one is younger, from the 15th Century.

The second cloister…


…built during the Renaissance

After that, we walked to yet a third courtyard, that of the church of San Cosimato (which, alas, was closed).

The demure little church of San Cosimato, with an adjoining tower


The church courtyard, with a quietly bubbling fountain

Look to the left of the fountain and you see the interior of the door shown in the first picture of this post.

The interior of the original entrance

Once done enjoying the cloisters, we headed off for craft beer, pasta, and gelato! Not bad for a gentle fall afternoon in the Eternal City.