Just a 3-minute ride on Tram 8, or a short walk, across the Tiber from Centro Storico, Trastevere is a fusion of past and present. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with ivy-covered balconies, colorful bohemian boutiques, and local restaurants will enchant and romance. Get away from the crowds and explore side streets. Slice yourself out a piece of everyday Rome with a tall glass of vibrant nightlife. Piazza Santa Maria is the ever-pulsing heart of the district with boutiques and cafes by day, fire dancing and pubs through the night. Many travelers come to the Piazza to view Pietro Cavallini’s shining mosaics; you can get a good view from the fountain.
Trastevere is Rome’s last surviving medieval pocket, the district retainvs its working class population even after the rest of the city has modernized. Drop into the rich history of the neighborhood and peek inside the city’s oldest church, the Basilica of Santa Maria, where parts of the structure date to the mid 4th century. Or explore Santa Cecelia, one of Rome’s most interesting churches based on the patron saint of music. Then aim for a bird’s eye view of Rome from Mount Janiculum. On the way up don’t miss the church of San Pietro in Montorio where St. Peter is said to have been crucified. Take a photo at the extravagant 15th-century fountain Fontana dell’Acqua Paola.
Trastevere Things to Do
Cruise the open markets at Piazza San Cosimato where local chefs come for daily produce. Cafés and Pizzerias line the streets. Roman authenticity abounds here in eateries humbly adorned with garlic braids and local photographs. For a spot at a fancier table make reservations at one of the districts finer restaurants, chances are you’ll never find a better plate of amatriciana pasta. If you’d prefer to grab and go, get a slice of pizza or ice cream and head to Via Corsini to eat it at Orto Botanico, Rome University’s 19th-century botanical gardens.
Fuel up for a night of indulgence, and once the sun is down hit the streets of Trastevere. Enjoy a quiet meal at one of the restaurants along the river. Or explore Via Benedetta’s selection of bohemian pubs featuring local craft beers. Via del Politeama offers a chic and hip atmosphere and cocktails. For the traveler on a budget, end the night at Piazza di San Calisto where inexpensive is the name of the game, and the view couldn’t get better.
Any Roman traveler seeking to immerse themselves in the local culture will find Trastevere a rich local hub of tourist aimed activities and working class Roman life. The crowds can get large in the main areas but it’s not difficult to slide down a side street and find a quiet café. Trastevere offers a unique view into medieval Rome with narrow alleyways and authentic terra cotta colored walls. The district will capture your heart. It’s not too far from the Coliseum and walkable from Rome’s city center. Remember that weekends tend to be more active and most shops close at midday for a few hours.