You have hit the big tourist spots: Vatican, Coliseum, Trevi Fountain. Now what? I have the perfect answer: There is a little town in Rome, just outside the Vatican. It is a beautiful hidden gem with flea markets, beautiful churches, and spectacular food. Here you can get a taste for authentic Italian nightlife, just sit back and watch the street performers, while sharing a bottle of vino. Where is this magical place?…Trastevere!
I learned about Trastevere when researching good restaurants to eat in Italy. I can not eat gluten, and I wanted to plan out some specific places to go in case we had trouble finding food for me to eat. I thought I would have difficulty finding food in the land of pizza and pasta. Ironically, Italy is one of the most gluten-free friendly places to eat. But, more on that later…
Trastevere is just outside Vatican city. You can take a quick bus ride there.
We went there two nights in a row…once we took the bus from the Vatican and once we took the bus from our hotel, part of the way. Then, we walked across the Ponte Garibalidi. This is one of many BEAUTIFUL bridges that crosses the Tiber River. There are interesting markets and restaurants along this river, and it is a perfect place photos. It is truly a gorgeous sight, especially at twilight with St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.
The streets of Trastevere are very typical of what you would see in a movie set in Italy. There are beautiful row buildings, churches on every corner, and a town center with all kinds of entertainment.
We went on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday was not very busy and we went earlier in the night, so it was a good time to just explore. Italians do dinner later than Americans, so you will need to eat around 8pm or later if you want to get a real taste of the evening life, especially on Saturdays.
On Friday we ate at a DELICIOUS restaurant called Cucina Romana la Botte. I had read about this restaurant online before coming, and it lived up to its reviews. I got the most delicious gluten-free pasta and hubby had his most favorite pizza ever (which is saying a lot because he ate A TON of pizza in Italy). We ate outside because the weather is much cooler in the evenings in July. Right across from this restaurant is a town park where they show outdoor movies on the weekends. We watched from our dinner table. Such a picturesque night!
On Saturday nights, the town center is ablaze with activity. The town center is at the Piazza di Santa Maria, which is where the Basilica di Santa Maria is located. On Saturday nights, there are all kinds of artists and musicians performing in the streets. We got a seat at one of the restaurants in the Piazza and watched the shows, while drinking a bottle of wine and eating appetizers.
Then, we strolled to another restaurant, just a few doors down from the one we ate at on Friday. I honestly don’t remember the food very well (it’s Italy, so I’m sure it was good) or the name of this restaurant. However, I do remember the belly-aching laughter we had there, while my overly confident hubby tried to order his meal in “Italian”.
When he asked for a bottle of wine…he got another glass.
When he asked again for a bottle in another way, he got a bucket of ice.
When he asked for the check, he got limoncello!
Honestly, it was not that difficult to communicate in Italy, without knowing the language. My hubby was just unusually terrible at it, and it cracked us and waiter up! Such good memories on this trip.
Trastevere was my hubby and I’s favorite part of our trip to Rome. It was unexpected, authentic, and beautiful. If you are heading to Rome, make sure you go to Trastevere. You will not be disappointed!
Check out the rest of our time in Rome: