Discover the colorful soul of Trastevere in Rome besides food spots, restaurants and nightlife
Deemed as the most characteristic and authentic neighborhood of Rome, Trastevere is celebrated for the genuine cuisine starring pasta and pizza, that you can enjoy sitting (better if outdoor) at a typical Roman trattoria, living the evocative beauty of Rome surrounded by its old walls and maritime pine trees. Nevertheless, this evocative neighborhood has many more gems to offer to those who are open to let themselves be blown away by hidden masterpieces of art and unique tales directly coming from its millennial past. This smart guide will embrace the ambitious challenge to capture all the rainbow shades embellishing Trastevere colorful soul. An overview on the story of this truthful neighborhood will let you understand why it has conserved almost intact its everlasting charm, together with all the info and tricks to appreciate its smell of history as much as any other food and drink flavor at its best.
Trastevere practical info
Where is Trastevere located and how to get there?
Trastevere is the 13th “rione” (district) of Rome, mostly concentrated in the plain area of the bight on the western side of the Tiber bank, opposite to the one that has always housed the original historic center of Rome. It is bordered to the north with the Borgo district and the Vatican City through the Galleria Principe di Savoia-Aosta, south and west with the districts Aurelio, Gianicolense and Portuense through the Janiculum walls, to the east with the districts Ponte, Regola, Ripa and Testaccio through the Tiber river.
The easiest way to reach Trastevere is to take the tram number 8, which frequently departs from Largo di Torre Argentina near piazza Venezia and stops at Viale di Trastevere. From there, you can walk on foot to better appreciate the historic feel of the district.
- St. Peter's
- Termini Train station
Best times and days to visit Trastevere
If you want to breath the magic and lively atmosphere of Trastevere, visit its historic sites in the afternoon to end your cultured exploration diving yourself in one of the many restaurants that characterize the area for a tasty aperitif or genuine dinner.
Trastevere at night, especially at the weekends, is ideal for your enjoyment because these are the busiest days when travelers and locals usually hang out there.
Remember to visit the district on Sunday at lunch only if you prefer to walk alone in a lunar landscape, due to the closings of most of the food spots! Sunday is however a good choice if you want to take advantage of the swarming flea market taking place at Porta Portese, where you’ll probably find your perfect purchase from clothes to antiques.
Take also in mind that several churches usually close around noon until the early afternoon and some shops close on Monday morning.
The historic "Festa de Noantri"
A special period in the year to visit Trastevere is in July, when the historic festa de’ Noantri brighten up the soul of Trastevere streets, populated with travelers and locals in quest of a fervent occasion of shared piousness, traditional identity and conviviality with other Romans. The name “festa de' Noantri” in Romanesco dialect means “we others” in fact, as opposed to “the rest of you who live in other districts”. The feast in honor of the Beata Vergine del Carmelo is celebrated only once a year on the occasion of a liturgical tradition, when the statue leaves his home in the chiesa di S. Agata for an evocative procession happening the first Saturday soon after the feast of the Beata Vergine del Monte Carmelo which is celebrated on the 16th of July.
The feast origins seem to date back to 1535 when, after a storm, it is said that a statue of the Virgin Mary carved in cedar wood was found at the mouth of the Tiber by some fishermen. For this reason, called “Madonna Fiumarola” (from the Italian word “fiume”, which stands for “river”), the statue was then donated to the Carmelites (hence the title “Madonna del Carmine”) of the chiesa di S. Crisogono in Trastevere, in piazza Sonnino, thus becoming the Holy Protectress of the Trasteverini. Following construction of Viale del Re, now Viale di Trastevere, the statue was then moved to the chiesa di S. Giovanni dei Genovesi, where it remained for a few decades before being definitively moved to its current location at the chiesa di S. Agata in Largo S. Giovanni de Matha.
How much are you expected to spend in Trastevere?
The high concentration and competition of food spots and restaurants in Trastevere allows the maintenance of fairly low prices. Depending on the quality and popularity of the venues, you can have an aperitif at the average cost of 10 euro per person and a dinner from 15 euro, if you decide to go for an undeniable pizza, to 30 euro per person if you prefer a more particular choice.
The tickets to visit the museums and some special places inside the churches require an average cost as in the rest of the city, ranging from 2.50 euro to 12 euro.
What is there to do in Trastevere?
The things to do in Trastevere are copious and variegated, so you can have a pleasant walk loosing yourself among the characteristics alleys or simply relax and enjoy a drink or a meal in one of the several restaurants and bars along the way. You shouldn’t however prevent yourself from a deeper cultured exploration, because besides food spots, restaurants and nightlife, Trastevere has so much to offer as for art museums, historic churches, old remains, hidden gems and beautiful palaces.
For example, you can discover the worthy painting gallery housed at Palazzo Corsini, which is one of the two seats of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, the astonishing Renaissance decorations by Raphael and others adorning the near Villa Farnesina and appreciate the old Roman daily life and traditions at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere (Museum of Rome in Trastevere).
The churches in Trastevere are also a shrine of art conserving art and archeological treasures, like the medieval frescoes painted by Pietro Cavallini and the underground Roman remains at the basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, the luxuriant mosaics designed by Jacopo Torriti at the basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere and the astonishing emotions instilled by the Baroque statue of Beata Ludovica Albertoni sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini the at the chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa Grande.
Where to eat in Trastevere
In Trastevere you are spoiled for a choice of good places to eat or drink, among food markets, cocktails bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for best Italian and Roman pasta for example, try the traditional Carbonara at Ciak, a more particular Carbonara with zucchine at Ivo a Trastevere or try the Amatriciana at the top restaurants for dinner like for VII corte, Sor olimpo al drago or Il duca. An elegant location to eat in Trastevere in summertime is the evocative open-air courtyard of Antica Pesa.
Food tours in Trastevere are the most requested by travelers who seek genuine Roman cuisine in a traditional and lively setting among the characteristic alleys of the neighborhood. Nevertheless, Trastevere has so much more to offer in terms of historic sites and valuable artworks.
Therefore, there are two different visit declinations of the neighborhood you can experience. Let's discover them.
Trastevere on your own: you can choose to linger on what interests you the most at your convenience as you walk on your own to the discovery of Trastevere, deciding either to firstly step in in that beautiful church where a masterpiece by one of the greatest artist is conserved or to sneak into a palace courtyard looking for archaeological treasures.
Pros and cons:
- No need of booking
- Freedom from the group tour schedule
- Take more time for what you like more
- No expert answers to your curiosities
- No guided routing between the sites of interest
Venture into Trastevere art and history with our self-guided itinerary
Trastevere art historical guided tour: an art history expert guide could take you to a surprising walking tour through the local museums and churches, or to a night tour in order to unveil the intimate enchantment of this neighborhood. All sites of interest in Trastevere are open to independent visitors, but some hidden and astonishing places deserve to be fully unveiled and understood thanks to an expert guide.
- Expert guide shows you hidden gems
- Explanations tailred on your interests and curiosity
- Trustworthy guided routing
- Local guide lets you perceive the authentic soul of Trastevere alleys
- Booking needed
Experience Trastevere soul and secrets with our private tour
Trastevere History and Art
What does “Trastevere” mean in English?
The name Trastevere derives from the Latin “trans Tiberim”, which means in English “beyond the Tiber”, because it is a neighborhood located on the other side of the river, opposite to the one that has always housed the historic center of Rome.
The western bank had in fact a belated urbanization, so Trastevere constituted a suburb of the city, whereas now it is one of the most characteristic and renowned neighborhood in Rome. This area didn’t actually develop before the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Imperial Age so that, for example, the Aurelian Walls included only part of its present extension.
Through the centuries, the natural detachment of Trastevere from the center of Rome has entailed the settling of peculiar custom, dialect and proud that are typical among the real Trasteverini (inhabitants of Trastevere). Moreover, the shortage of urban refurbishments has also allowed to preserve here the characteristic soul of the city, with the traditional colors and climate of the old papal Rome, notwithstanding the interventions undertaken at the end of the 19th century like the building of the Tiber embankments.
The history of Trastevere
The original Latin name of Trastevere, “trans Tiberium”, dates back to Ancient Rome. This is in fact its appellative as the last among the Augustan regions of Rome, the XIV region, which included a wide area from the Vatican to the Janiculum and the Tiber with the Tiberine island, as well as the southern area corresponding to the river bight that would have been enclosed in the Aurelian Walls. This area was connected to the opposite eastern bank via two bridges passing through the Tiberine Island, “pons Sublicius” and “pons Aemilius”, soon compounded by the “pons Agrippae” and “pons Probi”. From the “pons Aemilius”, two important roads branched: the “Aurelia Vetus” leading to the Janiculum and “porta Aurelia” (now known as porta S. Pancrazio, whose first segment now corresponds to the 16th century via della Lungaretta as far as piazza di S. Maria in Trastevere), and via Portuense-Campana (corresponding to the present via dei Vascellari, via di S. Cecilia and via di S. Michele), leading to the seaports of Claudius and Trajan.
In Ancient Rome, the Trastevere region was especially urbanized with mercantile and sales structures connected to the activity carried out at the harbor on the opposite bank of the Tiber river. The area enclosed in the river bight housed a populous and commercial neighborhood, whereas part of the river and the upper area were dotted with luxuriant villas and gardens like Catullus’ friend Clodia’s or Caesar’s villas. The neighborhood was rich of cosmopolitan places of worships thanks to the remarkable presence of foreigners, for example a copious Jewish community settled there since at least the Republican age.
In Late Antiquity, the Christian faith spread very fast through the foundation between the 4th and the 5th centuries of the Titulus Callisti (now basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere) and Titulus Chrysogoni (now basilica di S. Crisogono), along the Aurelia Vetus, and Titulus Caeciliae (now basilica di S. Cecilia in Trastevere) near the via Portuense-Campana.
Discover the ancient treasures of Trastevere churches with our private tour
During the Middle-Ages, the neighborhood inhabitants assembled around these Christian places of worships. A recovery of building expansion started between the 11th and 13th centuries, when religious complexes were renovated or built like the chiesa di S. Cosimato and other churches with their characteristic Romanesque bell towers. The Jewish settlement also flourished until the community started to move from the 13th century to the Campus Martius and Suburra, until it was segregated in the Jewish Ghetto.
More about the misterious Jewish inscriptions with our self-guided itinerary
At the end of the 13th century, Trastevere became the 13th rione (district) of Rome, so its jurisdiction passed from the pope, who directly controlled the area of the western bank, to the city internal administration. Three bridges, pons Aemilius, called ponte S. Maria (which undertook several rebuilding works because of the frequent overflows until it was completely abandoned following the severe flood in 1598, hence the nickname “ponte rotto” meaning “broken bridge), ponte Fabricio and ponte Cestio allowed the connection with the eastern rioni Ripa and S. Angelo, then compounded by the ponte Sisto between 1473 and 1475, commissioned by pope Sisto IV della Rovere, which linked Trastevere also to the rioni Regola, Parione and Ponte.
In the 17th century, pope Paolo V Borghese built the aqueduct called Aqua Paola or “acquedotto Paolo”, which brought again the water from the Aqua Traiana (Trajan’s aqueduct) to the district, and he also fostered the opening of the via di S. Francesco a Ripa. The western and southern borders were redefined by the Janiculum Walls built thanks to Urbano VIII Barberini between 1642 and 1644, aimed at joining the fortified the nucleus constituted by the Vatican, Borgo and Castel S. Angelo to Trastevere for security reasons, thus including the whole district in a wider area.
Explore Piazza Trilussa gems with our self-guided itinerary
Between the 17th and the 18th centuries, important architectural creations were built, like the excellent ospedale dei Santi Maria e Gallicano and the monumental complex of San Michele a Ripa Grande with innovative charitable and manufacturing purposes, which characterized the whole Trastevere district as an area dedicated to the isolation of the poor people but also to the re-launching of Rome productive activities.
In the second half of the 19th century, Trastevere was the setting of the assault against the patriots gathered at the Ajani wooden mill (Lanificio Ajani), which lead to the death of Giuditta Tavani Arquati in 1867. Rome finally became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy in 1871 and some initiatives modified the morphology of Trastevere, completing its urbanization. The Manifattura dei Tabacchi, “quartiere Mastai”, rich of residences and services for the workers, and the arrangement of the present via Garibaldi leading to the Janiculum date back to pope Pio IX’s pontificate.