To my delight, I found myself once again in Trastevere on a warm evening in September. I had just arrived in Rome to meet up with This Is Your Time blog tour as one of the participants. We planed to celebrate our kick-off for ten days of traveling in bella Italia to explore some charming tucked away places.
Located on the west bank of the Tiber River and south of Vatican City, Trastevere has a spirited medieval old-town feel. Greenwich Village in New York came to mind as I slowly made my way through the tightly winding streets. Quaint, comfortable, charming, incredible nightlife….Trastevere is all of these and more.
Helena, one of the tour members who lives in Rome, picked me up at my room in Guesthouse Sant’Angelo. We followed the Tiber River south and found the tiniest parking spot imaginable. It was no problem for Helena. Like a pro, she backed her little Smart right into the curb. Since I had never parked like this before, I was entertained and impressed.
Bars, nightclubs, trattorias and pizzerias hummed with groups of people engaged in lively conversations. A golden glow brushed the cobbled streets and reflected off old brick and stucco walls. Aromas of savory food filled the air as soft guitar music could be faintly heard over the drone of voices.
Diners packed around outdoor tables for aperitif or dinner. There are so many excellent selections to choose from its difficult to go wrong. I’ve noticed that while enjoying the ambience at a table, the desire to linger only grows stronger.
Helena and I found the others on the stairs of a small fountain and headed for their favorite pizzeria.
We passed a couple of small bands strumming guitars and softly singing. Their presence brought a romantic mood to the festive atmosphere.
*Pizzeria Nerone was an excellent choice for delicious pizza and salad. Watch the one minute video by clicking on the name. You will see the immense and savory looking individual pizzas made for each person as well as how they make them.
To my amazement, I ate the whole thing! Except for the bread. It was as tasty as it appeared, however huge. Everyone at my table had a good laugh and took photos. The Chianti wine was a great addition.
After dinner, we took a stroll through the piazza and up to the 12th century Basilica di Santa Maria. The silhouette of the archways, as well as the statues in front of the mosaic of Mary and Jesus flanked by 10 women holding lamps was a beautiful sight.
I entered the portico and snapped a photo of the piazza through the iron rod gate, amazed at the two completely different atmospheres.
Gates to the entrance (not sure who the lady is)
Inside the portico, the walls are packed with sections of ancient marble with Latin inscriptions. These are pieces of marble found in archaeological digs from broken sarcophagi and loculi in the catacombs. There are several with Christian symbols such as a dove, olive branch, praising figure and crosses. The church was closed so we did not enter this time.
This piazza is a place where it is more fun to hang out in the dark than during the day. Although you are never alone, the mellow feel is very relaxing. The large fountain in the center provides seating on the steps.
We passed the trattoria Grazia & Graziella, surrounded by tables of things to buy from colorful scarves, jewelry, leather goods and little glowing objects that jet through the night sky.
Our evening ended later than we had intended. It is so easy to get swallowed up in Trastevere, and I never feel like I have had enough. The crumbling buildings with fading paint quickly become a welcome sight. Since it is so walkable from the city center, I bid my friends good night til the morning and slowly followed the Tiber River north to my comfortable little room by Castel Sant’Angelo. All was peaceful in the Eternal City.