Unusual Trastevere: the hidden soul of one of the symbolic districts of Rome
There is a place that cannot be missed if you pass through Rome: Trastevere. A district of simple and popular origins, already linked in ancient times to the activities of the merchants who worked near the Tiber, today Trastevere is often the icon of the nightlife. But our advice is to come during the day, even better if midweek. When the neighborhood is stripped of its dancing spirit and, in alleys that seem asleep, you can still breathe a little of its original soul. Trastevere is not only the famous Piazza Trilussa. Trastevere are its silences, the glimpses from which you can peep the Janiculum hill, its narrow streets with old bars and trattorias that still keep their historic signs. In the district you will find low buildings with warm colors on which creepers may grow quietly, also linking as a bridge between one building and another, along with well-kept vintage cars parked around the corner. And in some place like in Piazza San Calisto, you will perhaps meet the old Roman people of the area who spend the afternoons of the milder seasons playing cards.
Unusual itinerary in Trastevere: from Ponte Palatino to San Francesco a Ripa
A whole day will be enough to go through an unusual itinerary in Trastevere, but once you get in touch with the spirit of the neighborhood, you will always want to come back. For a “different” walk, start from the Palatine Bridge and walk along via dei Vascellari. Continue to the intersection with via dei Salumi: here, if you are lucky, during the day you may find the small church of Sant’Andrea de Scaphis open. Today deconsecrated, it was taken over by a foreign artist who exhibits, in turn, works of contemporary art. In this period, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the church can be visited by appointment. Although small, its settings and its “suis generis” atmosphere will make you forget, for a moment, that you are in the center of Rome. Along the way you will find the Basilica of Santa Cecilia then. Our unusual itinerary for Trastevere continues in one of its most elegant and in some ways less frequented corners: San Francesco a Ripa. In the square of the same name, do not miss the Baroque church dedicated to St. Francis, where works such as the Ecstasy of the Blessed Ludovica by Bernini and a chapel signed by De Chirico are preserved. During the day the area is the realm of old shops and small antique dealers. But already with the lights of the sunset, the lights of bars and restaurants will begin to turn on. Have a break to admire the palaces among the narrow alleys, adorned with ivy and flowered balconies.
Towards the heart of Trastevere: piazza San Cosimato and surroundings
The itinerary continues crossing Viale Trastevere, towards Piazza San Cosimato. Heart of the daytime life of the neighborhood, also due to the presence of the local market, in the evening the square turns into a meeting place, thanks to the nearby bars. During the summer evenings, you can attend the open-air festival "Il Cinema in Piazza": every year the guys from the “Vecchio Cinema America” (a stone's throw from there) give life to a free review, with showings of old and new films. Continue towards Piazza di San Calisto where, in addition to tourists, you can observe a cross section of life in Trastevere. In the close proximity, in via della Cisterna, stop and take a look at the “Fontana della Botte”. This work is part of the 7 local fountains which in 1927 were built by the architect Lombardi upon Municipality of Rome's request. Each of the 7 fountains had to represent, with symbolism and iconography, the spirit of the district where it would be located in. And here in Trastevere, the “Fontana della Botte” is intended to recall the wine trade that had developed since ancient times due to the presence of taverns and trattorias. We continue passing through what is considered the center of Trastevere par excellence: Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Our itinerary, however, does not stop at the church of the same name, albeit beautiful, but continues behind it towards Piazza Sant’Egidio and then via della Scala.
The Trastevere you don't expect: the Antica Spezieria di Santa Maria della Scala and the Botanical Garden
Here we propose a break at the Antica Spezieria di Santa Maria della Scala, which can be visited by booking via email. The visit lasts about an hour and is very interesting. In fact, in the Ancient Apothecary, the recipe books are perfectly preserved but also the wooden furniture and the laboratories of the time where medicines were made. If initially it arose due to the need of the friars who cultivated medicinal herbs, already in the seventeenth century it became so famous that it was nicknamed "The Pharmacy of the Popes". The last stop on our itinerary to discover Trastevere is the Botanical Garden. Accessible without reservation, it can be visited in full compliance with all the safety regulations required by the COVID-19 emergency and is a real world apart. In the heart of Trastevere, you are immersed in the greenery and silence at the foot of the Janiculum Hill. The visit, suitable for adults and children, takes place along a path where you will find plants of the Mediterranean scrub, flowers of all kinds and tropical plants. Don't miss a ride in the beautiful bamboo forest and greenhouses.
Our unusual itinerary for Trastevere ends in this magical corner, but our advice is to literally get lost in the alleys of the district. Walk following your instinct and the scents of the trattorias: you will find corners where you will be alone with the charm that only in this area of Rome you can breathe.
This Must Be The Trip wrote for us