- Backpackers / Students
- Families with younger children
- People watching
Churches, gardens and a hopping nightlife scene in this district across the Tiber.
Trastevere (from trans tiberum, across the Tiber) is a picturesque quarter of narrow winding streets, ivy swaying from walls and not too many of those demanding cultural attractions that you feel obliged to go and see. Recent years have seen a vast influx of cafés, bars, restaurants and nightlife haunts, however, so that by late in the evening it can feel rather like one big party (this is, also, where Rome's foreign students hang out). But for wall-to-wall eateries and non-stop action, Trastevere is the place to be. If that's not your scene, come in the day time and enjoy the district's other offerings.
In the glorious main square, the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere stands where oiled welled up miraculously the day Jesus was born. Or so the story goes. Inside is a superb 12th-century apse mosaic of Jesus and Mary.
On the quieter eastern side of Viale Trastevere – the busy traffic artery which cuts the district in half – is the Church of Santa Cecilia, patron saint of music. Beneath the church is an archeological dig where you can see the remains of a titulus, a 5th-century Christian church. In the gallery above the church are the spectacular remains of a Last Judgment fresco, by little-known genius Pietro Cavallini.
Running north out of Trastevere towards the Vatican, Via della Lungara is home to a great art collection at the Galleria Corsini (www.galleriaborghese.it), some marvellous frescoes designed by Raphael at the Villa Farnesina (www.lincei.it) and the charming Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden, Largo Cristina di Svezia 24, Mon-Sat 9am-6.20pm, 4 euros), a green and leafy haven where local mums plonk their small children,and plant lovers examine exotic species. It's not the best-kept, or best-labelled, botanical garden in the world, but somehow this seems to add to its appeal.