Trastevere ★★

Trastevere, Rome, Italy (Photo by gula08)

The popular Trastevere district (Rome's 'left bank') is a postcard neighborhood of narrow, cobblestone streets, fantastic restaurants, and overflowing bars and clubs

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Trastevere, Rome, Italy. (Photo by Lalupa)

Trastevere, which means "Across the Tiber," was one of Rome's great medieval working-class neighborhoods, one that spoke its own distinct dialect and had a tradition of street fairs and poetry—still echoed in the July Festa de' Noantri, or "Feast of We Others."

But after Trastevere became trendy in the 1970 and 80s—popular both with the Roman upper middle class and lots of ex-pat Americans (yeah, yeah, so I'm guilty; I used to live here, too)—it became touristy in the 1990s.

It always had lots of restaurants and excellent tiny trattorie, but this boom in popularity has filled it beyond bursting with eateries, pubs, dance halls, funky boutiques, sidewalk vendors and fortune tellers, and a constant, stifling crush of trendoids and tourists. 

It's still as picturesque as any corner of Rome comes: a warren of narrow, cobblestone-paved streets and alleys that twist and turn and suddenly spill into pocket-sized piazze filled with market stalls or anchored by a medieval church, laundry hanging from marble windowsills set in ochre or gold or pale rose plastered walls, and tiny shops, boutiques, and trattorie pigeonholed into the ground floors of every building.

However, you should know that Trastevere has also become a requisite stop for coach tours and a guided walk in travel books. It's still one of Rome's most colorful quarters, and the best place to come if you just want to wander into a good restaurant at random, but, like the Latin Quarter in Paris or SoHo in New York, it has degraded a bit into a parody of itself.

Doesn't mean I don't come here for dinner one night in three whenever I'm in Rome!

The Sala delle Prospettive frescoed by Peruzzi (Photo by Combusken)
Villa Farnesina
Rome: Trastevere

The Villa Farnesina is a gorgeously frescoed private Renaissance villa belonging to a famous 16th-century banker

Apse (Photo by kraen)

The oldest church in Rome preserves some its most glorious medieval mosaics

A detail from Pietro Cavallini's amazing late 13C frescoes, hidden in the nun's cloistered loft (Photo Public Domain)

This Trastevere church looks like nothing much... until you pay the nuns to sneak downstairs to see remnants of ancient Rome, or upstairs to see precious frescoes by medieval master Pietro Cavallini

A view from the Gianicolo (Photo by Elena Gabrielli)
Rome: Vatican

The Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo) is one my favorite spots in all of Rome, Italy

 (Photo by Patrick Rasenberg)
Galleria Corsini
Rome: Trastevere

Great Renaissance and baroque paintings at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in the Palazzo Corsini alla Lungara

 (Photo by Paolo Margari)
Orto Botanico
Rome: Trastevere

Rome's secret garden in Trastevere

Beata Ludovica Alberoni (1671-75) by Gianlorenzo Bernini (Photo by Sailko)
San Francesco a Ripa
Rome: Trastevere

This Trastevere church contains one of the raciest religious sculptures in the world, Bernini's Beata Ludovica in Ecstasy

Photo gallery
  • , Trastevere, Italy (Photo by gula08)
  • Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Trastevere, Italy (Photo by Lalupa)
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How long does Trastevere take?

Trastevere makes for a perfect afternoon. Head over here after lunch to tour its churches and sights, then stick around for dinner, followed by the famous nightlife in Trastevere and, perhaps, a climb up Gianicolo Hill when you're done. 

If you want to do all the sights in Trastevere, give it a full day and start with the Villa FarnesinaPalazzo Corsini, and Orto Botanico on the north end of the neighborhood, saving the churches in the center and southern reaches of Trastevere for after lunch.

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah

* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).