Guide to The Trastevere Neighborhood, Rome: Things To Do + Places To Eat!

Guide to The Trastevere Neighborhood, Rome: Things To Do +
Places To Eat!

One of the most common questions we get asked about visiting Rome is; where do I stay? The answer is always the Trastevere neighborhood! It was once a hidden gem but is now turning a lot of heads because there are so many things to do in Trastevere and places to explore.

This quaint, vibrant neighborhood is located just South of the Vatican City and across the river from the Colosseum and is the ancient working-class district. It’s known for being quieter and cheaper than the other neighborhoods in central Rome, but still being close to the action.

savannah walking under vine draped roadTrastervere

It was by far our favorite neighborhood in Rome and we are so glad we decided to unpack our suitcase there. 

While it’s a great base for exploring all the top sites and attractions in Rome, it’s also a neighborhood that’s worth exploring. 

In this guide, I’ve shared some of our favorite attractions in Trastevere as well as our favorite places to eat, where to stay, how to get around, and tips for visiting, so you can plan your visit to this exciting neighborhood with ease!

Why Is Trastevere Famous? caz and the girls walking down rome street with colorful buildingsTrastevere

Trastevere is the former working-class district of Rome and is where you will find a vibrant, bohemian atmosphere.

It’s famous for its quaint, narrow cobbled streets, Renaissance architecture and medieval houses, and bustling atmosphere. It has a more local vibe, allowing you to feel the beat of Italian life more intimately, and it’s also a well-known district for backpackers looking for cheaper accommodation.

In the daytime, Trastevere is quiet, idyllic, and somewhat romantic. At night, the bars come alive with live music, DJs, and laughing, smiling people – locals and tourists alike – bringing the quiet streets to life.

people sitting outside bar in trastervere

Since it’s located across the Tiber River, it’s much cheaper than other neighborhoods in Rome, and less crowded too, making it an ideal choice for travelers wanting to stay close to the action but without being directly in it.

It’s where we found espressos for less than €1, wines for €2.50, street performers and music in the squares and on the streets, and a generally electrifying atmosphere.

Things To Do In Trastevere 1. Walk Down The Side Streets caz and savannah walking down cobblestone street of Trastevere romeEvery side street has something to discover

I love strolling down the back streets of the Trastevere district in Rome. It’s like walking through the pages of a storybook. 

The narrow cobblestone alleys are lined with charming, ivy-covered buildings that exude an old-world, romantic charm you won’t find in the bustling tourist areas. 

As you walk down the side streets, you can’t help but notice the delightful aroma of freshly baked bread and the sound of locals chatting in Italian, creating an authentic and vibrant atmosphere.

kalyra posing against graffiti wall with vines draped over it in TrastevereGreat neighborhood for photos

The real magic of Rome is not in its iconic landmarks, but in these back alleys and passageways, where family-run trattorias and gelaterias set up tables outside for the locals to spend their afternoons chatting happily away over an espresso or two. 

This is truly the best way to experience Trastevere. As you walk down the streets, you might stumble upon quaint piazzas tucked away from the main thoroughfares, which are perfect for people-watching from a nearby coffee shop. 

2. Admire the Fountain in Piazzi di Santa Maria  fountain in the middle of piazzi di Santa Maria

One of my favorite piazzas in the Trastevere district is Piazzi di Santa Maria, which is known for its beautiful water fountain in its center. It’s not just any fountain – it’s a stunning masterpiece that’s steeped in history and beauty. 

The Fountain is believed to be the oldest fountain in Rome, thought to have been built in the 8th century, though its exact origin is unknown. The design has changed over the years, but what you see before you today was the work of some of Rome’s finest craftsmen, Donato Bramante, with additions by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Carlo Fontana.

Many people flock to this fountain in the evening to sit upon its steps and bask in the bustling atmosphere of the square.

3. Check Out The Nightlife live music in the square at trastervere romLive music in Piazzi di Santa Maria

If you’re wondering how to spend an evening in Trastevere, then you’re in luck, as there are so many things to do in Trastevere at night!

When it comes to nightlife in Rome, the Trastevere district is where the party’s at. This lively neighborhood comes alive after dark with a vibrant mix of bars, clubs, and live music venues that cater to every taste. 

While Trastevere has more affordable prices when compared to other districts in Rome, unfortunately, nights out tend to be just as expensive here as anywhere else in the city. 

couple posing out front of Bar San Calistocrowd of people sitting outside Bar San Calisto

One of the most popular bars in Trastevere is Bar San Calisto because the prices of drinks are a lot less than the swanky wine bars you see around the neighborhood. It’s the oldest and most famous bar in the district and has been a popular watering hole for more than half a century.

It’s a no-frills pub where both locals and tourists congregate after the sun goes down. A classic, Roman pub, unpretentious and authentic. What more could you want?

Another popular bar is Enoteca La Vite which has an extensive collection of local wines.

Come back here in the morning as they have really cheap espresso and gelato!

4. Take A Walking Food Tour flowers on window in trastevere

I can’t stress enough how much we enjoyed the walking food tour of the Trastevere district. It wasn’t just about strolling through the charming cobblestone streets, savoring the most mouthwatering Italian delicacies at hidden local spots, but about learning the local way of life and how important food is embedded into Italian culture. 

As you walk from trattoria to trattoria, you get to sample some of Rome’s lesser-known and most exquisite dishes, from crispy supplì to heavenly gelato, washed down with the acquired taste of Grappa (it wasn’t for me) – every bite is a burst of authentic flavors that remind you that Italian food is more than just pizza and pasta.

person holding suppliSuppli – cheap snack food in Romegirl eating ice cream

What makes this food tour so special is that you’re led by a local guide, who tells you stories of the people and the way of life here, allowing you to truly soak up the district’s unique vibe. 

I still remember the taste of the artisanal cheeses like Pecorino cheese that we tried from a local produce store. If you’re a foodie, add this to your list of things to do in Rome!

Here are more food tours in Rome to consider, and we also loved our Roman street food tour. Foodies may also love this pasta making class in Trastevere with wine!

5. Admire the Basilicas of Trastevere statues on balcony of Basilica of Santa MariaBasilica of Santa Maria

When it comes to finding the best architecture in the neighborhood, look no further than the churches and basilicas.

The Basilica of Santa Maria is arguably the most famous church in the area and is a real showstopper with its stunning mosaics and peaceful courtyard. It’s one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, and the biggest Catholic Marian church in the city.

Dating back to 432 AD, the design of the church is a mixture of Romanesque and Baroque styles, with 5th-century mosaics adorning the interiors. Walking down the central nave is breathtaking. The marble arches and columns draw your eyes up to the gilded domed ceiling where the intricacies of the artwork keep your attention sucked in until your neck cramps up! 

church at end of street in trastevere

The Santa Cecilia is another gem known for its breathtaking artwork and medieval design. What’s special about this church is that it’s dedicated to Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music and poetry. 

The inside of the church is not as impressive as the Basilica of Santa Maria, but the statue of Saint Cecilia by Stefano Maderno, which sits at the high altar of the church, is worth checking out. It was created in 1600 after the body of Saint Cecilia was found buried under the altar. It is said that the statue is in true likeness to her body as it was found by Antonio Bosio.

I also loved the design of Basilica di San Crisogono, which is small and unimposing from the outside, but lavish and ornately decorated on the inside. I also loved Chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa, a baroque-style church which contains some of Bernini’s masterpieces.

6. Catch Amazing Views from Janiculum Hill Panoramic view of Rome from Janiculum hill, Italyview of Rome from Janiculum hill, Italy

For incredible views, head up to Janiculum Hill (also affectionately known as the Balcony of Rome), the second largest in Rome and a hidden gem with the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city. 

The climb up the hill is steep and takes about 30 minutes, but it’s totally worth it when you’re rewarded with a stunning vista that stretches from St. Peter’s Basilica to the entire historic center of Rome. 

Make sure to arrive at midday to watch the traditional firing of the cannon. Every day, a blank round is fired at noon, which first began on 1 December 1847 when Pope Pius IX introduced it as a way to have a signal for the official time and to help synchronize the bells of the churches.

The cannon sound can sometimes be heard all the way from Esquiline Hill if you listen closely.

7. Watch The Street Artists on the Ponte Sisto bridge over the tiber riverPo

Connecting central Rome to Trastevere is the stunning bridge, Ponte Sisto, which in itself is a work of art, with its elegant arches and stunning views of the Tiber River. 

sunset over the Tiber river in TrastevereTiber River sunset

What’s so special about Ponte Sisto is that it’s often lined with street artists busking in the early evening. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely walk, especially in the evening when the lights of the city cast a magical glow over the river.

8. Relax in the Botanical Garden of Rome Scenic fountain inside the historical Botanical Garden of Rome, ItalyBotanical Garden of Rome

The Botanical Garden of Rome is a peaceful oasis right in the heart of the city. The moment I stepped into the garden, I was surrounded by lush greenery, vibrant blooms, and a sense of tranquility that’s hard to find in the bustling streets of Rome. 

It’s a haven for nature lovers and anyone seeking a serene escape from the urban hustle.

What’s so special about this botanical garden is that it contains more than 7,000 plant species from all over the world. From exotic tropical palms to ancient olive trees, every corner tells a unique botanical story. 

9. Admire The Art Inside Villa Farnesina exterior of villa farnesia main facade rome

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