Across River Tiber lies Trastevere, a charming medieval cobblestoned town, soaking in historic charm and a fiery temperament dating back to Ancient Rome. “Trastevere” short for “attraverso il Tevere” (across the Tiber) was the nerve center of the Roman Empire. Today, the Trastevere quarter feels like a picturesque theme park, a heady mix of rollicking nightlife, artisan workshops, colourful markets, hidden Renaissance villas and not to mention the plethora of tourists crowding the alleys. Beware, foot traffic happens to be more than traffic jams in Trastevere!
This bohemian town of labyrinthine streets and glittering mosaics is a refreshing change from the rest of Rome, so here’s a comprehensive guide to spending a day in Trastevere. In this blog, learn more about Things to do in Trastevere and Trastevere Walking Tours.
The Trastevere Neighbourhood
Wedged between the Janiculum Hill, The Tiber River and Vatican , the Trastevere neighbourhood is in the thick of it all! The Trastevere neighbourhood is split into 2 halves by the Viale Trastevere, with a distinct character of splendour defining each half. To the left of Viale Trastevere where the Santa Maria Basilica stands, you can experience the bustle of the Trastevere neighbourhood. Tourists and foreigners staying in Trastevere mingle in and out of the mescal pubs, monuments, churches and artisan shops. To the right side of the Viale Trastevere is the quieter half of the Trastevere neighbourhood where the Roman spirit breathes amidst cobbled alleys and traditional osteries. If you’re looking to stay away from the hustle of Trastevere, make sure to look for accomodation in this half.
Before you go into the Trastevere neighbourhood, make sure you learn to pronounce this latin inspired word right! You pronounce Trastevere as Tras - TEH - veh - reh. The accent lies on the second syllable so make sure you pronounce Trastevere like the Romans, because after all, when in Rome, be like the Romans.
Things To Do In Trastevere
Visit the Santa Maria Basilica
The Basilica of Santa Maria is one of the oldest churches in Rome, dating back to 221 AD.
The Santa Maria Basilica is renowned for its 13th century mosaics by Pietro Cavallini and is a sight behold. Escape the crowds of Trastevere into this holy sanctuary of serenity and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Santa Maria Basilica di Trastevere.
Sign Up for a Walking Tour in Trastevere
The cobbled lanes of Trastevere are best explored on foot. There are many walking themed tours you can choose from.
If you're a foodie, there are food tours around Trastevere that will take you around the best eateries in the Trastevere neighbourhood. If you're one to like exploring a place with a local, that can be done too! If you want to couple your walking tour with a stroll around the Jewish Ghetto, that can be done too. Choose your pick and amble on. The next section talks more about Walking Tours In Trastevere, so read on!
Soak in History at the Museo di Roma
No better place to learn the history of a place than visiting a museum. Museo di Roma will take you down the history lane of Trastevere and show you a side you know never existed.
Museo di Roma is housed in a 17th-century Carmelite convent, formerly known as the Sant’Egidio, a monastery where the barefoot Carmelite monks lived until the fall of Rome. Museo di Roma displays an excellent collection of photographs, remains of original performances, conferences and concerts along with a selection of 19th-century watercolours depicting Rome, life-size dioramas showing 19th-century Roman life, temporary Rome-related exhibitions, and Stanza di Trilussa, an installation relating to the famous Roman poet. The main themes in the collection are fashion, popular dances, secular and religious festivals, and crafts.
Consume aerial views from the Janiculum Hill
If you're interested in a bird's eye view of Rome, no better place than the Janiculum Hill. It is the second tallest hill in Rome and offers a breathtaking view of the Eternal City.
The Janiculum Hill was believed to be the center for the cult of the god Janus, hence attributing to the name. The cult's priests are said to have stationed atop to look for signs from the gods. While the lore is fascinating, the trod up is worth every step for the view. You can view all of Central Rome speckled with its bell towers and domes along with views of the San Pietro in Montorio, the Tempietto and all of Trastevere's winding cobbled alleyways.
A Walk down Renaissance at Villa Farnesina
The Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance suburban mansion built between 1505 and 1511 and is one of the most few buildings that remains from the Renaissance period in Rome.
Villa Farnesina was built for on the orders of a rich banker from Siena, Agostino Chigi. However, the Villa holds the name of its subsequent owner, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. The novelty of this villa design can be seen in its differences from that of a typical urban palazzo. The Villa Farnesina comprises of a central block, 2 floors and 2 compact wings. The interiors are decked with frescoes painted by artists like Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo and Peruzzi. The villa is entirely accessible by the public and is a definite visit while in the Trastevere neighbourhood.
Learn about the Corsini's at Palazzo Corsini
Know more about the Corsini family and witness a spectcular collection of paintings at the Palazzo Corsini.
A late-baroque palace in Rome at the foot of Gianicolo Hill , the Palazzo Corsini is where the fabled Corsini family of Rome lived between the 1730-1740. The palace was designed by Ferdinando Fuga and erected right next to Villa Farnesina. The Palazzo Corsini now houses the original half of Rome's National Gallery of paintings. Some of the famous paintings include Caravaggio's San Giovanni Battista (St John the Baptist), Guido Reni's Salome con la Testa di San Giovanni Battista (Salome with the Head of John the Baptist), and Fra' Angelico's Corsini Triptych.
Trastevere Food Tours & Walking Tours
Like I said before, Trastevere is best explored on foot. Though you can embark on a self guided tour to Trastevere, it is always better to sign up with a group mainly for 2 reasons. Firstly, nothing like walking around a new city with like minded people. Secondly, the local guide who escorts you these Trastevere walking tours are a treasure of knowledge. Walking with them, listening to their stories, learning the right facts and lores is an exciting experience, one you miss out on during a self guided walk. With no one to tell you what you're looking at, Trastevere might seem quite boring! Here's our curation of the Top 4 Trastevere Food Tours & Walking Tours. Sign up for the one that suits your liking and get munching & walking!
Explore Trastevere With a Local
No better way to experience this historic part of Rome with someone who has been brought up around these lanes! Jennifer, an Italian living in Rome will be your tour guide for this Trastevere walking tour and she specialises in small group tours around the city, mainly concentrating on food! Yes, that's right. Jennifer will be hitting up all the traditional eateries serving authentic Roman cuisine around the quarter. Her Trastevere food tour is best loved for the tiny lesser known food stops she takes groups to and the almost not known family run gems that are mostly frequented by locals she takes you by. Get an overview of the Roman cuisine and learn the 'do' and 'don'ts' of Eating in Italy. Everything you will taste is made with organic and locally sourced ingredients. So put on your best walking shoes and get ready to explore a century old cheese shop, artisnal sweets, gourmet gelato, the actual Italian Carbonara and a local farmer's market , amongst the many other stops.
- Timings - 10:30 AM & 5:00 PM everyday except Sunday
- Duration - Typically lasts 3 hours
Local Foodie Tour in Trastevere with Wine & Dinner
With the first 2 Walking Tours in Trastevere being all about food, you probably have an inkling how good the food in Trastevere is! This local food tour in Trastevere takes you through some of the best eateries around the foodie district in groups of no more than 10. You get to tuck into some tasty aperitivos (or apéritif) like cheese and cold cuts, Baccalà, a salted codfish which is a local favorite dish, some freshly made finger food at “Kilometer zero” restaurants ( Fun Fact : Km0's are where food is prepared from ingredients produced in the surrounding regions, the best pizzas and pasta in town; all these washed down with local biological wines. The very thought is delectable right? There's more! After all of this, your dinner at a friendly local restaurant is still awaiting you. Not to forget, there's more wine in store. End your meal with gelato , the staple for Italians and go home with a happy tummy!
- Timings - Everyday except Sunday
- Duration - Typically lasts 4 hours
Trastevere Stroll with Exclusive Private Dinner
On this Trastevere Walking Tour, you get to explore the little known secrets of Trastevere that will take you its hidden corners to uncover the fascinating stories of the Eternal City. A 45-minute stroll around the quaint medieval streets will take you through all the important sights of the Trastevere neighbourhood, the churches, piazzas and rarities that have made Trastevere renowned. Coupled with these, you will also walking through quiet alleys and lanes lesser known to tourists with the local guide's captivating commentary birthing a new found love for these parts of Rome. After working an apetite, you get to enjoy an incredible 4-course Italian dinner at a private 17th century villa to relish in amazing flavors and take in the beautiful setting. The opulent and intimate setting with a lush 3,000 square meter garden is sure to steal your heart and stomach away, so indulge in the gourmet Italian regional cuisine paired with local red or white wine and quench your curiosity with interesting facts on your meal, Italian food traditions and the host family, as your senses delight in the blissful ambiance.
- Timings - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday from 7:00 PM
- Duration - Typically lasts 3 hours
Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere Private Walking Tour
If you want to couple your Trastevere Walking tour with a little deeper history, no better place than the Jewish Ghetto in Rome. Walking through both these neighbouthoods will fill you with answers relating to the traditional cultures of two iconic neighbourhoods of the city. This tour is led by an art historian or religions historian so ask all the questions you held back during your history periods and get your answers then and there! This tour will bring the sites to life, and the cherry on top is passing through the Tiber Island. Relive the days of ancient Roman history with this Trastevere and Jewish Ghetto Walking Tour!
- Timings - Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 AM
- Duration - Typically lasts 3 hours
Trastevere Rome Map
Here's a compact Trastevere Map with all the important attractions, eateries and hotels marked below. Make sure to download the Trastevere Map onto your phone before setting out to the neighbourhood. That way, you won't get lost and you can hit up all the right places!
Know Before You Go To The Trastevere Neighbourhood
- Many churches in Trastevere close around midday for a few hours, and several businesses remain closed on Mondays. Make sure you check the timings online.
- If you're going to the Trastevere neighbourhood on Sunday, make sure to visit the Porta Portese’s enormous Sunday flea market that sells everything from antiques to clothes.
- If you're not upto walking, hop onto a bus 125, a mini bus that takes you around the Trastevere neighbourhood.
How to get to Trastevere
If you're at the Vatican, walk north on the Via della Lungara and you shall reach Trastevere.
- By Tram
- By Bus
Tram #8 stops near the piazza along Tiber which is the entryway to the Trastevere. You can hop down here and walk into the Trastevere Neighbourhood
If you're getting down at the Termini station, catch Bus H to Trastevere.