Bohemian Trastevere is one of Rome’s most historic and picturesque neighborhoods—a maze of cobbled streets lined with atmospheric restaurants serving some of Italy’s best cuisine. At dusk, trendy crowds pour into its fashionable sidewalk cafés and bars to enjoy the vibrant Roman nightlife. Trastevere lies across the river—hence the name, which means “across the Tiber”—from the center of Rome, and at its heart is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, home to one of Rome’s oldest churches (from AD 340) and a majestic 15th-century fountain. Other neighborhood sights include the beautiful Santa Cecilia in Trastevere church, dating from the fifth century, and Villa Farnesina, filled with stunning frescoes—including two attributed to Raphael.
Many of Trastevere’s narrow streets are closed to traffic, so the best way to explore this ancient Roman neighborhood is by getting off the beaten path with a guided walking tour—though Vespa scooter and Segway tours are also fun options. Trastevere is famous for its excellent cuisine, so consider taking a food tour to discover traditional Roman dishes, Italian wines, and open-air food markets. Alternatively, tour after dark to rub elbows with young Romans out for a night on the town.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Trastevere’s nightlife centers around the bustling Piazza Trilussa, at the end of the Ponte Sisto.
- If you love authentic Italian food and wine, Trastevere is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Rome for meals, wine tastings, and festive ambience.
- Tours of Trastevere often include visits to the Jewish Ghetto and Campo de’ Fiori, both located just across the river.
How to Get There
Trastevere lies along the east bank of the Tiber River, south of Vatican City. To reach the neighborhood, cross the Ponte Sisto on foot, or take the 8 tram across the Ponte Garibaldi just north of Tiber Island.
When to Get There
Trastevere is delightful to explore all year round, though the neighborhood is best appreciated when the weather is mild. For a unique look into one of the most lively neighborhoods in the Eternal City, take a leisurely stroll by night. Like much of Rome, the area gets crowded in summer.
Caravaggio in Trastevere
In the early 17th century, Caravaggio was commissioned to paint “The Death of the Virgin” for the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Scala in Trastevere. The master painter’s realistic depiction of the Virgin as swollen and bare-legged was considered blasphemous, and the parish rejected his work. It now hangs in the Louvre in Paris.