With its narrow alleyways, steep hills, decorative doorways and its tall, colourfully painted houses, the neighbourhood of Trastevere is the Rome that you picture yourself walking through when you first book your flights. Located on the west bank of the Tiber River, during the day it is filled with tourists visiting churches and museums. By night, it comes alive with individuals from all walks of life flocking to dine in its outdoor restaurants, sip wine along its cobbled streets and get stuck into its many bars. Nicknamed the "eighth hill", it's the beating heart of the city's social scene and a heaven for foodies.
Named from the Latin phrase "Trans Tiberim" - roughly translating as "beyond the Tiber" - Trastevere was first captured by the Romans, who saw the strategic value of being in control of both sides of the river. With Roman leaders being otherwise uninterested in the area, it was left to grow by itself, and became a home for fishermen, sailors, and Jewish and Syrian immigrants.
By the Middle Ages, the area had taken on many of the features that define it today, such as its winding, jumbled streets, and a mix of smaller, poorer houses and large, opulent villas. It wasn't until the 15th century that cobbles were added and the streets became accessible for carriages. During the 1800s, many run-down houses were cleared, some replaced with grand buildings, others simply left open, where piazzas later formed.
Although now undeniably touristy, Trastevere is often referred to a Rome's bohemian neighbourhood, owing to its history of attracting writers, artists, activists and musicians.
This area is well known for having hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants, so from the classic pizza and pasta to something more international, you will be able to find it here. In the evening, the central square, Piazza di Santa Maria, fills up with drinkers, diners and jazz musicians, and a jovial, relaxed atmosphere takes over. Like in any big city, you'll find a tout or ten flogging roses or 'designer' sunglasses, but they're easy to ignore (unless you don't want to, of course).
Trastevere is a particularly popular nighttime hangout for students from nearby universities, and so there are numerous bars and clubs to dive into when the mood takes you. Cocktail bars are common, as are microbreweries and craft beer pubs, and live music can be found all over. Our advice? Go with an open mind and see where the evening takes you!
In addition to Trastevere's lively nightlife, it is also home to a number of other attractions:
Piazza di Santa Maria
Italy 00153 Roma