Start your day in Rome away from the crowds
As soon as the sun starts to set, hordes of tourists and locals flock into the narrow streets on the west bank of the Tiber. At night, Rome’s hype neighbourhood Trastevere turns into a tangle of pubs, bars, restaurants and open-air wineries.
In the morning, however, the empty streets of Trastevere offer a welcome break from squishing through the numerous tourist groups in Centro Storico.
Begin with a glamorous view
Once you crossed to Trastevere, make your way up, away from the river to the Gianicolo (Janiculum) hill. After a short uphill walk and a couple of stairs, you’ll reach the Parco del Gianicolo. Follow the walkway Passegiata del Gianicolo along the park. Soon enough, you’ll have a stunning view over the eternal city reaching from the Vatican to Roman Forum. With right conditions, you can even see the hills of the Apennines.
Continue a little further up the road to Terrazza del Gianicolo. The walk will take you back to Italy’s revolutionary history of the 19th century.
The piazza at the top of the hill is dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the fathers of Italian independence and unification movement.
Enjoy the charming streets
Once you soaked up the view and paid respect to Italy’s most famous general, head back down towards Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Pass by Fontana dell’Aqua Paola and continue through lovely streets full of ancient houses with colourful facades.
Don’t forget the obligatory caffè stop now and then. The best thing is, you’ll have some streets almost entirely to yourself. Watch the city waking up, chat with friendly Romans and let the time pass by, without continually running into organised tourist groups.
Admire ancient mosaics in one of Rome’s oldest church
An art vendor in one of Rome’s enchanting galleries gave us a valuable tip.
“Every time you see a church in Rome, get in.
Every single one is a museum full of antique treasures.”
He couldn’t have been more right. The Basilica di Santa Maria di Trastevere dates back to the early 3rd century. It is the oldest church dedicated to Virgin Mary in Rome.
The 12th-century golden mosaics are a real eye-catcher. Illuminated by numerous candles, the church has an almost mystic atmosphere.
And again, in the morning, you may find yourself being the only visitor to this Trastevere jewel.
Head towards the river for lunch
If the walk made your stomach empty, continue through Trastevere’s streets until you reach the Tiber again. You can pick one of the many restaurants around Piazza Trilussa. We particularly enjoyed our meal in a typical Roman trattoria Taverna Trilussa.
If you plan to return to Trastevere in the evening, have lunch on the other side of the river and explore the remains of the Roman Jewish ghetto with a 300-year old tradition along Via del Portico d´Ottavia. Use the Ponte Cestio bridge to cross the river and make a photo stop at the Tiber island.
On the other side of the Tiber, many traditional Jewish-Roman trattorias serve delicious kosher food. Our pasta dishes at Nonna Betta ware exquisite.
Useful tip: For dinner in Trastevere, book a table in advance. Especially on weekends, the restaurants are full.
Form Via del Portico d`Ottavia, it’s only a 10-minutes’ walk to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. After a relaxing morning, you can indulge yourself in some “hard-core” sightseeing activities.
Skip the crowds and enjoy a lovely morning in the charming streets of Trastevere. Be sure to turn back in the evening for a fantastic nightlife scene.