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Trastevere is Rome’s most laid back and pedestrian neighborhood. The past comes alive around every corner, its narrow streets yield to major squares, ancient buildings and wonderful people watching at the cafe’s, restaurants, barber shops and churches.
There are many ways to reach Trastevere, since it is located fifteen minutes walking South from the Vatican. Fifteen minutes walking West from the Colosseum. It sits just alongside the Tiber River which is an easy landmark to reach from almost any point in Rome.
In front of Trastevere and in the middle of the river is located Isola Tiberina with the amazing Basilica of San Bartolomeo and one of my favorite restaurants in Rome: Sor Lela, it is a completely unknown for tourists serving unpretentious meals with excellent quality and great flavor, it is an small restaurant and even when it is is not popular among foreigners it may be hard to get a table so it is a good idea to book ahead.
Trastevere is packed with all kinds of restaurants, there several excellent dining venues, but there are as well many tourist traps. Another recommendation for a simple good meal is La Fraschetta in Via San Francesco a Ripa. Those looking for a more relaxed experience will enjoy one of the many little wine and whisky bars with the great italian ambiance serving excellent drinks.
The main square is the focal point of the neighborhood, every night it is packed with visitors, painters and musicians. There are several Gelaterias around to eat the famous -and sometimes overrated- Italian gelatto. In front of the Square is located the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, this is one of the oldest Christian churches in the city of Rome and indeed one of the most beautiful, the mosaics and paintings that decorate the interior are gorgeous. Just steps away is located another historical gem: the Church of Santa Cecilia.
Another place not to miss is the famous Ponte Sisto commissioned by the same Pope who ordered the construction of the Sistine chapel and its famous because it was built with a tax levied on prostitution.
There are some little hotels and bed and breakfasts inside the limits of the old town and many prefer to spend in this neighborhood more than just some hours, in fact Trastevere is now home to many international artists and expatriates who have been infected by the magical atmosphere. Trastevere is a place to enjoy at a walking, wandering pace. It is beautiful during the day and even more so it is quiet and peaceful at night.