Trastevere used to be defined as the most Roman of all the districts, but not many real Romans live here any longer. Sandwiched on a narrow strip of land between Monteverde Vecchio and the Tiber, it is as picturesque as the historic centre. Once a favourite location for foreigners living in Rome, recently it has become too expensive and too crowded. There are still numerous good restaurants and nightspots but they are being squeezed out by pizzerie and ice cream parlours. The public transport is good so you could do without a car, especially as parking is almost impossible. There are still some street markets, although the one in Piazza S. Cosimato has lost its local charm since it was modernised. Along Porta Portese, which skirts the Tiber, you will find endless accessories for cars, motorbikes and bicycles but there are few real bargains now at the famous Sunday market of the same name.
THINGS TO SEE
Basilica di S. Maria in Trastevere
One of the oldest churches in Rome, the basilica’s construction is said to have been ordered by Pope Callisto I in the fourth century. The church underwent numerous major renovations over the centuries and is most noted for its coffered gold ceiling which is embellished with ornate carvings and paintings.
Located by the prison in Trastevere, this garden was originally established in 1883 when the Corsini family donated its garden to the Italian state. Now run by La Sapienza university, it hosts over 3,500 species of plants and includes Japanese gardens and a “Scent-and-Touch” garden for visually impaired visitors. Sun closed.
The national collection of ancient art is housed in this palace built by Rome’s Corsini family in the mid-18th century. The gallery is located on the first floor and contains works by artists such as Carracci, Caravaggio, Poussin, Guido Reni and Rubens. One of Rome’s few museums open on Mondays.
This 16th-century Renaissance villa was commissioned by Agostino China, the treasurer of Pope Julius II, and designed by Sienese architect Baldassarre Peruzzi. Towards the end of the 16th century the Farnese family purchased the villa, hence the Farnesina name. It has frescoes by artists including Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo and Giulio Romano.