Posted by: debrakolkka | November 25, 2010

Lunch at Canova Tadolini – Rome

Canova and Tadolini

I have wandered past this restaurant in Via Babuino, near the Piazza di Spagna, countless times, but it wasn’t until I read Mary B’s blog that I realised it was a restaurant.  It has a very ugly sculpture outside, which I have often noticed, but I did not look further.

a most unattractive gent

We ventured inside and immediately decided to eat there instead of the outdoor area, even though it was a gorgeous autumn day.  The interior is filled with amazing sculptures which are simply there, not arranged in any particular way, just scattered about in gay abandon. 

these are life size or bigger

 It is as though the sculptors had downed tools and gone off for a stroll, with a view to come back later to chip away a bit further. From 1818 until 1967 the atelier was in the possession of 4 generations of sculptors from the Tadolini family.  Adamo Tadolini had been a student of Antonio Canova and they worked together on many commisions.  I don’t know when the space was turned into a restaurant, but it was a brilliant idea.

watching us eat

he looks important

left over bits

and more

the old workroom

We ate delicious ravioli in this amazining setting.  It is a little strange, being watched by these white beings, but a lot of fun as well.

waiting for lunch

yummy ravioli

So, if you are strolling down the lovely Via Babuino, and you see an very ugly man, step inside for a very interesting lunch.


  1. You have a wonderful imagination, Deb – I love your comments on the different sculptural pieces. Gives a sense of the past while enjoying the present. That ravioli looks scrumptious! Made my mouth water.

  2. Yeah, it would be a touch weird being looked down upon but fabulous all the same to amongst such old sculptures while you dined, love the freaky ‘left over bits’…, you never know when you need a spare angel wing huh 😉

  3. Now that’s not your usual lunching place. Love it. If only the sculptures could talk eh…

  4. That’s absolutely fascinating, quite literally fantastic.

  5. That’s the place we love going to too!! I have also blogged it! It’s a great feeling having all those statues watching while you eat!

    • Hi Mary,
      I mentioned your blog – that is how I discovered this place. Thanks!

  6. I wish I’d found your blog before I went to Rome – all these hidden gems I missed!

  7. I was reading your last three post Debra, and I couldn’t get enough of your pictures!
    With a blog like yours, who needs to pay a ticket to go to Italy, your posts are satisfying to the eyes and taste!
    Love it!
    Thank you once again for sharing your rich experience Debra!

    • Thank you for your lovely comments Mirella.

  8. Yes Deb
    Like you we have walked past it many times without going in. The water fountain sculpure outside is hideous. It is only a few hundred metres from where we live.

    So there you go. Don’t judge a book….. We will definately try it

    Thanks Deb


    • I’m sure you will enjoy it.

  9. What an interesting find!! I will have to bookmark this for my next trip. Thanks for discovering it!

  10. The Pantheon fo an artist !

    “They are for you, O ye graces, just a few leaves by a poet
    Onto your pure altar laid, buds of the rose beside,
    Offered in confidence. Artists enjoy ateliers which are furnished
    So as to make for a space Pantheon-like in decor:
    Jupiter lowers that godly brow while his Juno looks upward;
    Phoebus takes forward strides, shaking his curly head;
    While phlegmatic Minerva peers down on us, frivolous Hermes
    Seems to be looking askance, roguish, though tender as well.
    But it’s to Bacchus, the sensuous dreamer, Cythera sends glances
    Bathed in sweetest desire—even in marble they’re damp.
    Thinking about his embrace and its pleasures, she seems to be asking
    Shouldn’t our glorious son here at our side stand erect?”

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