In Trastevere you won't find the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain or St. Peter's Square; in Trastevere you won't see palaces or luxuries, but narrow, colorful and charming streets that will make you feel like in a Fellini movie.
1. Take a gastronomic tour in Trastevere
There are dozens of charming streets and a long list of restaurants to enjoy. That's why many tours of Rome include the Trastevere area in their itineraries. One of the best ways to tour the area is by taking this gastronomic tour of Trastevere, Campo di Fiori and the Jewish quarter where, in addition to learning about its streets and its history for three and a half hours, you can taste some of the most exquisite dishes.
About gastronomy in Trastevere
Gastronomy is an essential part of the tour, because it is an essential part of this particular neighborhood of Rome. There you will taste some of the best pastas and pizzas in the city. I will make you suffer a little more and list the Italian specialties that you will taste during your visit:
- Pasta: it is one of Italy's star dishes and if you have ever lived with an Italian you will know that for them it is a ritual.
- Pizza Bianca: it is pizza without tomato and, before you make a funny face, I will tell you that in Rome it is considered a delicacy. A personal recommendation: the thinner the dough, the better.
- Fresh Mozzarella cheese and cured salami: fresh products in Italy are of excellent quality and cheese is one of their strong points.
- Risotto balls: also called suppli, they are a typical Jewish dish.
- Fried artichokes: in the Jewish area they fry everything and the result leaves nothing to be desired. Here there is no "fritanga".
- Artisan ice cream (you haven't tasted real ice cream until you eat it in Rome).
What the tour consists of
All this tour and all these tastings will be enjoyed in a small capacity tour where a maximum of 12 people guarantees an intimate experience. The experience of this gastronomic walk in and around Trastevere lasts three and a half hours and, despite having a specialized local guide, is more like a relaxed and interesting evening with friends than a sightseeing tour.
2. See Santa Maria in Trastevere Square
It is the center of the social and cultural life of this neighborhood and the best way to know all its history is with a tour of Trastevere. In addition, it is essential to visit it at dusk, when it is illuminated and becomes a meeting place. The square owes its name to the church that presides over it and in the center there is a fountain around whose steps dozens of young people gather every night and street shows are organized. In the streets that lead to this square is where they are located, with tables outside in the summer months, most of the restaurants in the neighborhood.
A fun way to tour this square is mounted on a segway. There are Segway tours through the center of Rome for up to two hours that take you to the most important places in the city and tell you the stories hidden in the streets, on this popular two-wheeled electric vehicle. By the way, very comfortable and easy to use, dare to try it!
3. Visit the Church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music, so it will not be unusual that, if you have booked the Trastevere tour, your guide will take advantage of this stop to tell you a little about Italian music and especially about all the concerts that can be seen in this bohemian neighborhood. He will also tell you the chilling story of the sacrifice of this saint who was martyred in this very place.
4. Tour the Villa Sciarra
This is where a romantically decorated park full of fountains and statues is situated. It reaches its splendor when the cherry blossoms bloom in spring and from it you can see beautiful views of Rome reaching up to the Gianicolo hill.
5. Stroll through the Jewish quarter
Also known as the "Jewish ghetto" without the name having any negative connotation, I recommend you to book a tour of Trastevere and the Jewish quarter so you can learn all the history about the place, which is not little. In this area you will find points of interest such as the ruins of the portico d'Ottavia or the main synagogue of Rome, but the most relevant thing is the local specialties that you will taste in its small restaurants in the middle of a genuine atmosphere. I hope you like the fried food because it is the specialty of the place.
6. Discover Campo dei Fiori by night
This area is characterized by its huge open-air market with daily fresh fruit and vegetables. Once upon a time, this enclave was full of medieval inns and Renaissance palaces such as Palazzo Farnese (where the tour of Trastevere and the Jewish quarter usually begins) or Palazzo Spada. The inns are no longer preserved, but the palaces and mansions are. In the center of the square where the market is located, you will find a statue dedicated to the famous philosopher Giordano Bruno.
7. Take a private tour of Trastevere
If you fall in love with this neighborhood and the daily life in Rome, you have the option to book a private tour of Trastevere for you and your travel companions. This option also lasts 3.5 hours (on foot), includes the Jewish quarter and Campo de Fiori and, of course, is also organized as a gastronomic tour.
The advantage? The intimate atmosphere you will create with the guide and the possibility to adapt the tour and its timing according to what you are most interested in visiting in this neighborhood. You will also be able to get personalized restaurant recommendations that will come in handy during your visit.
8. Cross the Ponte Sisto
Built in the 15th century to connect Trastevere with the center of Rome, strolling across it at sunset is a comforting experience where you can also be surprised by musical performances.
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you want to take home a gastronomic souvenir, buy gourmet products in the stores near Piazza della Cinque Scole.
9. Have an aperitif in Piazza Trilusa
At the end of the Sisto bridge you will find this square full of street artists and painters. An essential atmosphere to get to know the essence of the Trastevere neighborhood.
In case you didn't know, the aperitif is one of the most ingrained customs for Italians, both young and old. In the mid-afternoon, it is very common to see groups of Italians drinking a traditional spritz or a beer while tasting a delicious snack consisting of focaccia, salamis, pizzas.... The best part? You pay for the drink and the "tapas" (or appetizer, as they call it) are on the bar. Can't wait to try it?
10. Visit the Church of San Pietro in Montorio
It is located in the lower part of the Gianicolo and its terrace is also an excellent viewpoint. Don't miss the view of the circular temple of this convent from the lower part of its courtyard.
11. Walk along Via Portuense
Porta Portese is located at the end of this street and is one of the entrances to the neighborhood behind the wall that surrounds part of it. Through it you will access the less touristic Trastevere and if you go there on Sunday morning you will find one of the most popular street markets in Rome.
12. See shows
Urban culture is very present in the Trastevere area and, therefore, you will have the chance to attend more than one interesting show in this neighborhood. Best of all, late in the day in Piazza Santa Maria or Piazza Trilusa you won't even have to pay admission because this neighborhood is home to many (and very good) street performers.
If you want to get a different souvenir from your trip to Rome, Trastevere is the place to go. In addition to buying gourmet products in some of its stores, you can also enjoy handicrafts and small stores with peculiar objects that you will not find in any other area of Rome.
14. Spend your last night there
Although not the most accessible place for a sightseeing tour of Rome, spending your last day there can be a perfect farewell to the eternal city. Entering Trastevere is like entering a different Rome and enjoying it during your last hours of travel away from the tourist crowds could be a perfect end to your experience.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Don't miss the sunset from the Gianicolo hill. Then finish the day by having dinner in Trastevere and discovering its nightlife.
Organize your tour of Trastevere
How to get to Trastevere
You can walk across the Sisto bridge or the Garibaldi bridge. If you are visiting the Vatican, the walk to Trastevere will only take 30 minutes. In any case, so that you don't get exhausted walking (you will have time to walk through the streets) you can take bus H (leaving from Termini station and passing through Piazza Venezia, among other places) or streetcar 8 (leaving from Piazza Venezia).
Be careful! Many tours, although they pass through Trastevere, do not leave from there directly, so be sure to check the address of the meeting point. If you have any questions you can write to your guide when booking the tour so that he/she can give you the relevant explanations, but don't worry because they are usually easy to find.
You can do the Trastevere tours at various times depending on the day of the week you choose. I recommend doing it in the mid-afternoon so that you can see the Trastevere neighborhood at night when you finish. Please note that if you take the tour on a Sunday, you will find many stores closed in Rome.
Duration of the tours
The tour lasts three and a half hours and is a walking tour, but, as it includes several stops to taste local gastronomic products, it is not as tiring as a tour of the center of Rome of the same length. For me in particular the time flew by because the atmosphere is totally relaxed and there is a very relaxed atmosphere with the guide and the tour companions.
Where to eat
If after all that you are going to try on the tour you are still hungry at the end, you are in the best place in Rome to have lunch or dinner. Any of the bars near Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere will be worth a visit. Ah, don't miss the ice cream parlors; they are also famous in this area and many of them have many years of history.
If you are going to eat on your own, as you may have already discovered, the neighborhood is known for its gastronomy. It is one of the best areas in Rome to enjoy Italian food. Tip: avoid the tourist menu and let yourself be recommended. As for the quantities, they are usually quite plentiful so you may find that one plate is enough.
Another recommendation is not to shy away from dishes that seem "simple" or "typical": I can attest that a margherita pizza or a plate of pasta arrabiata in Rome will taste like nowhere else in the world.
The tour is available in several languages: Spanish, German, English and French.
Visiting Trastevere with children
The tour is perfectly suited for children. Just make sure they try everything so they don't waste the delicious food included in the tour price.
The neighborhood is one of the places that lends itself best to a quiet and thoughtful photograph without the stress of the photo op that can envelop the most saturated monuments of Rome. The deeper you go into its streets, the more possibilities you will discover. A must to climb the Gianicolo hill from where you will have a wonderful view of Rome especially at sunset.
If you are interested in the Trastevere neighborhood tour you will also be interested in
If you have fallen in love with the gastronomy of Trastevere, you can't miss the restaurants in another of Rome's neighborhoods that delights the most foodies: Testaccio. This neighborhood is located on the opposite bank of Trastevere and is also worth a visit, if only for its restaurants. Although it is less known, there are also those who describe it as one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Rome.
Visiting the Vatican
Finally, if you are going to visit Trastevere in the afternoon, I recommend doing so after seeing the Vatican Museums in the morning for two reasons. The first is the proximity of both places (about a thirty minute walk) which can be a perfect way to spend the day.
The second is because you already know that the Vatican is a must-see in Rome, but also one of the busiest places; after the bustle you will find in the museums or in St. Peter's Basilica, enjoying the serenity of Trastevere will be a balm that will charge you with energy for the rest of the days of your visit to Rome. If you are interested in this option and want to know more about how to organize your visit to the Vatican, you can read this other article about the best guided tours of the Vatican.
Other guided tours of Rome
If on the other hand you prefer to take a broader tour of the city that doesn't focus only on Trastevere, don't worry because the offer of guided tours of Rome is endless. In fact, so much so that it can be overwhelming. I put together this guide on the 11 best tours of Rome that can help you choose which is the best option.
The best tours from Rome
And finally, if by now you've already fallen in love with Rome like me, I recommend that you don't stop visiting the rest of Italy, as there are thousands of wonders to discover outside the Eternal City. I leave you with this article on the 9 best tours from Rome so you can start dreaming about all the excursions you could do once you are there.