Trastevere: What is it like and what to see in the most charming neighborhood in Rome

Qué ver en el Trastevere, Roma
Redactora / Travel writer

Rome has beautiful places, that’s not a novelty, and one of those places is Trastevere, probably the most charming neighborhood in the whole city. It has a character bohemian and much quieter than others in the Eternal City, but that does not make everything there to do there less attractive than the most popular places in this town with so much history.

Trastevere is the thirteenth neighborhood of Rome, what does this mean? Here we explain it quickly. The Italian capital is divided into 20 districts, which are also known as “municipi”, and each of them are named with Roman numerals, of course. The first of these is the Historic Center, which in turn is divided into 22 neighborhoods or “rioni”, of which Trastevere is the 13th.

In a city that has so much to offer and where history is present in every step that is advanced, the Trastevere stands out for its bars and restaurants and for the calm that being away from the center gives it. Anyway, that does not mean that it does not have its monuments and buildings with history, it has everything.

Todo lo que necesitas saber sobre Trastevere, Roma
Photo by Iga Palacz on Unsplash

The contrast that is present in Trastevere, and that helps make it one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Rome, reminds us, in some way, of the beauty of other neighborhoods in Europe that they combine the historical with the novelty, such as, for example, the Gràcia neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain.

Below we will tell you a little about what this charming neighborhood has to offer, which attracts more and more tourists to one of the most popular cities in the world.

Cómo es el trastevere

How is Trastevere

Trastevere is one of the neighborhoods that make up the Historic Center and its name means “Behind the Tiber” or “Beyond the Tiber”, comes from the Latin trans Tiberis. This is because it is located on the banks of the Tiber River, south of the Vatican City, and borders the Borgo neighborhood.

After the end of the Second World War, in 1945, this neighborhood was transformed into a tourist center chosen both by people from different parts of Italy and from all over the planet. During the day it has many cultural sites to visit and learn about, and at night the protagonists are the pubs and restaurants that are located along its narrow, cobbled and winding streets.

For a long time this neighborhood was a protection zone against the enemies that came to Rome, in fact one of its most prominent places is the Janiculum hill, where Garibaldi defended the city against the French troops. Later, around the 20th century, Trastevere became a working-class neighborhood, and it still retains part of that identity.

Trastevere, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Rome, and n general terms you can walk around, with some exceptions. Step by step you can see the contrast between the new and the old, and that contrast is part of its great appeal. In addition, it is the right neighborhood to enjoy excellent local cuisine.

6 things to see in Trastevere

Although it is quite far from the center of Rome, Trastevere has different very attractive places to visit at different points in its cobbled alleys. Here are some of them:

1. Get Sisto

The Ponte Sisto, or Puente Sisto, is one of the places through which the neighborhood is accessed. It is a space that is more than 2,000 old, although the construction on which it is currently walked dates from the 15th century. The original had been built around 12 BC, but it collapsed with a strong flood of the river, and it was not until 1473 the process of rebuilding it began, at the request of Pope Sixtus IV.

From this bridge you have one of the most beautiful views of Rome, especially at sunset.

2. Basilica of Santa Maria

This basilica was founded by Pope Callisto I in the 3rd century, and despite the fact that it has undergone several reforms over the years it still retains its medieval style. Among the most characteristic elements of this temple are its golden mosaics located on the façade, which can be seen from the outside, and its bell tower which was recently built in the 12th century.

Trastevere - Basílica de Sant Maria
What to see in Trastevere: Basilica of Santa Maria
Image via Basilica di Santa María in Trastevere

Inside, this church, which is the most important in the Trastevere neighborhood, has three naves on columns and highlights the wooden ceiling, designed by the Italian artist Domenichino.

This basilica is located in the square with the same name.

3. Museum of Rome

The Trastevere Museum of Rome is located in what used to be the Monastery of San Egidio, a place where the congregation of Discalced Carmelites used to live, although at first that was not the name that he bore. First, the space was restored and in 1976 it became the headquarters of the Museum of Folklore and of the Romanesque poets. Then in the year 2000, it received its current name.

The institution has a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, especially photography, and it also provides a space for performing shows and concerts. For its part, in the permanent exhibition you can see the most important aspects of Roman life between the 18th and 19th centuries in the works of different artists and folklorists. There you can appreciate the different customs, popular dances, parties and trades.

The museum is located in Piazza di Sant’Egidio, 1/b.

4. Fountain and monument to Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

Giuseppe Giochino Belli was a great Italian poet, and he has a monument that honors him in a square that bears his own name in the Trastevere neighborhood. The monument was made by the sculptor Michele Tripisciano in May 1913, when 50 years after the death of the writer.

Trastevere - Piazza Giuseppe Gioachino Belli
What to see in Trastevere: Fountain and monument to Giuseppe Gioachino Belli
Image by Mister No on Wikimedia Commons

This sculpture was made by popular request, with the support of great figures such as Domenico Gnoli, Ferdinando Martini and Leone Caetani. In fact, it was the three of them who presented the proposal to the mayor at the time. The work has an inscription that says “ To his poet GG Belli il Popolo di Roma MCMXIII “, that is, “ To his poet GG Belli the people of Rome MXMXIII”

5. Porta Portese flea market

It is a Roman market located in the Trastevere neighborhood and is only open on Sundays. It is one of those places where no matter what you are looking for, or even if you don’t know it yet, you will surely find it here: from antique clocks to kitchen utensils, books, paintings and more.

The stalls that make up this market begin in the square that gives it its name, Piazza Porta Portese, towards Viale di Trastevere. It should be noted that it is one of the largest and most important markets found in the open-air streets of Rome. There are usually more than 4,000 positions, Sunday after Sunday.

This market opened its doors for the first time after the Second World War l, where rural, collectible and second-hand products were sold.

6. Janiculum

His name and n Italian is Gianicolo and it is a hill that is located in the Trastevere neighborhood and is about 82 meters high above sea level. It is worth noting that it is one of the hills that are not part of the seven traditional hills of Rome. Its importance lies, mainly, in that it had a very important role in history for the defense of the city.

Trastevere - Vista desde el Janículo
What to see in Trastevere: Janiculum / Gianicolo
Photo by Nicola D’Anna on Unsplash

It was on this hill that Garibaldi resisted the attack of the French, and that is why its top is populated with various sculptures that pay homage to him. In fact, the main square on this hill is called Garibaldi, and a huge statue sits right in the center. A few meters from it, there is a viewpoint that offers incredible views of Rome from where you can see practically the entire city.

On the same hill there are several places that are worth visiting such as:

  • Fontana dell’Acqua Paola;
  • Manfredi Lighthouse;
  • Ossario Garibaldino Mausoleum;
  • Templete del Bramante;
  • Church of San Pietro in Montorio.

Cómo llegar a Trastevere

This charming neighborhood of the city of Rome is located on the west bank of the Tiber River, and there are several ways to get there, depending on whether you want to access on foot, by bus or using the tram. There is at least one option for all tastes, although it is a reality that the subway does not reach this part of the city.

For those who want to reach Trastevere on foot, they can cross the Tiber river using the Sisto Bridge. On the other hand, those who prefer to use public transport, can get there by three different lines of bus: 23, 280 and 780; or also using the tram, in this case it is the line 8 Trastevere-Mastai.

In addition, a fact that is not minor is that this characteristic neighborhood of the Eternal City is only 30 minutes from the emblematic Vatican City.

Trastevere, Roma - Todo lo que tienes que saber
Everything you need to know about Trastevere, the most charming neighborhood in Rome
Photo by Sargis Chilingaryan on Unsplash

Trastevere is possibly the most charming neighborhood in the city of Rome, with monuments, buildings and institutions that can be enjoyed during the day, and restaurants, pubs and bars that can be enjoyed during the night. A part of the city of Rome that has earned a place in the itinerary of tourists from all over and that, without a doubt, is worth incorporating.

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