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An Insider’s Guide to Rome’s Trastevere Neighborhood

written by Dajana 1. February 2019
An Insider’s Guide to Rome’s Trastevere Neighborhood

Trastevere is where you’ll fall in love with Rome! This charming medieval neighborhood looks like the Eternal City you know from movies and pictures. If you have visited the Colosseum, have thrown some coins into the Trevi Fountain, checked out Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori, then it’s time to take a walk across the Tiber river to Trastevere. Check out this guide to find your way through the crowded streets to some of the best bars, restaurants and taverns!

Labyrinthine streets in one of Rome’s most picturesque parts

All roads lead to Rome, they say. And many roads in Rome lead to the Trastevere neighborhood. After a morning at Campo de’ Fiori, simply stroll through Via dei Pettinari leading you to the stone footbridge, Ponte Sisto, to reach Piazza Trilussa in the heart of Trastevere. Stroll through the Jewish Ghetto to Rome’s oldest bridge, Pons Fabricius, to cross the Tiber Island or simply follow the tramline from Largo Argentina to Ponte Garibaldi. Once you cross the bridge you’ll be ready for some action – or let’s be more realistic: for food and drinks!

It’s a Roman real life theme park

Today, the Trastevere quarter feels a bit like a real life theme park. It is a quirky mix of vibrant nightlife, artisan workshops, colorful markets, hidden little streets and Renaissance villas and not to mention the numerous tourists crowding the alleys daily and all year long. Nevertheless, Trastevere still has this bohemian spirit! Getting lost in its labyrinthine streets is one of the best thing to do in Rome.

The neighborhood is split into two halves by Viale Trastevere. Both halves have a distinct character: locals and tourists usually mingle around the crowded yet picturesque streets around Basilica Santa Maria in Trastevere where you’ll find numerous restaurants, bars and artisan shops. Once you cross Viale Trastevere, you’ll discover a less crowded and quieter neighborhood where you’ll feel the Roman spirit in every corner and find some traditional taverns.

Looking for some snacks?

What I love so much about Italy? It is all about food. Awesome food made with great ingredients. And you know what’s so great about Rome? Some of the city’s finest dishes are actually meant to be savored on-the-go, a little messy, and simply delicious. Rome has a lot of great street food to offer and some of the best addresses can be found in Trastevere. 

1. La Boccaccia

Via di Santa Dorotea 2, open Monday – Sunday from 10am to 00:30am

Italians are madly in love with pizza. So am I, and so are probably you, too. Everyone knows the most commonly found pizza tonda (“round pizza”), but if you happen to be in Rome, I highly recommend you to have a pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice) for a quick lunch on-the-go or as a snack in between. Try the pizza at La Boccaccia: this little jewel is easily overlooked but is the perfect spot for a short break during the day or in the evening. My recommendation: Choose a good slice of pizza al taglio with a topping you will for sure like. Additionally get a small piece with a topping you maybe never tried before. Try pancetta with radicchio or salsiccia with cime di rapa, a typical Roman green vegetable. Enjoy and thank me later!

2. Supplì

Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137, open Monday – Saturday from 10am – 10pm

Did you already come across the so called “supplì”? These seasoned rice balls laced with ragù, stuffed with mozzarella, breaded and deep-fried are among the most authentically Roman street foods. And what if you name an eatery after this typical Roman dish? Well, then the supplì better be good: try your supplì at Supplì Roma, an eatery in Trastevere that was opened in the end of the 1970’s. Go for the supplì classico or choose some of their other variations like supplì all’amatriciana or cacio e pepe.

3. Trapizzino Trilussa

Piazza Trilussa 46, open Monday – Sunday from 10am to 1am 

Trapizzino has taken the street food in Rome to another level: 10 years ago, trapizzino inventor, chef Stefano Callegari, deconstructed Italy’s most conventional food: pizza! He baked pizza bread pockets and started stuffing them with ingredients no one can resist! Try a trapizzino stuffed with typical Roman ingredients like polpette al sugo, parmigiana, broccoli and salsiccia or ragù for a hearty snack. Believe me: you won’t be able to live without it anymore!

Where to enjoy authentic Roman cuisine

You’ll find dozens of restaurants around Trastevere and you might get a proper plate of pasta in many of them. But believe me, there are huge differences in quality of food, atmosphere and price! When in Trastevere, check out some of these taverns and restaurants if you want to be on the safe foodie-side. Been there, ate that!

1. Bir&Fud Duepuntozero 

Via Benedetta 23, open Monday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday from noon to 2am, Tuesday and Wednesday from 6pm – 2am 

Only a few meters from Piazza Trilussa, you’ll find Bir&Fud, a restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Italian dishes as well as fresh pizza while sipping on one of the beers from their outstanding collection of craft beer from Italian brewers. Remember that Italians usually enjoy their pizza with a nice cold beer! Tables at Bir&Fud can’t be booked; walk-in guests are very welcome. After dinner you can grab another beer at Trastevere’s famous craft beer spot Ma che siete venutì a fà.

2. Da Enzo al 29 

Via dei Vascellari 29, open Monday – Saturday from 12:30 to 3pm and from 7:30pm to 11 pm, only bookings for 7:30pm are accepted (phone: +39 06 58 12 260) 

The menu at Da Enzo al 29 is quite simple and includes Roman specialties only. This family run business is located only a few minutes walking from Ponte Cestio, the bridge that leads to the Tiber Island, in the quiet half of Trastevere. Make sure to book a table if you’re going there for dinner! This restaurant is included in almost every single Rome Food Guide and therefore always pretty well booked. Start your dinner with fried artichokes and stuffed zucchini flowers, followed by pasta of your choice. Ask the waiters about the dish of the day. Remember that the pasta portions here are bigger than usual ones, so make sure to leave some space for dessert. My recommendation: try the tiramisù di Enzo or the mousse al mascarpone with wood strawberries.

3. Locanda Tonnarello

Via della Paglia 1, open from Monday – Sunday from 8am – 1am

You can never go wrong with Tonnarello in Trastevere that was founded in 1876! This traditional tavern is situated in the heart of Trastevere, the recipes are passed down from generation to generation and the tonnarelli – a type of pasta similar to spaghetti but made with eggs and a bit thicker – are prepared fresh every morning. Trust the locals who come to this place: from the starters to the main courses and the desserts, you simply can’t go wrong with any of your choice at Tonnarello.

4. Osteria Cacio & Pepe

Vicolo del Cinque 15, open from Monday – Friday from 7pm – midnight, Saturday – Sunday from 12:30pm to midnight 

You can’t leave Rome without having eaten a typical Roman pasta cacio e pepe! This dish is prepared with three simple ingredients: high-quality pasta, pecorino cheese and a lot of pepper. When in Trastevere, head to Osteria Cacio & Pepe, order their signature dish and enjoy it with a good glass of red house wine. This osteria is small but cozy, prices are very good and the staff is friendly. Book a table or simply walk-in. One of my all-time favorites!

5. Peppo al Cosimato

Via Natale del Grande 9, open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12 – 3:30pm & 6:30pm – 00:30am

This osteria-pizzeria is definitely still an insider tip in Trastevere: Peppo al Cosimato opened in June 2018 and offers affordable fish dishes and deep-crust Neapolitan-style pizza, home-baked bread and fried goods. “Peppo” stands for “Pizza e Pesce Povero” which literally means “Pizza and poor fish”, with “poor fish” standing for often smaller but very flavorful fish of which you’ll often find elements in many Roman dishes. Chef Emiliano Squiglia is using fresh fish and high-quality ingredients for his creations. Try the spaghetti with butter, anchovies and crunchy peppers, or the fresh pizza that tastes like pizza in Naples. Dessert here might also be a bit different than in other restaurants! Make sure to leave some space for a slice of fresh homemade bread with butter and jam. Great food, friendly service and a must-eat spot in Trastevere away from all the tourists.

6. Pizzeria Ai Marmi 

Viale di Trastevere 53, open Monday – Tuesday from 6:30pm – 2:20am, Thursday to Sunday from 6:30pm – 2:20am

Do you know the difference between pizza in Naples and the one in Rome? I like both of them, but prefer the thinner pizza crust of a typical Roman pizza. And this is exactly what you can get at Pizzeria Ai Marmi in Viale di Trastevere. Delicious, fresh pizza is served here in a down to earth setting. This pizzeria is open until late, frequented by locals, prices are reasonable and service is great. Don’t run away if there should be a line in front of the restaurant! Wait for a few minutes until you get seated. It’s definitely worth it!

Up for a drink or two?

Trastevere has a vibrant nightlife and you’ll find bars filled with locals and tourists around every corner. From wineries, cocktail bars and bars specialized in craft beers – there’s the perfect spot for everyone in Trastevere. Here are some of my favorites the locals also approve.  

1. Bar San Callisto 

Piazza di San Callisto 3, open Monday to Saturday from 5:30am – 1:30am

Situated just around the corner from Trastevere’s main square, Bar San Callisto is a local icon, a great place to meet up with friends to drink possibly the cheapest beer in Rome. Don’t expect a chic bar! Better be ready for authentic 70’s atmosphere in a bar that is one of Rome’s popular bohemian hot spots. You’ll immediately notice that this is the place where real Romans hang out.

Insider tip: Do not expect table service. Head inside and first pay for your drinks at the cash register. Then take your receipt to the bar and order your drinks.

2. Freni e Frizioni

Via del Politeama 4, open Monday – Sunday from 6:30pm to 2am

What used to be a mechanic shop is now one of the most popular bars in Trastevere! Situated only one minute from Piazza Trilussa, Freni e Frizioni is a hip cocktail bar that spills out into its piazza and offers great cocktails and aperitivo (a buffet of early evening snacks). This is the place where the hip locals hang out in the evening. Come here for a drink and snacks in the early evening or join the crowd later for some great cocktails.

3. Ma che siete venuti a fà

Via Benedetta 25, open every day from 11am to 2am 

The bar is named after a football chant, which translates as “What did you come here for?”. There’s definitely only one correct answer: Beer! Great beer! And you can get it at Ma che siete venuti a fà, one of the city’s most famous beer bars! The location is tiny but flows into the street where locals and tourists usually mingle around and chat. If you want to try some excellent beer from Italy and beyond make sure to come here!

4. Pimm’s Good

Via di Santa Dorotea 8, open Monday to Sunday from 10am – midnight  

If you are looking for a hip yet stylish cocktail bar and restaurant, check out Pimm’s Good. They serve English breakfast, lunch and dinner and turn into a hip cocktail bar in the evening. Great for a break in the afternoon, dinner and drinks in the evening in a stylish, British styled ambience. Pimm’s Good is only about one minute away from Piazza Trilussa!

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