Insider Tips: Explore Trastevere like a Local
Romeing is a magazine for tourists and ex-pats visiting or living in Rome and Florence. It features articles written by locals filled with insights and tips for your vacation or if you’re considering relocating to Italy. Check out the Romeing website to discover the best things to do in Trastevere.
What should you see in Trastevere as a first-time visitor?
Wander around the colorful, art-filled streets and get lost along alleyways and beneath dangling laundry that is characteristic of Trastevere. For first-time visitors, don’t miss Piazza Santa Maria and its basilica, one of Rome’s oldest churches that dates back to the 4th century. Travel through Piazza Trilussa to get a taste of everyday Roman living. It leads to Ponte Sisto, one of the city’s most popular pedestrian bridges with live performers and sweeping views of the Vatican.
What are some hidden gems to see in Trastevere?
The quarter has gone from hidden gem to one of the most popular places in the city in recent years, but luckily some spots are still well-kept secrets. The Botanical Gardens are a must-see, located behind the Corsini Palace since 1883, filled with plant collections, greenhouses, and archeological ruins. For art lovers, venture through Villa Farnesina, a breathtaking Renaissance villa that most travelers don’t know about. Just across the tram tracks, Basilica Santa Cecilia is a 5th-century church characterized by its grand landscaped entryway and robust fountain that is equally as historic and beautiful as Basilica di Santa Maria.
What is Trastevere known for?
Trastevere is Rome’s 13th rione, or neighborhood, with its name originally derived from the Latin “Trans Tiberim,” which translates to "across the Tiber," Rome’s main river. Today, the area is characterized by its mosaic churches, bustling piazzas, and lively nightlife. Its cobblestone streets are lined with popular trattorias, casual dive bars, curated shopping boutiques, and art galleries, giving it a vibe as old-school Roman as it is boho and trendy.
What is the average cost of staying in the neighborhood?
As one of the most popular neighborhoods in the Eternal City, Trastevere isn't cheap. The area has become the place to be during a "Roman Holiday", as well as the place to sleep and stay, given its central location, walkability, and charm. While hotels in the neighborhood are generally among the highest in the city, there are some mid-priced options too. Always book well in advance, and try to avoid the peak visitor season.
What are the best food/drink spots in Trastevere?
Luckily, if you’re looking for classic Roman dining, Trastevere is the right place. For drinks, Bar San Calisto is a favorite for cheap Italian beer and a well-mixed spritz, paired with people-watching and occasional live music. For local and organic wine, try Enoteca L’antidoto or Enoteca La Vite. Craft beer fanatics shouldn’t miss Delirium or Big Star for an array of options.
Dining options are limitless, but be wary of tourist traps mixed among some of the best spots. For Roman street food, Supplì and Casa Manco are great options. Roman-style pizza should be eaten at Pizzeria Ai Marmi or Ivo a Trastevere. Craving classic pasta dishes like carbonara or amatriciana? Trattoria Da Enzo al 29 never disappoints. And no trip to Rome is complete without a gelato stop — Gelateria del Viale and Otaleg’s seasonal flavors are always freshly made.
What is the nightlife like in the neighborhood?
Nightlife in Trastevere is generally casual, with a mix of young and older crowds, both locals and visitors. They gravitate towards the main piazzas, open-air bars, speakeasy clubs, and relaxed wine bars. There’s somewhere to suit whatever your preference. The neighborhood comes alive in the warmer months as crowds fill up tables along the cobblestone alleys and pour into the piazzas until the small hours. Discos aren’t what the neighborhood is known for, but Alcazar should be on the radar of anyone who loves dancing and live music.
What are some tips for navigating the neighborhood as a tourist?
Trastevere is centrally located in Rome’s historical center, close to the Vatican, Colosseum, and other prominent attractions, yet has fewer crowds and sometimes feels like a much-needed escape. At times nightlife can get the best of the area, so if you’re staying here overnight and are noise sensitive, stay a bit further away from the river and main piazzas. The best way to get an authentic taste of the neighborhood is to ditch the map and wander the side streets — you'll find the hidden gems that way.
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Trastevere?
The whole family can enjoy the charm of Trastevere, too, especially with little ones! Piazza San Cosimato is an open square with a large public playground and a daily food market, with locally famous gelaterias and food shops surrounding it. You’ll meet many local families there. For a bit of adventure, climb the nearby Belvedere del Gianicolo, one of Rome’s tallest hills with sweeping views of the entire city.
What is the best thing to do in Trastevere for solo travelers?
Trastevere is an excellent stomping ground for solo travelers, with many coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. Enjoy a morning caffeine kick underneath the Roman blue skies or a late-evening beverage at one of the neighborhood’s casual bars as you watch the city go by. Venture to Piazza Santa Maria or Piazza Trilussa, which come alive in the early afternoon and are still buzzing well into the evening. Get lost in the commotion of the crowds, where you can mingle with other visitors, Italians, and ex-pats alike. On Sundays, stroll through Porta Portese, the city’s largest outdoor flea market.
What is the best thing to do in Trastevere for couples?
Although Trastevere is popular with larger groups, it's perfect for couples too. Enjoy an afternoon stroll through the Botanical Gardens and a romantic sunset stroll along Belvedere del Gianicolo. Cozy and casual wine bars offer intimate settings, an expansive wine list, and exceptional small bites. It doesn’t get more romantic than a candle-lit dinner at one of Trastevere’s charming, authentic trattorias.
What are some fun facts behind Trastevere?
Contrary to popular belief, Trastevere has only sometimes been the talk of the town. Originally a neighborhood for the working class of Rome during the Republic, becoming home to fishermen, tradespeople, and immigrants who were isolated from the rest of the city across the river. During the Renaissance, the neighborhood welcomed its first noble family, and Villa Farnesina was built in the early 1500s. Gradually, through gentrification, Trastevere has become one of the liveliest and trendiest areas in Rome, and some go as far as to say that it’s the city’s beating heart.
How easy is it to travel between the different neighborhoods?
Although Rome’s public transportation can be unreliable, the city is easy to navigate on foot if the center is your home base. Trastevere is ideally situated along the river, making it easy to reach all of Rome’s most popular attractions within 30 minutes or less, including the Vatican, Colosseum, and Centro Storico. Explore neighborhoods like Monteverde, Prati, and Testaccio, whose boundaries border one another.
What are the best annual events in Trastevere?
The Eternal City has countless events happening annually, from wine and vintage expos to art and music shows, and the same goes for quaint Trastevere. A favorite amongst the masses is Lungo Il Tevere. Just along the neighborhood’s edge, the banks of the Tiber transform into a summer wonderland as local businesses set up live music, beer gardens, artisanal boutiques, games, and more, all under twinkling lights. For more summer fun, Il Cinema in Piazza, created by the cinema foundation Piccolo America, hosts free open-air movie screenings below the stars in the middle of Piazza San Cosimato.
What are the best things to do around Trastevere?
Just above Trastevere lies one of Rome’s largest and most popular public parks in the Monteverde district: Villa Doria Pamphili. This blissful escape is characterized by its 17th-century villa, pine trees, mesmerizing fountains, beautifully manicured gardens, and many trails for a casual passeggiata (walk) or picnic with family and friends.