Located on the west bank of the Tiber, Trastevere literally translates to “across the Tiber.” An eclectic, culturally diverse and close-knit district, Trastevere is a favorite of Romans and study abroad students alike. The neighborhood’s cobblestone streets are reminiscent of the medieval era, while its many shops, cafes and restaurants are a testament to its youthful charm.
Trastevere Was Originally an Immigrant Settlement
In the Regal period (753-509 B.C.) the land west of the Tiber actually belonged to the Etruscans, and was only captured by Rome after a battle between the two civilizations. Because the Romans were only interested in the Tiber for trade purposes, the land across the river was left for citizens to develop themselves. Fishermen, sailors, and immigrants built the Trastevere district from the ground up, making it the culturally rich and diverse neighborhood it is today.
Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
The heart of Trastevere is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, a lovely square that is a favorite location for street musicians. The 12th century church that gives its name to the piazza is one of Rome’s oldest and features glittering mosaics by Pietro Cavallini.