Trastevere is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Rome, and thanks to its bohemien, easy-going atmosphere and the many lively bars and restaurants it is a long-time favourite among locals and tourists alike. Home to a large community of American students (it’s where 2 American Universities are located), it has become quite a party district at night time, while during the day it offers unspoiled corners with the occasional clothesline across the street, wonderful art works, nice little shops and a seemingly unending choice of bars and eateries (we also do Food Tours in Trastevere!).
We’ll start our walk on the Gianicolo Hill, located on the right bank of the Tiber River, covered in trees and offering stunning views of the city. It’s also the site of the Fontanone (literally, the big fountain), the prototype of the Trevi Fountain, built in the early 1600s on the spot where one of the ancient Roman aequeducts entered the city.
Then, we’ll stroll down to Trastevere, and follow its narrow, winding cobblestoned alleys to the oldest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Rome: Santa Maria in Trastevere, going back to the 4th century, and decorated with some dazzling medieval mosaics.
After a coffee at a typical, no-frills local cafè, or a gelato at one of the best gelaterie in town (or both!), we’ll walk to the other gem of this district, the church of Santa Cecilia. Crossing the iron-wrought gate into the courtyard is like stepping back in time to centuries past, when cloistered nuns would live in the convent attached to the church (actually, they still do!). Here, you’ll learn about the dramatic life of the young Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and singers, and we’ll also explore the underground excavations that brought to light the supposed remains of the house where the saint lived in the 3rd century.
A few more steps, and we’ll reach the Tiber River, and cross the bridge to the tiny Tiberina Island. The bridges connecting the island to the mainland on both sides offer some really nice views, besides offering the thrill of walking on some original Roman bridges which are among the oldest in town.