What to see in Trastevere?

When you’ve had your fair share of seeing the sites that made Rome iconic, where do you go next? The answer is Trastevere, a quaint medieval neighbourhood secretly nestled to the side of the city. An easy walk across the River Tiber will bring you to the charming town that sleeps peacefully throughout the day and awakens to a lively nightlife. The once secret neighbourhood once known only to locals and expert travellers has now been brought to life, favoured by tourists for its authenticity away from the hustle and bustle found in Rome. Don’t let this deter you however, for the towns cobbled laneways and picturesque churches can still be yours alone to explore.

Basilica of Santa Maria

Basilica of Santa Maria

Constructed in the middle ages, this 12th century basilica directs the eyeline to the centre of Trastevere, still showcasing its early medieval architectural designs today. As one of the oldest churches in the city of Rome, one can’t walk the streets of Trastevere without bearing witness to the magnitude of the Basilica. Dazzling golden mosaics line the façade of the church, with locals and tourists alike making wishes at the sculpture of San Antonio. Buried in ancient folklore, the Basilica is said to have been erected on the site of where a miracle fountain of oil spilled out of the ground the day Christ was born.

Janiculum Hill

Known as The Giancolo in Italian, this famed hill has a long history acting as the location where Giuseppe Garibaldi expelled the forthcoming French army. The panoramic views once you reach the top of this hill are breathtaking, displaying sculptures of heroes as you walk to the top along its forested paths. From this vantage point, you can look out onto the city of Rome, taking a peaceful break from the chaos pace of the city. At the top of the hill you will find a fountain of colossal proportions, a church that was once used by Franciscan monks and a bronze monument of the hero Garibaldi.

Local Eateries

What you’ll find in Trastevere is that there is somewhere suitable for every traveller, whether it be a trendy bar or a centuries old trattoria that has perfected its cuisine. For aperitivo; Italy’s take on the after work drink, we recommend visiting Frenzi e Frizioni for their endless cocktail options. For the very best of traditional thin crust Italian pizza, visit Ai Marmi, a local favourite that dishes up authentic, everyday pizzas for the neighbourhood.

Museum of Rome

Museo di Roma

Take a walk through the exhibitions at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere to discover what local Roman life was like between the 18th and 20th century. In a collection curated from artists of the time, you will uncover paintings of traditional scenes from Christmas and special religious festivals from 19th century Rome. Initially a housing place for Carmelite nuns, in 1976 the building was restored and became a museum which can now be viewed by members of the public today. For those who enjoy a step back into time, this museum is the place to be.

Botanical Garden of Rome

Dating back to 1883, this natural haven lies in the heart of Trastevere, surrounded by a bustling city life. Run by the Roman university La Sapienza, this 12 hectare area houses different themed gardens and over 3000 species of plant life. The Botanical Garden features a Japanese garden with stunning cherry blossoms, a rose garden, a scent and touch garden for the visually impaired and even a monk style medicinal garden with herbs traditionally used in medieval medicine. Apart from the 4 greenhouses on site, there is also the remnants of ancient Roman Baths that are currently being excavated.

Palazzo Corsini

A baroque 18th century palace once owned by the Corsini family, and now by their descendants stands proudly in Trastevere today. The magnificent house was once home to Queen Christina of Sweden who graced the halls of the Versaille inspired property. Over two levels you will discover beautiful frescoes, antiquities and be privy to the height of Roman nobility at its finest and most luxurious. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in Trastevere, the Palazzo Corsini holds a permanent art collection from the National Gallery of Art. Often overlooked, the gallery is the keeper of work by Renaissance master Caravaggio such as the prized painting of St. John the Baptist.

Piazza Trilussa

This unassuming square in Trastevere might have a laidback atmosphere during the day but at night it awakens like the rest of the city. At night it’s a bustling meeting place for people heading to the many bars and restaurants that line the streets. After crossing the quaint footbridge of Ponte Sisto over the river Tiber, the Piazza Trilussa is the gateway to the city. Named after the Italian Poet, the main feature of this square is the Fontana di Ponte Sisto which holds a plaque with the inscription of one of Trilussa’s poems; All’Ombra. Dating back to the 19th century, this piazza is a well loved hot spot of energy and features a small art market on the weekend with various reproductions of artwork.

Santa Cecilia

The 5th century church of St. Cecilia may have the interior of an 18th century church however its origins date back to 820. The patron saint of music, Cecilia gained her martyrdom by her high ranking position in Roman society. Her influential nature in political issues at the time and her devotion to Christianity saw her executed by the Romans. She was named the patron saint of music as the first attempt to kill her was unsuccessful and she walked out of the room singing. The church supposedly sits on her house which you can you view by the daily excavations that are taking place there. A lesser known fact is that there are are medieval frescoes located in the Church of Santa Cecilia by medieval master Cavallini, which can be seen by paying the nuns there a small fee.

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