Trastevere, Rome Neighborhood Guide: The Best Things to Do and Eat

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Trastevere is one of the prettiest neighbourhoods in Rome with its narrow cobblestone streets, colourful buildings dripping with ivy, and balconies enlivened with geraniums.

Trastevere is reasonably quiet (at least by day), relaxed, and has far less traffic than other parts of chaotic Rome. It feels more like a small town than a capital city. Yet, it has a convenient location with the historic centre, Vatican, and Colosseum all within a 30-minute walk.

Trastevere street dripping with ivy- one of the best areas to stay in Rome

The area has certainly changed over the years. The secret is well and truly out, and at times there seem to be more foreigners than Romans. It is now a popular spot for restaurant and bar hopping.

But it’s still possible to escape the crowds and the further you get from the river the quieter it is. As with many cities in Italy wandering down side streets is rewarded.

Trastevere, Rome neighbourhood guide

 

Flowers on a balcony in Trastevere, Rome
The street where we stayed in Trastevere

Trastevere is one of the best places to stay in Rome, especially for first-time visitors—it’s beautiful, central, and less crowded than the historic centre. 

Just don’t expect to be the only tourists around—for that we recommend the Testaccio neighbourhood which we discovered on the Eating Italy Taste of Testaccio food tour and recently returned to for a month-long stay. It’s not as pretty as Trastevere, but it’s very local and the food is fantastic—no tourist menus in sight.

Note: This post was originally published in 2012 and was majorly updated in 2018 after many more visits to Rome. 

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Things to Do in Trastevere

There aren’t many famous sights in Trastevere. The neighbourhood is more about strolling the streets, people-watching in piazzas, meeting friends for dinner or a drink. In summer restaurant tables spill out onto the streets and the atmosphere is festive.

There are some worthwhile attractions, though—these things to do in Trastevere are often overlooked by visitors and aren’t usually crowded.

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Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere

Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere in Trastevere, Rome

The lovely Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere is at the heart of the neighbourhood and is home to a beautiful church that’s one of the oldest in Rome. It dates back to the 3rd century, but the bell tower and golden facade were added in the 12th century. It’s worth visiting inside to see the glittering 12th-century mosaics.

Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is on Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Entrance is free and it’s open every day from 7.30am to 9 pm.

Villa Farnesina

Raphael fresco at Villa Farnesina in Trastevere, Rome

We wandered past Villa Farnesina a few times during our stay in Trastevere and decided to visit on a whim. We were amazed to find a stunning Renaissance villa with ceilings covered in Raphael frescoes. Best of all, we had it almost to ourselves. It’s one of the most overlooked gems in Rome.

The mansion was built in 1506 for a Sienese banker and was later owned by the Farnese family (hence the name). As well as the beautiful ceiling frescoes, look out for the trompe-l’œil in the Hall of Perspectives where an optical illusion is created showing the city of Rome through imitation columns.

Villa Farnesina is at Via della Lungara, 230. Entrance is €6. It’s open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm and every second Sunday of the month from 9 am to 5 pm.

Palazzo Corsini

Palazzo Corsini art gallery in the Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome

Opposite Villa Farnesina is Palazzo Corsini, a grand baroque palace that now houses a small Renaissance and Baroque art collection. We’re not serious art buffs and didn’t recognise any of the artists, but it was a pleasant place to wander, especially as there was only one other person there.

While I don’t think it’s a must-see, tickets have a combined entrance with Palazzo Barberini in the centre, which is well worth visiting for its extensive collection including some stunning Caravaggio paintings.

Palazzo Corsini is at Via della Lungara, 10. Combined entrance with Palazzo Barberini is €12 (valid for 10 days). It’s open from Wednesday to Monday from 8.30 am to 7 pm. Closed Tuesdays.

Orto Botanico

Medicinal garden in the Orto Botanico in Trastevere, Rome

Medicinal garden in the Orto Botanico

Trastevere’s botanical garden is another hidden gem behind Palazzo Corsini. It’s a peaceful retreat from the city on the lower slopes of Janiculum Hill and is a lovely place to wander amongst the palms and pines.

It’s at its best in spring (the rose garden had withered in June), but there was still plenty to explore including a sensory herb garden, medicinal plants, carnivorous plants, and tropical greenhouse. Don’t miss walking up the hill to the Japanese garden with a small bamboo grove, rock garden, waterfall, and view of the city.

Rome view from the Orto Botanico botanical gardens in Trastevere

We really enjoyed the garden but it is quite pricey, so if you are on a tight budget you might want to visit one of the city’s free parks instead.

Orto Botanico is at Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24. Entrance is €8. It’s open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 6.30pm. Closed Sundays.

If you need a break from the hectic city, check out these 15 Rome Day Trips for inspiration.

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San Cosimato Market

If you are self-catering or like wandering Italian markets (always a worthwhile activity), San Cosimato is Trastevere’s main market. In the centre of the piazza are fruit and vegetable stalls while around the edges are permanent stalls selling fish, meat, pasta, and even books. More than a place to shop, its a gathering place for the neighbourhood’s locals from young to old.

The Mercato di San Cosimato is at Piazza di San Cosimato. It’s open from Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to 2 pm. Closed Sundays.

Janiculum Hill

View of Rome from Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo) in Trastevere

Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo in Italian) is just above Trastevere and has one of the best views in Rome—you can see most of the city’s main sights. It’s particularly lovely at sunset and there’s a stand where you can get a drink.

It’s about a 15-minute walk from the centre of Trastevere to Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi at the top of the hill. On the way up look out for Bramante’s Tempietto in the church of San Pietro in Montorio and the monumental baroque fountain, Fontana dell’Acqua Paola.

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Tiber Island

Tiber island in Rome connects Trastevere to the Jewish Ghetto

Trastevere is divided from the historic centre of Rome by the Tiber river, whose banks are a great place for a traffic-free run or cycle. The Ponte Cestio bridge connects Trastevere to the tiny Tiber Island in the river.

The island is wonderfully picturesque and looks like a medieval hill town with its old bridges and church. It was once the site of an ancient temple to Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, and is still considered a place of healing—there’s a working hospital.

There’s not a lot to see on the island but do take the time to walk through it on your way from Trastevere to the Jewish Ghetto on the other side. 

During the summer the island hosts the Isola del Cinema film festival. There are also temporary bars and restaurants along the banks of the river in the summer.

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Villa Doria Pamphili

Villino Algardi in the Villa Doria Pamphili park in Monteverde, Rome

Villino Algardi

Villa Doria Pamphili is in the Monteverde neighbourhood but as it’s only a 20-minute walk from Trastevere, it’s well worth visiting when you need an escape from the crowds.

This huge park is perfect for a run, walk, or picnic. Some sections are more manicured, like a typical city park, while others feel like the countryside with woods and meadows of long grass. There’s also a church, the grand Villino Algardi which you can admire from the outside, and a small lake.

It’s my favourite park in Rome. I loved lying in the long grass admiring the umbrella pines above—so relaxing and peaceful.

We combined a visit with lunch at the nearby natural wine bar Litro, a plan I heartily recommend.

For more ideas, see our favourite things to do in Rome to escape the crowds. 

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The Best Trastevere Restaurants

Neapolitan style pizza at Seu Pizza Illuminati in Trastevere, Rome

Neapolitan style pizza at Seu Pizza Illuminati

A great way to explore Trastevere’s food scene and learn more about Italian food culture is on the Trastevere food tour with Eating Italy. We loved their Testaccio food tour and would like to try their evening or daytime Trastevere walk.

It’s also worth walking over the river to some excellent restaurants in Testaccio.

These are some of our favourite Trastevere restaurants:

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Restaurants and Pizzerias

  • Pizzeria di Marmi (Viale di Trastevere 53–59) – The best pizza in Trastevere with delicious Roman-style thin crust pizzas. Get there early (it opens at 6.30pm) or expect to queue. Tables are crammed together so it’s not the place for a romantic meal.
  • Seu Pizza Illuminati (Via Angelo Bargoni, 10 – 18) – This trendy new pizzeria is more stylish (and expensive) than the typical Roman pizza place and does thicker Neopolitan style pizzas with puffy crusts. Choose from classic toppings or more creative versions like The 3 Ps—pesto, potato and smoked provolone.
  • Sette Oche in Altalena (Via die Salumi 36) – It may be touristy but the pasta is good and there’s outside seating. We appreciated the number of vegetarian options including tonnarelli cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), linguine al limone (lemon and goats cheese), and ravioli alla Norma (aubergine and tomato).
  • La Tavernaccia da Bruno (Via Giovanni da Castel Bolognese, 63) – Tasty pasta and melanzana alla parmigiana in a friendly trattoria in the less-touristy southern part of Trastevere.
  • Zi’Mberto (Piazza della Malva) – The service was a bit gruff and chaotic, but we enjoyed the pasta and the outside seating on the piazza.

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Cheap Eats and Bars

  • La Boccaccia (Via di Santa Dorotea, 2) – Good pizza slices with some unusual toppings. You choose how much you want and pay by weight.
  • Suppli (Via di San Francesco a Ripa, 137) – Excellent suppli (rice balls) and pizza to take away.
  • C’e Pasta e Pasta (Via Ettore Rolli, 29) – A Jewish pasta shop where you can eat in or take away their prepared vegetable and pasta dishes. Almost everything is vegetarian. It’s a good option if you want a quick meal or are craving vegetables.
  • Rumi Bottega Organica (Via di San Francesco a Ripa, 133) – A little takeaway with a few seats. The menu changes daily and is mostly vegetarian including salads, lasagna, savoury muffins, and burgers. The lasagna with zucchini and basil cream and the pumpkin and pecorino muffin were especially good. Ideal for a quick, healthy meal.
  • Tastevere Kmzero (Vicolo de’ Cinque, 30A) – A small wine bar and organic farm shop where you can get tasty veggie, bruschetta and cheese plates to go with your glass of wine.
  • Frene e Frizioni (Via del Politeama, 4/6) – We still haven’t made it here, but it’s supposed to be one of the best bars in Trastevere with good cocktails and a free vegetarian aperitivo buffet from 6.30pm.

Bruschetta and cheese plate at Tastevere Kmzero wine bar and farm shop in Trastevere, Rome

Vegetarian bruschetta and cheese plate at Tastevere Kmzero

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Gelato and Sweet Treats

  • Fatamorgana (Via Roma Libera, 11) – My favourite gelato place in Trastevere. They have lots of interesting flavours—the pear, chocolate and almond was especially good.
  • Fior di Luna (Via della Lungaretta, 96) – Quality, homemade organic gelato with good fruit flavours.
  • Rivendita (Vicolo del Cinque) – A unique place that’s part used bookstore, part bar, part chocolate shop. It’s known for its shots that come in small chocolate glasses topped with cream—you eat them in one yummy, messy mouthful.
  • Tiramisu (Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, 29) – Grab a takeaway tiramisu in many untraditional flavours.

See our Eating in Italy etiquette guide so you can avoid making mistakes like turning up for dinner at 6 pm or ordering a cappuccino after lunch. 

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Trastevere Hotels and Apartments

Airbnb

Airbnb private rooms or apartments are a good option in Trastevere as there aren’t many hotels.

On our last visit we stayed in this Smart Loft in Trastevere and loved it. Although it’s a studio, it’s spacious and has clearly defined areas—lounge, kitchen, desk area, and a raised bed.

The location is perfect in a quiet, less touristy part of Trastevere but close to the action (and Fatamorgana gelato!). The only downsides are that as it’s a basement natural light is minimal, and it felt quite cold, even when hot outside (I imagine this is a plus in the height of summer).

If you haven’t tried Airbnb before, get $35 off your first stay here

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B&Bs and Hotels

If you’d prefer to stay in a Trastevere hotel or B&B here are some excellent options:

  • Casa Mia In Trastevere – Spacious, stylish, modern rooms in the perfect location near Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and just across the river from the historic centre. Great value for Rome. 
  • Hotel Parraiso – Chic rooms in a quieter part of Trastevere near Janiculum Hill. There’s a rooftop terrace for breakfast and evening drinks. 
  • Tree Charme – A charming small hotel in the ideal riverside location with lovely rooms. 

Search for more hotels in Trastevere here.

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How to Get to Trastevere Rome

Trastevere is very walkable and the historic centre is only a 10–20 minute walk away. The Vatican and Colosseum are about a 30-minute walk away. You can also take the bus or tram—we use Google Maps for routes.

The tram 8 runs from Trastevere train station along Viale di Trastevere to Piazza Venezia near the Roman Forum.

From Rome Fiumicino airport (FCO) take the train (30 minutes, €8) to Trastevere station. From there you can walk or take the bus or tram to your hotel.

From Rome Ciampino airport (CIA) you can get one of the airport coaches to Termini train station and then the bus from there.

The set price for an airport taxi is €48 to/from Fiumicino and €30 to/from Ciampino.

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Trastevere, Rome Map

It may not be off the beaten track any longer, but it’s still well worth visiting or even staying in Trastevere. It’s a beautiful neighbourhood with some interesting, uncrowded things to do, and it’s more relaxed than the busy centre.

What are your favourite things to do in Trastevere? Leave a comment below.  

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