Traipsing Through Trastevere, Rome

Trastevere is the kind of neighborhood that every travel photographer dreams of–think of buildings splashed in warm colors and adorned with laundry drying in the Roman sun, ivy snaking from window to window, and bicycles propped against textured ochre walls. However, picturesque backdrops and photo ops didn’t lure me into this not-so-secret Roman neighborhood. As with many things on this trip to Rome, my plans were based around food. 

Where To Eat in Trastevere

Having drooled through Anthony Bourdain’s episode in Rome weeks prior to my visit, I knew that I’d be making a stop at Trastevere’s Roma Sparita to try their Cacio e Pepe; a simple Roman pasta dish, tossed with a generous dusting of Pecorino cheese, butter and cracked black pepper. It was creamy, peppery and surprisingly complex for being such a minimalist dish. As if it weren’t good enough alone, at Roma Sparita, they serve it in a Parmesan bowl. I’m still dreaming about this meal and will compare every future pasta dish to this. I already know they won’t live up to this–it was just that ridiculously good!

roma sparita cacio e pepe

 

If you find yourself at Cacio e Pepe, do yourself a favor and also order the fresh mozzarella. Thank me later.

fresh italian mozzarella

 What To Do in Trastevere

The only site I saw in Trastevere, aside from exploring lots of side-streets and hidden plazas, was the Church of Santa Maria. It’s a difficult feat to go to Rome and not step inside the more than 900 churches(!) in the city. While I did see the inside of a handful of churches during this trip, including the Vatican, this church was my favorite. Built in 221, the Church of Santa Maria is said to be one of Rome’s oldest and is filled with ornate 12th and 13th Century mosaics inside. After traveling through Europe, seeing church after church can seem repetitive, and they all start to look the same– but this church was exceptionally beautiful.

church-santa-maria-trastevere

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church-santa-maria-trastevere

 The Spirit of Trastevere

Stumbling upon Trastevere felt like finding a small town in the midst of the chaotic sprawl that is Rome. As soon as you cross the Tiber River, you feel like you’re in a pocket of Rome that hasn’t changed much over the years centuries. Its original character is still found in its open plazas, cobblestone streets and medieval buildings. Unfortunately, (depending on how you look at it) tourism has started to seep in–there are restaurants with menus in English/French/German/etc., and I definitely wasn’t the only tourist around–even though it was February. But, it was a nice escape from the big crowds in the center of Rome and well worth carving out some hours in your itinerary to explore.

So explore I did. This is what I saw:


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 Which photo of Trastevere is your favorite?

Comments

  1. says

    What a happy coincidence! My husband and I were in Rome last month and spent most of our time in and around Trastevere… I blogged the photos from our trip a few weeks back and I think I even have a shot of the same bicycle! xx
    Kerry recently posted…AzulejosMy Profile

  2. says

    Christine, your photos of Trastevere are so beautiful and sum up the neighbourhood so perfectly! I had a wander around the area in July last year and even then I could find little alleyways and alcoves to myself – quite the novelty in Rome. I’d been recommended pizza at a place called Dar Poeta and it didn’t let me down :)
    Caitlyn recently posted…153 minutes in LuxembourgMy Profile

  3. says

    This made me so Rome sick! I lived in Trastevere when I studied there and I will forever love that neighborhood. Santa Maria in Trastevere is my favorite church in the world- I loved going there to think or rest during my walks around the neighborhood. Lovely photos :)
    Amanda @ Farsickness recently posted…March Wrap UpMy Profile

  4. Mark Harrison says

    Great to hear about your time in Trastevere Christine!
    I very fondly remember my time in Trastevere and can’t believe that 10 years has passed.
    Myself and my family were guests of my wife’s aunty who was a nun in a convent there (next to the lovely little church of Santa Cecilia).
    Each sunny Roman day we would go out and explore Rome only to come back to exquisite meals prepared by the nuns.
    I can’t wait to return one day, though Trastevere won’t be the same without Zia Lynda (she passed away a few years ago now).

    Kind regards

    Mark

  5. says

    Ineffably picturesque, Trastevere is a district of two halves. West of Viale Trastevere, besotted tourists mingle with the few locals who have survived the influx of foreign residents, through twisting alleys packed with bars and restaurants (which are not always the cheapest or the best, but which usually guarantee atmosphere). Every alley seems to lead eventually to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, where the facade of the eponymous church glows with 13th-century mosaics, as does the apse, where the scenes from the life of the Virgin are by Pietro Cavallini, a lesser-known Roman contemporary of Giotto. More of Cavallini’s extraordinary work can be seen to the east of Viale Trastevere in the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, where a fragment survives of his Last Judgment—an extravaganza of exquisitely colored angels’ wings (2 Piazza Santa Cecilia; 39-06-589-9289; open Tues.–Thurs. 10 am–noon, Sun 11:30 am–noon). This side of Viale Trastevere is altogether a quieter, more laid-back neighborhood.
    The Countryside Blog recently posted…Picacho Peak and “Razorback Ridge”My Profile

  6. Melanie Murrish says

    Bella, bella! I love the blue door photo. I once ordered buffalo mozzarella in Sorrento and everyone laughed when a whole ball came……until, that is, they all had a taste. Divine.

  7. says

    I’m studying abroad in Florence right now and when I went to Rome I just barely scratched the surface in Trastavere and wished I had had more time there! Luckily, I’m going back in a few weeks and can’t wait to check out some of these recommendations! PS – so glad I found your blog (thanks to Nicole from La Mia Vita!)
    eatwelltraveloftenblog.blogspot.com

  8. Shirley says

    Something so special about the area of Trastevere Italy. I love the feel of the area. I will return to this special area of Italy In July 2015. I look forward to photographing every nook U can find. I did so enjoy your photo’s takes me back to my homeland! Thank You ever so much for sharing them!

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