Imagine yourself waking up in the morning and walking out to pick up your morning bread. You walk out of your Airbnb and take a stroll down a cobblestone street. You look up to see ivy covered apartments and laundry lines full of unmentionables. You get to the market to see widows haggling with the merchants, as they make sure the produce they’re picking up is the freshest ever. Later in the afternoon, you head over to the cafe for a little caffeination. Shops and boutiques are starting to open. There are galleries, churches, and museums for you to visit. Then at night, you begin to see street performers, poets, and dancers come out to the streets to make their daily earnings. Students lazily sip a beer before getting their evenings started. That being said, as it becomes more popular, there are drawbacks. Merchants selling crappy toys to tourists, more expensive prices, and way more damn selfie sticks. Even with the growth of this undesirable element, I still think it is a great place to visit (and it is still my favorite neighborhood). If this sounds like a Rome you’d like to get to know, then keep reading this guide to Trastevere, Rome. I’ll give you tips on where to go, where to eat, and where to stay things to do in Trastevere so you can enjoy yourself as a Roman would.
I’ve been hearing from so many people that they don’t like Rome. That it is too touristy and dirty. I LOVE Rome. I find it amazing that unlike Venice, which is all tourists and barely has any locals left in it (you need to go to Murano & Burano to really meet Venetians), Rome has been a living city for ages. Rome is beautiful, and you will love Rome…if you just skip all the tourist attractions and get to know the rest of the city (or if you get up super early to see the Trevi fountain while there are no other tourists but you there). A good place to start is Trastevere. It’s name, beyond the Tiber, tells you you need to go across the river to find a lovely neighborhood that boasts both loyal locals, amazing life, cobblestone streets, and an amazing nightlife. Following is a list of some of the most interesting and beautiful spots in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome.
Things to Do In Trastevere
Piazza di Santa Maria di Trastevere: If you’re going to Trastevere, you’re probably going to spend lots of time at Piazza Di Santa Maria di Trastevere. It is named after one of my favorite churches (I’ll tell you more about it later). In the center of the Piazza is a gorgeous fountain. You can either grab a table at one of the restaurants in the square (Sabatini quickly became a favorite), or purchase a beer nearby and grab a seat at the fountain. This is a great spot to sit and people watch. During the mornings, you will see little old Italian ladies who have lived in Trastevere their whole lives headed to market. Students (both local and foreign) will come here to meet up before starting off their evenings. There is almost always music, be it from street musicians or on holidays when events are set up by the city.
Santa Maria in Trastevere: If it’s your first time reading this, you need to know that I studied Art History. I’m kind of a church dork and this is probably one of my all time favorites. The church dates back from 340 AD. I’m sure you’re thinking that it looks like nothing special, but it’s incredibly rich in history and art. Make sure to go inside. The 13th century mosaics are superb, and if you get lucky (like I did a few years back), you will get to see one of the most significant Marian icons. If you want to experience the art at the church, it is recommended that you do not go during mass as this is a very active church still.
Mass Hours at Santa Maria in Trastevere: Mon-Sat 9am & 5:30pm. Vepser 8:30pm Mon-Fri & at 8pm Sat. Sundays mass 8:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 5:30pm, and 6:45pm.
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere: Did I mention I like churches? I know you’ve got a lot of churches to choose from in Rome, but this one you should not miss. Santa Cecilia is a 5th Century church. It’s namesake martyr’s corpse is said to have been found with no signs of decay and raw axe cuts in her neck when she was taken out of her coffin in the 16th Century. While you won’t be exposed to this sight, you can see the gorgeous sculpture representing her at the front of the church. If you want to see items from her home, you can pay a nominal fee to see them. On one occasion, I was lucky enough to walk in when the choir sang. It was a beautiful experience.
The Porta Portese Flea Market: This is the mother of all flea markets. Last time I stayed in Rome, I stayed at an Airbnb apartment at the Porta Portese (I’ll link it at the bottom, it was great). Each Sunday, I walked out to a plethora of merchants. There was everything from crappy 3rd rate electronics sold by African immigrants, to gorgeous antiques, to the most delicious porchetta sandwiches. If you happen to have forgotten something for your trip, this is a great place to get a cheap replacement and find almost anything you can possibly imagine. Yes, there are a lot of porquerias (crappy tchotchkes) but you can find some beautiful things if you look. The market starts at 6am and ends at 2pm.
San Cosimato Market: Markets like this are one of the many reasons I always use a service like Airbnb. I love a rental where I have a kitchen so I can hit up the farmer’s market and cook with fresh produce. This outdoor farmer’s market is where all the locals go to get their produce in Trastevere. It’s been around since forever and I was told that many of the current sellers are descendants of the original merchants. You can get anything you want (and fresher than any Roman super market); fruits, veggies, meats, fish…you want it, you got it. One thing you’ll love, if you go to the market when the shops are closed, is the really cool artwork on their doors.
Graffiti in the Neighborhood: There is tons of graffiti and street art in Trastevere. Most of it tasteful and skillful like the above piece memoralizing the death of Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is so Roman as it is based on the Pieta and shows a standing Pasolini cradling a dead Pasolini. So much great street art in Trastevere. Make sure to check out all the street art in Trastevere.
Porta Settimiana: The Porta Settimiana built in 271 AD is one of the gates of the Aurelian walls in Rome. These encircled the city of Rome and its seven hills. If you walk out of this gate and walk straight on Via della Lungara, you can be at the Vatican in 15 to 20 minutes (depending on your speed).
Where to Eat Trastevere, Rome
Arco di San Calisto: Via Arco di San Calisto, 45-47 +39 06 581 8323
We’ve visited this lovely little restaurant throughout the years and it is consistent in service and food. It’s located down a tiny alleyway not too far from Santa Maria in Trastevere, so it may be a little harder to find, but totally worth it. Great pizza (much better than the overhyped Dar Poeta), this means no wait. If you sit outside you will get to experience Trastevere as the Romans do. Prices are quite fair too.
Da Otello in Trastevere: +39 06 581 8323Via Della Pelliccia, 47/53 +06 58 96 848
Perhaps the friendliest staff we encountered in the neighborhood. Expect smiling faces and singing voices. We recommend the pizzas (€7.5) and grilled vegetables (€5). The pollo alla Romana (€11) is off the hook, make sure to ask for foccaccia so you can eat all the leftover sauce from your chicken.
Sabatini: Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, 13 +39 06 581 8307
You will pay just a little more to eat at this restaurant because of its incredible location. it’s right in front of the fountain at Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. This means delicious Roman dishes alongside street performers, live music, and people watching…best part…all that is free. So consider this restaurant your dinner & a show in Trastevere. We recommend the tripe and the Coda alla Vaccinara.
I Gio: Via Roma Libera, 26 +39 06 5831 0269
Sometimes, when you’re in Rome, you’re just not in the mood for Roman food. You know this place is good because it is always jam packed with Korean people. Go there for your Bulgogi, Japchae, and Kimchi fix.
Alle Fratte Di Trastevere: A mix of locals and tourists enjoy this Trastevere icon. The restaurant is kooky (some crazy stuff downstairs), the food solid, and the prices fair. Check out the painting in the first room, it is awesome and shows the owners of the restaurants among what looks like a spaghetti eating contest. Get the bruschetta – its off the hook (€3) and the Carbonara – pro tip – ask for it with spaghetti instead of Rigatoni (€8).
Alle Fratte Di Trastevere is located at Via delle Fratte di Trastevere 49/50 +39 06 58 35 775
La Boccaccia: This tiny pizzeria is always packed. The reason is great pizza. This is not like NYC pizza which is floppy or like Italian Pizza that requires it is eaten with a fork. This pizza has the consistency of cardboard (but in a really good way). You can see yourself grabbing a slice as you’re running to work and not worrying about getting everything all over you. That being said, every time we went, we sat at the tiny counter on the wall and enjoyed their pizzas. They make all kinds of flavors – and the Zucchini flower pizza was delish! Even better 3 slices €5.
La Boccaccia is located at Via di Santa Dorotea, 2, 00153 Rome, Italy +39 320 775 6277
Hurs of Opetaion: 10:00 am – 12:00 am
Where to Stay in Trastevere, Rome
Paolo & Franziska’s Airbnb: I’m a big Airbnb fan. I’ve stayed at a few in Trastevere and this was my favorite. It had absolutely everything I could wish for, was reasonably quiet and had a fantastic deck with a BBQ grill (used it tons during the Summer). I gave them five stars and think you will too. If you haven’t yet used Airbnb, check out my article on how to choose an Airbnb rental , and use my code to get an Airbnb credit towards your first stay.
Got a question about the neighborhood? Need more Trastevere tips? Leave it in the comments.