What & where to eat in Rome: best restaurants,pubs and shops in Trastevere.
What to do & where to eat in Trastevere: Save this list for your foodie experience
Having dinner or lunch in Trastevere feels like having dinner at home.
Restaurants are usually open all day long, and prices are really affordable. Certainly, the ones that give an eye to good quality ingredients and amazing recipes.
Try to avoid touristic menù, it’s better to choose roman recipes: bucatini all’amatriciana, spaghetti cacio e pepe, penne all’arrabbiata.
Spaghetti alla carbonara, gnocchi and other typical recipes are not very “light” recipes but delicious. However, if you come to Italy and you want to try the real Italian cuisine. Better to leave the diet home.
In summer, the area is full of stands and kiosks where you can have an amazing roman recipe. The grattachecca (which consists of manually shaved ice flavored with sweet sciroppo and fruit), or some fresh fruit.
If you want to have a gelato, try one of the best:Fior di Luna (Via della Lungaretta 96). Here the high quality of the all-natural ingredients will make you try on of the best gelato in Rome.
Trastevere is full of restaurants, osterie, and trattorie.
One of the most “traditional” is La Tana de’ Noantri (Via della Paglia, 1).
While a more creative restaurant is Cave Canem (Piazza San Calisto). One of the best restaurants of Trastevere, where you can taste the real roman pasta (and some other roman recipes) is Sette Oche in Altalena (Via dei Salumi 36). Two other amazing restaurants are Da Teo (Piazza dei Ponziani 7) and Da Augusto (Piazza Dè Renzi 15).
If you’re looking for something different than a restaurant, something more like a pub for instance, this is the perfect district. You’d have both dinners and drink a beer. Since this is the highlight of the nightlife in Rome, both for roman young people than for tourists, it’s full of pubs and bars. Do not miss Ma Che Sete Venuti a Fà or Bir & Fud (both located on Via di Benedetta). Many others are all around, you can find them everywhere, especially around Piazza Trilussa and Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.
A little bit of history about Trastevere
Trastevere is the 13th district of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin trans-Tiberim, meaning literally “beyond the Tiber”.
Indeed, Tiber river was phisically considered the border of the City. In Rome’s Regal period the area across the Tiber belonged to the hostile Etruscans.
To consider trastevere part of Rome we need to wait until the Augustan era. The gerat Emperor Augustus divited Rome in 14 different “regiones”.
The area on the other side of the Tevere was named trans-tiberim= trastevere. The oldest Jewish community in Europe, arrived here in the I Century B.C and settled in Trastevere. The Jewish Community will remain here until the Middle Age.
With the wealth of the Imperial Age, several important figures decided to build their villae in Trastevere. Including Julius Caesar (his garden villa, the Horti Caesaris). The regio included two of the most ancient churches in Rome. Firstly the Titulus Callixti, later called the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Secondly the Titulus Cecilae, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.
Changing the area
However, Trastevere was for long time considered a secondary area, provided with narrow, winding, irregular streets. Driving horses or carriages was not very easy due to the several obstacles along the alleys.
Only after the restyling of the streets in 15th Century, situation improved a little, but the area remained a maze of narrow streets.
There was a strong contrast between the large, opulent houses of the upper classes and the small, dilapidated houses of the poor.
Until the time of Sixtus IV, streets were not provided by pavment. The POpe paid for the sampietrini (cobblestones), which were more suitable for carriages. Thanks to its partial isolation and its multicultural population, the inhabitants of Trastevere, called Trasteverini, developed a culture of their own. Since the ancient Roman period, in other words, Trastevere had almost a separate life compared to the City.
During Baroque period, meanwhile Rome was beautifully restyled with marble decorations and fountains, Trastevere was mainly connected to the Port of Ripa. Many people of different origins, especially spanish, were living there, beacuse they used to work at the port, since the Borgia’s time.
In 1744 Benedict XIV modified the borders of the districts, giving Trastevere its modern limits.
Nowadays, Trastevere maintains its character thanks to its narrow cobbled streets lined by ancient houses.
A Unique nature
The Trasteverini still consider themselves, a little unique compared to others. Certainly, living in Trastevere today means to be a priviledge, totally different from the past. Value of Estates, indeed, rised a lot in the last 40 years, making Trastevere one of the most desired quarters to live. Everyone would like to live in Trastevere, Locals, Students, expat and visitors. The unique character of this neighborhood has attracted artists, foreign expats, and many famous people.
At night, natives and tourists alike flock to its many pubs and restaurants, but much of the original character of Trastevere remains. The area is also home to several foreign academic institutions including The American University of Rome and John Cabot University (both of which are private American universities).
Sergio Leone, the director of Spaghetti Westerns, grew up in Viale Glorioso (there is a marble plaque to his memory on the wall of the apartment building), and went to a Catholic private school in the neighborhood. Ennio Morricone, the film music composer, went to the same school, and for one year was in the same class as Sergio Leone.
Alberto Sordi, the unforgettable roman actor, was born in the area likewise Claudio Villa, one of the most famous Italian singer of the 60’s. Lucio Dalla, an ecleptic author and Singer lived in Trastevere.
When to go
This is the perfect area that should be visited in Summer. Firstly, in July (from 15th to 30th), the people who live in Trastevere organize a huge party called Festa de’ Noantri (our party). This folk festival it’s really amazing, if you’re in Rome in that period, you can’t miss it.
Secondly, in Summer (usually from the end of May until September) a cinema festival is organized on the Isola Tiberina (Tiberina Island, the only island of Rome, right between Trastevere and the other side of Rome).
On the island, likewise all along the Tiber left sidebanks takes place the annual “Estate Romana” (Roman Summer). Temporary outdoor Restaurants, pubs, bars and shops of the area open a “stand” on the river, so you can walk right on the river and have dinner or buy something. This is a thing that all the Romans do every summer, so…you can’t miss this one either!
How to reach it
If you are close to a subway station, the quickest way to arrive at Trastevere is to take the B line (the blue one).
Drop off at Termini central station, then from there you can take the bus H (direction Capasso). You will arrive right in the middle of Trastevere (the bus stop’s name is Gallicano, just over the river bridge).
If you are close to the tram (railway), it’s quicker if you take the train number 3 or 8 (it depends on where you are).