Located on the western side of the Tiber River, south of Vatican City, Trastevere is within walking distance from Rome’s major sights and its attractive cobblestone streets, ivy-covered eateries and authentic bohemian vibe mean it’s fast becoming one of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods. During the day, tourists seeking a taste of ‘true Rome’ wander the pretty streets, admire the churches and take in the views at Janiculum Terrace while in the evening hordes of locals gather for late-night sessions of al fresco boozing and partying. Use this Trastevere travel guide to discover where to stay, what to see and where to eat and drink when in Rome’s hippest neighbourhood.
Where to stay in Trastevere:
Just around the corner from Trastevere’s main square, Residenza del Cedro puts guests at the heart of the neighbourhood. The four-storey townhouse is home to several apartments but the highlight is its penthouse, which comes with its very own rooftop terrace complete with a hot tub and steam room. And the best bit? It’s surprisingly affordable. Read more about Residenza del Cedro here.
What to see in Trastevere:
Piazza di Santa Maria
The centrepiece of Trastevere is its main square, Piazza di Santa Maria. Home to the magnificent Basilica of Santa Maria and a beautiful fountain that’s thought to be Rome’s oldest, the piazza draws both locals and tourists throughout the day and night. Take in the sights with fellow tourists during the day and then return in the evening for a gelato and drink with the locals.
The Basilica of Santa Maria
Sitting quietly in a corner of one of Rome’s lesser-visited piazzas, The Basilica of Santa Maria is an unexpected surprise. Free to enter and free of crowds, it’s the perfect alternative for those who don’t want the stress of Rome’s more famous churches. With glistening golden mosaics decorating the façade, its beauty begins on the outside but, step inside, and you’re in for a treat. Baroque and Romanesque architecture sit alongside magnificent 5th-century and 12th-century mosaics to create a spectacular interior that’s sure to impress even the most discerning of church-goers.
Most of Trastevere’s charm can be enjoyed simply by strolling along its pretty cobblestone streets. Lined with colourful, ivy-clad trattorias, bars and cafes, and peppered with local markets, beautiful fountains and independent shops, the quaint streets provide an authentic taste of local Roman life.
A 16th-century villa, the striking Villa Farnesina is one of Rome’s best examples of Renaissance architecture. Decorated from head to toe with colourful frescoes, the building features works by artists such as Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo and Peruzzi.
A ten-minute walk from Trastevere, this viewpoint can be found perched on the edge Gianicolo Park. On the top of a hill overlooking the city, the spot offers sweeping panoramic views of the whole of Rome. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up after the hike, there is a food selling ice cream and refreshments.
Where to eat in Trastevere:
If you’re unable to get a table at the famed Le Mani Pasta (we failed despite having a booking), then this nearby trattoria is a decent alternative. Order the suckling roast pig to start and you won’t be disappointed.
Grazia E Graziella
With a pretty outdoor terrace, this is a pleasant spot to stop for a pizza and a Peroni. The service is very friendly and they provide a complimentary shot of house liquor (similar to Jägermeister) and homemade biscotti at the end of your meal.
This vibrant, trendy spot serves a contemporary Mexican menu upstairs and street food dishes and cocktails downstairs.
Despite being part of a chain, Blue Ice serves surprisingly tasty ice cream and its location, in the Piazza di Santa Maria, lends itself to enjoying a cone while perched on the square’s beautiful centrepiece fountain.
Bir & Fud
As well as a vast selection of beverages, this craft beer spot serves some of the best pizzas in the neighbourhood as well as a menu of tasty bar snacks.
Where to drink in Trastevere:
This eccentric bar has a stylish aesthetic with mismatch furniture and a vintage feel, making it a great option for those with a fondness for cocktails and spirits.
This stylish spot is one of Trastevere’s most popular bars thanks to its sleek interior, extensive drinks list (including a selection of Pimm’s cocktails) and regular live music programme.
Bir & Fud
One of the neighbourhood’s best spots for a beer or two. Sit at the bar for a close-up of all the taps and the opportunity to get advice from the barmen.
Bar San Calisto
Trastevere isn’t the cheapest area of Rome (expect to pay up to €7 for a 330ml bottle of beer) but Bar San Calisto is reliably affordable and, as a result, a steady stream of punters ensure there’s always a good vibe.