Staying In Trastevere, The “Other Side” Of Rome


A note to my readers: The world is gradually easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, but it will be a long time before we can travel freely again. For many of us that will mean staycations and more local travel, but I will continue posting new content about Italy for you to read at home and to inspire your future travels. Happy reading and stay safe!

Disclosure: This article may contain links to products/services that I may earn a small commission from- at no extra cost to you.

Across the river from the main city, Trastevere is Rome’s “left bank”. A slightly bohemian area of students and artisans, its old narrow streets packed with bars and restaurants. I’d never explored the district before, but on my recent trip to Rome I stayed in an apartment in Trastevere. It proved to be an excellent place to stay.

Trastevere, Rome
Trastevere is full of restaurants

A Local Community

Despite being walking distance from the city centre and many of the main sights, Trastevere is an area where people live. It is full of tall apartment buildings, often with laundry fluttering outside the windows. And there are small shops and market stalls, where you can buy food and the necessities of everyday life.

Street in Trastevere
A typical Trastevere street

This is a good area to explore on foot. It dates back to the Middle Ages, and you will spot lots of interesting architectural details. Look out for frescoes and paintings on the sides of houses, and the seemingly ubiquitous lion’s head door knockers. Occasionally you’ll see some very old stonework – fragments of Roman masonry built into a wall!

Roman masonry
If you’ve got a spare bit of Roman masonry, why not build it into your wall…

LivItaly offers small group tours in Rome and throughout Italy. You can get a 10% discount on any of their tours by using booking code BEWITCHEDBYITALY

Churches And Graffiti In Trastevere

Two things will strike you as you walk around Trastevere: the churches and the graffiti. There seems to be a church on every corner – not surprising when you consider that the area is home to almost 50 churches. Many of them are large and crammed with artworks, but two in particular are worth a visit. Santa Cecilia in Trastevere is a 5th century basilica with a courtyard, mosaics and murals. And Santa Maria in Trastevere is one of the oldest churches in Rome, some parts dating back to the 4th century. Its Byzantine style mosaics are particularly impressive.

Church and tower of Santa Cecilia
Pinnable image of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

As for the graffiti, this seems to have been elevated to an art form, especially around the Piazza Trilussa, close to the University. Doors and walls are covered with brightly coloured patterns and drawings. Don’t miss the “street art” on the Via Benedetta, a sort of cross between graffiti and formal art. My favourite was the empty frame waiting for the viewer’s imagination to supply the picture.

Street art in Trastevere
Graffiti or street art?

Staying In Trastevere

We had an apartment on the Via di Santa Dorotea, close to the Ponte Sisto. It was a good base: from here we could walk across the river to the centre of Rome, or to a bus stop for travelling further afield. There were shops for provisions, and dozens of restaurants to choose from, all serving Roman specialities (not a pizza in sight!). We had particularly good meals at Osteria Pontesisto and La Scala di Trastevere.

Shops in Trastevere
You can buy provisions in local shops

Our visit was in December, when Trastevere was lively but not overcrowded. Judging by the number of restaurants, I can imagine that it might be packed with visitors in the summer months. But it was a great place to stay out of season.

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *