Trastevere, named for its position ‘beyond the Tiber’ (Tevere), is a picturesque medieval area located on the west bank of the Tiber. The area escaped the grand developments which changed the face of central Rome, and is a charming place to wander, eat or relax.
The heart of Trastevere is Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, a pedestrian square named after the 12th century
Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Step inside its dimly lit interior to see the glittering Cavallini mosaics. The steps surrounding the pretty central fountain are a good spot for relaxing and people-watching.
Behind the church you enter into the maze of narrow lanes at Trastevere’s heart. Plants scramble down walls from garden terraces, washing hangs out to dry. Quiet cobblestoned side streets lined with crumbling buildings with faded paintwork and graffiti covers the shutters of closed bars.
Cut across busy Viale Trastevere to reach Piazza di Santa Cecilia. Inside the
Basilica di Santa Cecilia, built on top of the saint’s house, you can visit the crypt and admire the mosaics.
In the neighbourhood you can visit also the Orto Botanico (botanic garden), an oasis with more than 7000 plant species, the perfect place to relax.
Above the gardens is the Gianicolo, the eighth hill of Rome. It’s worth the climb for some of the best views in the city, and it sees few tourists. At the top of it you’ll see the Garibaldi statue and you might also catch a puppet show there. Under the statue a cannon fires once daily at noon in the directions of the Tiber as a time signal. That ritual originated to give the sign to the surrounding bell towers to start ringing at midday.
If your stay includes Sunday morning you can shop at Porta Portese’s enormous Sunday flea market, it sells everything from antiques to clothes, prepare to bargain hard!
Romans and tourists flock to Trastevere to enjoy its lively nightlife: bars, pubs and, above all, trattorias where you can taste the authentic local food.