Trastevere is my absolute favorite Roman neighborhood – full of winding cobblestone streets dripping with ivy, local trattorias, and some of the coolest bars the city has to offer. This historically working class neighborhood still holds on to its roots, with a bohemian-turned-trendy vibe that is full of local gems, as its where a lot of Rome locals go out on the weekend. The northern side is popular for live music and bar hopping, but if you work your way down to the southern end or further away from the river, it’s still possible to escape the crowds and discover your own secret side streets and views.
Trastevere is just over the bridge from the historic Roman city center, and most of the big sites are within a 30 minute walking radius. For this reason, the neighborhood makes for a great home base, or an easy visit while you’re out exploring city center.
Where to Stay
Hotel Santa Maria is located within the heart of the bustling Trastevere neighborhood, and yet once they buzz you through the ivy covered gate you will feel as though you’ve entered a peaceful village in the Italian countryside. The customer service is excellent- some of our best experiences in Rome came from staff recommendations, not to mention the best cappuccino. This is a true Italian bed and breakfast- an extensive breakfast buffet is served in the garden every morning and included in the cost of your room. However, the breakfast area turns into a bar from 11 am to 10 pm and I highly recommend making time in your day to linger and enjoy a martini or glass of Frascati wine at least once during your stay- either in the gardens or up in the solarium (shared sun deck) filled with lemon trees.
Where to Eat
Before traveling to Trastevere, an Italian friend told me “Oh really go to any corner trattoria- they are all great.” This is my least favorite kind of travel advice- I want the inside scoop! But once I got there I understood- Trastevere is such a vibe, especially as the bars and restaurants come to life as the sun sets across the Piazza di Santa Maria, a little corner trattoria might just speak to you and that is reason enough to try it! Here are the best local places I
La Tavernetta 29 da Tony e Andrea
We ended up here after following handwritten notes from our hotel concierge on “how to try the best pasta in the city!” You can opt to east inside (and probably meet more locals that way), or outside in the string light patio in the middle of Piazza di Renzi, a popular spot in Trastevere, so be prepared for a little wait. This meal was the spaghetti carbonara that has since ruined all other carbonaras for my pasta-loving husband, but the best part for me was throwing back some complimentary limoncello shots with Tony following the meal.
I mean, I was sold when a server poured us some champagne to sip on while we waited for an open table. Then our decision was further confirmed after chatting with the Aussie family at the table next to us who said they’ve spent their summers in Rome for the last 15 years and eat here at least once a week. The food is good, the ambiance is fantastic. Inside beneath the funky light fixtures or outside under the stars, there’s not a bad seat in the house, and they stay open late to let you linger.
Ristorante Arco Di San Calisto
The food is not the best I had in all of my time in Rome, but the service and ambiance is spectacular. The outdoor terrace is magical, draped with vines and lights and right around the corner from Piazza di Santa Maria. On the weekend, street musicians set up at the end of this side street, so you get front row seats to the show. Definitely worth the wait for an outdoor seat.
This is one of those trattorias that just spoke to me! The restaurant offers traditional Roman fare, and yet the spritzes are served in mason jars. Grab a small table on the sidewalk, illuminated by the yellow street lamps lining the cobblestone street, and people watch over your mason jar and charcuterie.
Where to Drink
This is the neighborhood’s cool locals bar, where you will see Roman hipsters reading over espresso in the morning and sipping mojitos with a cigarette in the evening. A great hang!
This wine and cocktail bar has a playful, vintage feel (think of Mimi & Coco as Bonnie & Clyde sort of characters), and if you order a cocktail during aperitivo hour, it comes with an impressive spread of tagliere (regional meat & cheeses).
This is a trendy cocktail bar, with a large patio you’ll find buzzing with folks from all over any day of the week! The food is also quite good, so always a good place to grab a cocktail and small plate (primi) while waiting to get into a restaurant for dinner.