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Trastevere Secrets



Trastevere is a picturesque medieval area located on the west bank of the Tiber. You can reach the area from Campo dei Fiori walking over the pedestrian bridge, Ponte Sisto, and explore the tourist streets north of Viale Trastevere and the quieter lanes to the south. It is a lively area of town: walking along the labyrinth of alleys and lanes, among coffee shops, restaurants, pubs and clubs with live music, all brimming over with life is a unique and exciting experience.

Trastevere is Italian for the latin expression 'trans Tiberium' meaning 'beyond the Tiber.' There are 5 bridges that you can cross to trans the Tiberium and get to Trastevere, one of which takes you across to a ship-shaped island called Isola Tiberina, famous today for the Fatebenefratelli (literally - 'do well, brothers') hospital. This is hospital that has been open for business since medieval times. Curiously, in ancient times the island was dedicated to Esculapio, a pagan god of medicine.

Throughout the ages Trastevere has been home to different people and at one time to a Jewish community that eventually moved across the river and settled in an area known today as the Jewish Ghetto. Rich families such as the Farnese settled in amongst populace bringing wealth and giving the area a certain status.

The heart of modern Roman life where residents consider themselves the genuine 'Romani de Roma' (Romans of Rome), a title that, apparently, you can only boast if you are a 7 generation local. In Trastevere you can get a taste of the 'real' Rome, both culturally and 'culinarily' speaking, and it has evolved into the trendiest part of the capital whilst retaining much of the original spirit and architecture.

The center of Trastevere is Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, a pedestrianized square piazza lined with restaurants and bars, faded palazzi, and the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Tibertine Island

Ancient place of cult dedicated to Esculapio the God of the medicine, whose snake, was carried to Rome from Epidauro in order to vanquish a terrible plague in 293 b.C.. The snake slid from the boat, swam upstream, and made the island its home. As this was clearly a sign of divine intent a temple was built in honour of Esculapio. The island's shape suggests a ship and an obelisk was placed in the middle for a mast. To the Temple the first hospital of Rome was annexed, whose intense activity continues to our days.

The Tibertine Island is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The first one is Cestio Bridge raised in 46 b. C. by Lucio Sestio. It was rebuilt in the 19th century using the original stone. The second is Fabricio bridge, also known as the Bridge of "four heads " on account of the Hermes with four heads set at the far end. Built by Lucio Fabricio in 62 b.C. It has been preserved intact even if the periodic flood of the Tiber river caused many restorations; the smaller arch served as a passage for the water when the river was in flood. In the Middle Ages was known as "Bridge of the Jews " for its proximity to the Jewish Ghetto of Rome.

Villa Farnesina

Villa Farnesina is one of the most complete examples of Renaissance civil architecture. The idea of harmony and proportion finds its full realization in this building and in the decorations which enrich it.

Agostino Chigi from Siena became treasurer of Pope Julius II and he commissioned this elegant villa for his mistress. It was built about 1511. He was a patron of the arts and was surrounded by many artists amongst whom was Raphael who designed the Lodge frescoes with scenes inspired by the myth of Love and Psyche.The magnificent residence itself was allowed to fall into ruins by the Prince Chigi’s heirs. It then passed into the hands of the Farnese family and connected by a bridge across the Tiberto the huge Palazzo Farnese on the opposite bank. Later it was owned by the Bourbons of Naples and in 1861 by the Spanish Ambassador. Today the Italian State owns it.

•The Lodge of Galatea with the famous fresco of the “Triumph of Galatea”, a fresco which represents a nymph on a shell shaped chariot and was painted by Raphael

•The Lodge of Love and Psyche, painted by Raphael and his school

•The Frieze Room, decorated by Baldassare Peruzzi (Architect of the Villa)

•On the first floor there is the splendid Hall of Perspectives by Peruzzi

• Agostino Chigi's bedroom, painted by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (known as Sodoma), with stories of Alexander the Great.

The Department for Drawings and Prints

Housed in the Villa Farnesina is the National Collection of Prints and Drawings from the 15th to 19th centuries. The collection contains more than 150,000 prints and designs.

Among the more venerable works are the 18th century Pio collection, the Fuga Collection, and the Drusiani Collection, whose works include a large body of Tiepolo prints. One of the most important sketches on display is Leonardo da Vinci's “Study in draping” and G. L. Bernini's “Self-portrait”.


Palazzo Corsinisari

Palazzo Corsinisari, called the Cavalier d'Arpino.

Nearby the Villa Farnesina is the Palazzo Corsini. Built in the 15th century by the Riario, nephews of Sixtus IV, and passed in the 18th century to CardinalCorsini, nephew of Clement XII, who had it rebuilt by Ferdinando Fuga. It now houses an art gallery and the Accademia dei Lincei, a learned society of scholars and men of letters.





Trastevere & Hidden Rome

Santa Maria in Trastevere - founded in the 3rd Century AD and regarded as the oldest church in Rome

Santa Cecilia - featuring beautiful medieval mosaics and marble work and built over ancient Roman dwelling

Amedeo Bocchi’s huge canvas “In the Park” painted in vivid almost violent colors

Piazza Trilussa - Dedicated to one of Rome's most famous poets, Carlo Alberto Salustri (Trilussa being an anagram of Salustri).

Isola Tiberina - A ship-shaped island in the river Tiber home to the Fatebenefratelli hospital

Porta Portese - Location of Rome's most popular flea market

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Hidden Room

Become a PhotoSleuths©

Bring your walking shoes and be prepared to discover the mysteries of the city. Bring your camera and learn how to have more fun with it.

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125€ pp

Trastevere Roman Sign

Private Tour

From Piazza Venezia, true beating heart of the town, we go towards the nearby Piazza del Gesù, historical head-quarter of the Jesuits, where our guide will show you the church "Il Gesù", prototype of the main Jesuit churches in the world.

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Trastevere - the other side of the river

Duration 3hrs

From Piazza Venezia, true beating heart of the town, we go towards the nearby Piazza del Gesù, historical head-quarter of the Jesuits, where our guide will show you the church "Il Gesù", prototype of the main Jesuit churches in the world. The majesty of its interior is meant to smother any heretical instinct and to state firmly the supremacy of Christian religion. Over passing Via Celsa we reach Via delle Botteghe Oscure, that takes its name from the shops which were inside the ruins of Balbo's theatre in the Middle Ages. We cross Via Caetani, sadly noted because here in 1978 it was found the corpse of the statesman Aldo Moro abducted by the Brigate Rosse. We enter the Mattei di Giove Palace, built by order of the Mattei family; the courtyard houses an exhibition of ancient relieve sand Roman busts, result of the deep interests of the family for antiques.

In the following stop, at Piazza Mattei you have the chance to have a sip of limpid water from the Turtles Fountain, one of the most beautiful fountains of Rome, designed by Giacomo della Porta, great fountain-maker of the papal Rome; the turtles were added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Crossing the narrow streets leading to the ancient Jewish Ghetto we will appreciate the charm of a town quite foreign to the bustle of a capital city. Pope Paul IV had the area enclosed within a wall, considering inconvenient for the Christian to live in such a close contact with the Jews,thus creating the Roman Ghetto. Via della Reginella is the only spot of the Ghetto perfectly preserved. Noteworthy is the house of Lorenzo Manili facing on Piazza Giudia,whose façade was splendidly decorated in the Renaissance.

The visit of the Ghetto continues towards the Portico of Octavia, site of the fish market. Of great interest is the Theatre of Marcellus, one of the biggest and best preserved theatres of Ancient Rome, the church of St Angelo in Pescheria and the Synagogue, built in 1907.

The guide then will take you to one of the most enchanting places of Rome, the Tiber Island, whose origins are linked to the very origins of the town. Crossing the bridges of the island we reach the medieval district of Trastevere, where we will see the ruins of the most ancient synagogue of Europe. We proceed to Sta Cecilia one of the most beautiful basilicas in Trastevere with the delicate statue of St. Cecilia by Maderno. We finish our tour reaching the enchanting square of S.ta Maria in Trastevere where you will admire another finest example of Mosaic art in Rome.

Trastevere Roman Sign

Scheduled Tour

From Piazza Venezia, true beating heart of the town, we go towards the nearby Piazza del Gesù, historical head-quarter of the Jesuits, where our guide will show you the church "Il Gesù", prototype of the main Jesuit churches in the world.

more details

$36 pp

Trastevere and Rome's Jewish Ghetto Half-Day Walking Tour

Duration: 3hrs

Cost: $36.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guide use the above Inquiry Form

Escape Rome's crowds to explore parts of the historic center that most tourists don't get to visit. You'll enjoy a leisurely stroll through the fascinating Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere area, Rome’s more traditional districts, accompanied by your knowledgeable guide.

Your guided tour of Rome's little-known jewels Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto starts at Largo Argentina and the Senate House, where Julius Caesar was murdered. Your tour concludes three hours later at lovely Campo de'Fiori, the site of executions during the Inquisition and today one of Rome's liveliest piazzas.

On this entertaining and enlightening walking tour you will get a chance to see parts of the ancient city hidden below the modern street level. Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day, so you'll see other periods in between, from Medieval to Renaissance and Baroque.

Your Rome-ophile guide will share their enthusiasm for these hidden parts of the city, entertaining you with the legends and secrets of Rome's most authentic neighborhoods and their cafés, synagogues and churches. You'll broaden your experience of Rome with a visit to areas most tourists don’t visit, and be able to ask questions right on the spot about their history and significance.

Trastevere Reservation Form

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