Trastevere: The beating heart of Rome
Inspired by Alex’ recent post about Rome, I would like to tell you about another side of the Eternal City. It is equally beautiful as the rest of the city, and deserves to be seen as much as the Colosseum and the Pantheon do: The neighborhood of Trastevere.
The name derives from the Latin words trans Tiberim, meaning “beyond the Tiber”. While most of Rome’s popular sights are located on the east bank of the river, Trastevere is on the west bank, in close proximity to the walls of Vatican City. The neighborhood is a charming place with narrow cobbled streets and colorful, medival houses. Even though I had been told this area was tourist-heavy, there were not many people in the streets. It was nice to escape the masses for some time and just wander around in the quiet streets and enjoy the picturesque scenery.
Back in the day, Trastevere had been home to a multi-faceted, working-class crowd from all over Italy and neighboring countries. It was a melting pot within the city, open to influences and roman at the same time. Today most of the apartments have been refurbished and are far from affordable for the average citizen. Still, the area is popular among artists and the creative folks, who draw inspiration from the multicultural history.
The heart of Trastevere is the Piazza di Santa Maria, a square outside of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, lined with restaurants and bars. Just a few blocks away from there, another atmospheric place hides behind thick stony walls – the Church of Santa Cecilia, devoted to the Roman martyr Cecilia. Rich in history, Rome has a lot of beautiful churches to discover, with each of them having a special atmosphere; quiet places that seem miles away from the busy megacity outside of the church walls.
But don’t let the calmness fool you – Trastevere has plenty of nightlife with opportunities ranging from live music to various bars, cafes, and restaurants. Ai Marmi (Viale di Trastevere, 53-59) is considered one of the best pizza places in town. For traditional Roman cuisine, stop by at Checco er Carettiere (Via Benedetta, 10).
Trastevere is connected to public transportation via bus number 3 and tram number 8.
All photos by Cordula Schaefer.