This area of Rome is as old as Rome itself - it was inhabited by artisans in ancient times. The name Trastevere literally means "at the other side of the Tiber", referring to the river that streams through the city, from which it becomes clear that the name was invented by someone in the centre of Rome. It has always been outside the city walls, and thus developed separately from the city proper. It has long been an area of immigrants, and even now, foreigners often seek a living place in this area.
There are for sure a few sights here that merit a visit, notably the lovely Santa Maria in Trastevere church and a few other churches, museums, and the Janiculum hill at whose very feet the neighbourhood lies. But for me, the main attraction in the area is the area in itself: walking around the small alleys, turning corners into quiet little squares, looking up at the old colourful houses and wondering at the hanging plants that cover some of the walls, sitting down at one of the many restaurants and enjoy a tasteful Italian dish.
Approach Trastevere from the city centre, and head to the area around Santa Cecilia church: this is the quieter part of Trastevere. It is entirely possible to walk around here and follow your instincts, as the area is too small to get lost even for someone without any sense of orientation. As you move to the Sta. Maria in Trastevere area, the more lively corner of Trastevere, you will see more people around, more shops and restaurants. The church itself definitely is a must-see, it is claimed to be the oldest Christian place of worship in Rome and was constructed over the site where, according to legend, a fountain of oil is said to have appeared on the day of Christ's birth.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Trastevere (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Trastevere. Read more about this site.