The most pictoresque district in Rome has a poetical, autenthic soul waiting to be lived. Here's our short guide about some things to do in Trastevere

tickets banner

Not so far from Colosseum and Vatican City, Trastevere is the widest among Rome's neighborhoods, a very crowded place loved by tourists, students but even by the citizens, for a nice walk or a romantic dinner. The stunning beauty of this district lies in its amazing glimpse, its alleys, its decadent buildings and its liveliness, given by the presence of its countless restaurants, inns, pizzerias, handmade shops and of course nightclubs, where you can taste the most delicious cocktails.

Catch the streetcar with us and come to find out 10 things to do in Trastevere neighborhood, in the very heart of the grass-roots Rome. 

Things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood: historical background

Things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood: historical background

As indicated by its name, the Trastevere is crossed by the Tiber River, which in the past represented a kind of dividing line between the wealthier and the most humble in the area. The district was officially included into the city at the time of Emperor Augustus under the name Regio Transtiberim (beyond the Tiber) but only later, with Aurelian, it returned within the walls that surrounded Rome. 

As the centuries went by, it became a hotspot for merchants, sailors, fishermen, but also for immigrants from the East, mainly Syria, and Jews-a lively and bustling place that is still known as er core de Roma (the heart of Rome). 

Still preserving its popular and veracious soul, it has become a greatly demanded and attractive district, even for a certain intellectual élite. Indeed, alongside the historic taverns and bars, avant-garde theaters, jazz clubs and politically engaged realities have sprung up: a twofold soul that does not gender contrast but, rather, helps to enrich this picturesque and fascinating area. 

Strolling through the cobblestones of its alleys, let's discover 10 things to do in Trastevere district.

Strolling through the cobblestones of its alleys, let's discover 10 things to do in Trastevere district.

Explore Rome and its wonders

Among the things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood, the best one would be, merely, walking. Wandering through the cobblestone alleys and squares, you cannot fail to look around, admiring the decadent-looking buildings, street art works, oldstyle bar and club signs, and votive shrines scattered here and there.

Going on your way you'll get the amazing Trilussa Square, dedicated to the satirical poet (whose real name was Carlo Alberto Salutri). The square is headed by a monumental arch, placed at the top of a small staircase, which has always been a popular meeting point and a favorite seat for enjoying an ice cream or a beer.

Some steps ahead, you'll get into Sisto Bridge, connecting Trastevere to Campo de' Fiori: here you'll be amazed by one of the most romantic night view of the Eternal City. 

One of the most peculiar feature of the Trastevere neighborhood are its buildings, for sure. Walking around the streets you'll notice the beauty of the brick-faced houses covered by flowers and creepers, like a kind of wild vertical garden.

This bizarre combination between stone and green is a specific feature of the Arch of St. Calistus, probably one of the most photographed corners near hear and it presents the tiniest house in the city at the number 43 – showing some stairs and a XVII century Virgin Mary votive shrine, one of the about 20 existing here.

8. Sitting at the Bramante fountain and admiring the dome

Things to do in Trastevere neighborhood: sitting at Bramante fountain

In addition to the steps in Piazza Trilussa, the Bramante fountain is a favored place to sit for those wandering around Trastevere, to comfortably eat a supplì, drink a beer, and have a chat, perhaps while attending a show by a street performer. It is said that the fountain in Santa Maria in Trastevere Square is the most ancient of those currently working in Rome, but it seems that the embryonic form of the one we see today dates back to the Jubilee of 1450; first designed by Donato Bramante, it was, restored by Gianlorenzo Bernini and Carlo Fontana. 

Directly opposite the fountain is the Basilica, probably founded by Pope Calixtus I in the 3rd century A.D. and modified in later centuries. On the exterior facade and inside you can admire splendid gold-tone mosaics depicting the Holy Mother and Child and episodes from the life of the Virgin.  

7. Eating!

Things to do in Trastevere neighborhood: eating a supplì

Among the things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood, eating is one of the most important. Here you'll find plenty of typical Roman pizzerias, offering the delicious "scrocchiarelle" (crunchy) pizzas in slice (or by the shovel, which you pay by the kilo, depending on the topping), cookies and baked goodies to nibble on while walking around, and of course all the typical dishes of Roman cuisine, from carbonara to saltimbocca, which are ever-present on the menus of the historic taverns and inns there.

You will also be able to enjoy rich aperitifs, served with buffet and fine drinks, and complete your evening with tasty ice creams in special flavors (have you ever tasted one with walnuts, honey and basil?).

But above all, be aware that in Trastevere you can eat the best supplì in the Capital, either in the classic "on the phone" version with sauce and stringy mozzarella, as tradition requires, or in other delicious variations for all tastes. 

In the middle of the Tiber stands the Tiberina Island, the only urban island on the river, a must-see among the things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood. 

This tiny patch of land, about 300 meters long and about 90 meters wide, connects the two banks (on one side the district and on the other the Jewish quarter) and can therefore be reached from both.

According to legend, at the base of the island is the immense grain storehouse of Lucio Tarquinio Superbo, the last king of Rome, which was allegedly dumped into the water by the people when he was ousted; another version claims that it is the site of the temple of the god of medicine Aesculapius, which rose from the waters to protect the city from a plague epidemic, thanks to a snake, the consecrated animal.

The island look like a ship, even with an obelisk/main mast in the center, and is currently home to the Church of St. Bartholomew on the Island and Fatebenefratelli Hospital. 

Within the Trastevere Botanical Garden there is a magical place, a small garden-greenhouse that is home to countless varieties of rare insects, such as millipedes and mantids, but most of all colorful butterflies. As you enter their home, the Butterfly Eden, you will see that these splendid little animals are always willing to settle on the shoulder of visitors to let themselves be admired and photographed. Here you will be accompanied by expert entomologists and learn more about the world of these amazing insects.

The butterfly house, which is open from March to June, is run by Pandoracasanatura APS, a Social Promotion Association that aims to do research and popularize science.

If you are in Rome in the summertime, you should know that among the things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood there is definitely attending a film screening. That's right, because since 2014 San Cosimato Square has been hosting an interesting popular film festival. And we are not talking about a random place, because right here the legendary Alberto Sordi was born. 

The Trastevere Rione del Cinema festival is now known for the efforts of the Piccolo America guys, an association that through a lively film review aims to recreate an encounter in the very heart of the district. Over time, this group has also become famous overseas, and through a long-lasting fundraising it has been able to reopen the Cinema Troisi, a historic neighborhood cinema on which the shutter had been pulled down. 

Besides celebrities from the Italian jet set, the event boasts the presence of internationally renowned directors, actors and screenwriters, from Darren Aronofsky to Paul Schrader, from Sam Rockwell to Asghar Farhadi, passing through Fanny Ardant. This event is away from red carpets, photographers' flashes, press conferences and glamorous settings; it has an informal atmosphere, people sit on the floor, listen to debates and enjoy the magic of films in a spot where city life takes center stage during the day. 

Even in the Trastevere neighborhood there are perfect settings for art lovers. Villa Farnesina, for example, is a fabulous example of a Renaissance building, the residence of the nobleman Agostini Chigi, patron of artists, who commissioned the famous Loggia of Cupid and Psyche and the fresco of the nymph Galatea from Raphael Sanzio, which can still be admired on the ceiling.

Across the street, however, stands Villa Corsini, currently home to the Accademia dei Lincei and a gallery of ancient art, where you can admire works by artists such as Beato Angelico,Guido Reni, Caravaggio, Rubens and Annibale Carracci.

2. Entering the Tempietto del Bramante

Things to do in Trastevere neighborhood: entering in Tempietto del Bramante fountain

The Tempietto del Bramante is another splendid example of the wonders available while wandering around the Trastevere neighborhood. Captured by Paolo Sorrentino in his film The Great Beauty, this jewel of Renaissance architecture is part of the San Pietro in Montorio complex in the upper part of the district, the Gianicolo, and was created by Donato Bramante as well. It is a small circular building surmounted by a dome and surrounded by colonnades, inspired by the structure of ancient Roman temples, while inside are statues of the evangelists and St. Peter - who, according to some legends, is said to have been crucified here

Let's leave the Tempietto to enjoy the last stop on this tour: among the things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood, you cannot miss a pit stop at the Janiculum to admire a one-of-a-kind view.

The Janiculum is the highest area of the district and, according to legend, seems to have been desired by the god Janus, to whom it is dedicated; actually, it seems to have been the area designated by the great Julius Caesar to host a series of monumental gardens (in which, it seems, even Cleopatra walked). It houses a number of monuments dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi and the famous "Fontanone," or Fountain of Acqua Paola, which was captured in The Great Beauty, too. If you decide to go there at noon, moreover, you will witness the firing of the cannon, an active tradition since the 19th century.

Finally, be aware that the Terrace of Rome will give you a special view, evocative by day and romantic by night: truly unmissable.

Things to do in Trastevere neighborhood: how to get there

Trastevere can be easily reached by streetcar number 8 from Piazza Venezia, at the foot of the Altare della Patria and the Capitol Hill, but you wouldn't struggle to get there if you wanted to take a walk. If you are at Termini Central Station, you can take the H bus and get off in front of the Ministry of Education building. From the Vatican City, however, there are no direct buses, so we recommend to enjoy a nice walk under the sun (it's about 2 km away), or, if you want to shorten the journey, go to the Lungotevere and take bus numbers 115, 280 or 23. 

If Rome is one of your next destinations you have probably realized that this fabulous spot just a short walk from the center is a must-see. After reading our guide we are sure that now you will be spoiled for choice among the things to do in the Trastevere neighborhood - you just have to get there. 

We recommend

We recommend