Rome’s Best Neighborhood: Trastevere

(Last Updated On: March 9, 2019)

Rome is made up of many distinct areas, each with its own characteristics and charms. And each with fiercely loyal locals who consider the Roman neighborhood where they live, and their families have lived for generations, the very best. Such is the case for the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere.  Trastevere (which means β€œacross the river”) was populated by immigrants from the eastern portions of the empire in the early days of the Roman Empire. It served as an important trading and market area, but today is better known for the many bars and restaurants that line its narrow streets.TrastevereBridge

 

Today, the area offers a great break from the busy crowds at the well-known touristic attractions and gives you a glimpse into what it means to be Roman. We started our visit to Trastevere by wandering on the Tiber Island, a small island in the river between the district and the old Jewish Ghetto. Here you can see several temples, visit the hospital that was founded in 1584 and is still operational, and see the remnants of an original structure on the island that was originally designed to give it the shape of a boat.TrastevereSideStreet

 

Wandering away from the river, the streets narrow, making it easy to get lost in the small and twisted streets. And the frequent passing local heading off on their scooters kept us on our toes.TrastevereJen

 

It was nice to slow down and see great examples of the historic architecture. Everything from streets made of carved black volcanic stones, to building hundreds of years old with some original brick that were once manufactured in Rome peeking through the plaster walls.SantaCecilia

 

Like most of Rome, Trastevere has its share of churches. Perhaps one of the most interesting is the church of St. Cecilia. One of the focal points of the church is the Baroque sculpture of St. Cecilia, an early Christian martyr. According to legend, when Cecelia’s tomb was opened almost a thousand years after her death in 1599, her body was found perfectly preserved. This sculpture is a representation of how she was found in her tomb.Cecilia

 

One of other things you’ll notice is that the columns of the church are all different, like the architect couldn’t decide on just one style. The columns are actually from other sites. Recycling and re-use of decorative elements from older historical sites is common in churches throughout Rome.Trasteverechurch

 

Even small fragments of older churches and Roman ruins have been used as decorative pieces outside the church

Trastevere church wall

Throughout the neighborhood are bars and restaurants tempting you inside with the smell of Italian food cooking and the sight of bowls of pasta and thin crusted pizza parading by.TrastevereStreet

 

On a visit to the area, you can find many superlative but lesser known spots in Rome.

The oldest church: Basilica of Santa Maria 

The smallest church: San Benedetto in Piscinula

The best bakery: Artigiano Innocenti

The best gelato: Gelateria Alla Scala? Fior di Luna? Gelateria del Teatro? Too many choices….

Ok, so perhaps all of this is up for debate, unless you ask someone from Trastevere, and they’ll have their own opinion!

If you decide to visit, find yourself a local to tag along with or you may miss some of the charms (and a lot of the history) that Trastevere has to offer. We wandered the streets with Vanessa from Urban Adventures Rome. In addition to being a born and raised here, she is also an archeologist who is very passionate about Rome and its history, which added an extra element to our exploration!

Thank you to Urban Adventures Rome for providing us with this tour. Our story and our opinions are our own.

Related Articles:

Rome – Behind the Keyhole

Roaming in Rome – Colosseum and Forum

Some of the links on this article are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small referral fee. If you find the links useful and do make a purchase, thanks so much for your support!

25 thoughts on “Rome’s Best Neighborhood: Trastevere”

    • Rome is one of my all time favourite cities in Europe. I love the history, architecture, people, food and atmosphere. It has it all. I loved this neighbourhood when I was wandering around exploring. There are so many parts to this city. Great post and photos

  1. It a dream of mine to one day visit Rome. To me it is a beautiful city full of such rich history. I love the pictures you shared as it made the city come to life even more. I really enjoyed reading your post and the descriptions of the pictures you took. Thank you

  2. loved your take on the history! that’s my way of travelling – not the main, most famous places in the city but looking for the beauty of those not known πŸ™‚ beautiful!!

  3. I adore your posts about Rome, they instantly take me back to one of my favorite cities! And yes, Trastevere is one of my favorite parts of the city with a fantastic atmosphere both during the day and at night!

  4. We’ll be in Rome next week, but only for 4 days. And it isn’t nearly enough. I’ve been contemplating and wondering where to fit TRastavere into our busy schedule, and now it looks like I absolutely must. Such a pity that we won’t have time to wander into the churches like you.

  5. I love that first photograph with the car! It reminds me a bit of my time in Colonia, Uruguay – all the cars were just like that πŸ™‚ I love the richness in the photos and they are so rustic looking! I’d love to check out this neighbourhood!

  6. I absolutely love your photos! What is better than just wandering around a hidden alley, looking at houses and yards, watching the kids play soccer in the street. I love it!

  7. Your photos are GORGEOUS!! I miss Italy so much. I’ve been to Rome twice but never to this neighborhood, it will give me something to do next time! Maybe I’ll do a tour too ^_^ Thanks for the gelato suggestions!! πŸ˜‰

  8. When I was looking for my now apartment, I almost lived in Trastevere instead. But, honestly, I’m glad you enjoyed your time there but I’m not a huge Trastevere fan. I really like in the day, but at night it’s just too loud and noisy. And I could do with out all the drugs. That being said, it does have it’s own charm to it.

  9. I really liked Trastevere when i visited Rome a few years back. Although its not on the top of the list for many travelers there are a lot of interesting things to see. I enjoyed also the nightlife!

  10. I adore your photos! I went to Rome on a school trip many years ago. We were pushed through all the highlights and although I could see it was very beautiful indeed, it always left a bad taste in my mouth. However, I am dying to go back and wander through authentic neighborhoods like this one.

  11. Trastevere looks really pretty, and that church – wow! I love the colour and those cute winding streets – looks like a great place to just wander around and get lost!

  12. I visited Rome a few years ago but only for a few days. I wish I had the time to get to know all these different districts properly. I loved your photos too, when I return I’m going to visit Trastevere for sure!

Leave a Comment