With a population of over 2.5 million, covering 1300km2 and hosting between 7 and 10 million tourists a year, Rome is the third most visited city in the EU. With its sheer size it’s an overwhelming city to narrow down where to stay in! After hours of trawling the internet we decided on the neighbourhood of Trastevere. A decision we were thankful for every day!
We chose the area based on its location, the nightlife and its general affordability in a city renowned for being pricey!
Trastevere, an old working class neighbourhood, is on the west bank of the Tiber and removed from the hustle and bustle of central Rome. We were lucky enough to stay on Via del Moro, one of the main roads of the neighbourhood. We were barely two minutes away from the Ponte Sisto foot bridge which will take you across the Tiber and towards the sights everybody comes to see!
A lot of information online discusses Rome’s public transport system and sings the praises of the 3 day passes. Thanks to our location (and some stubbornness) we didn’t take public transport and opted to walk everywhere. With a little planning it’s more than possible. We mapped out the main attractions we wanted to visit and grouped them together based on location. No walk was longer than 30 minutes in any direction, and it’s generally pretty flat – so very manageable. All the walking also made it easy to justify more gelato!
The neighbourhood is still a big one though, so you’ll need to take note of which area you’re booking in. As first time visitors that don’t mind walking, our location at the start of Via del Moro was perfect. However for someone who will be taking public transport or likes some more luxury, there are plenty of hotels a little further out that we looked into.
Home to many small trattorias, wine bars and squares, Trastevere is a favourite of locals and tourists alike. During the day foot traffic is generally headed out of Trastevere and towards central Rome, as the sun sets the tide turns. Shutters are opened, tables put out and roller doors lifted to bring Trastevere to life.
Dining options are plentiful, with hundreds of options to choose from. Most places seemed to be serving good quality food, so its as easy as just picking somewhere that you like the vibe of. The age of the neighbourhood is a double edged sword. It allows the area to maintain its charm, but also means that the bars are tiny and outdoor seating very limited. When we visited the temperature barely dropped below 30 at night so drinking in close quarters wasn’t pleasant! Each evening we opted to have a drink or two with our meal and then as it got a little busier grab our drinks takeaway.
We spent hours just aimlessly wandering the narrow alleyways chatting and people watching. Most locals seemed to have a similar attitude to us, congregating on the steps of the fountains that feature in each of the squares.
Eating out for 3 meals a day gets exhausting, so for a quiet meal at home there are also takeaway places that do fresh Italian food. Be sure to head to try Suppli if you can. They’re a specialty of Rome and deserve all the praise they get!
Trastevere won’t have you dancing till the sun comes up or listening to top european DJ’s, but its a great spot for a more casual night out in Rome.
We rarely base ourselves far from the centre of the cities that we visit as transportation just gives you something else to have to worry about. Although it often means that dining and drinking also become exponentially more expensive. Luckily this wasn’t the case in Trastevere.
Accomodation is middle of the road, with plenty of options for every budget. There are huge numbers of Air BnBs but also hostels and hotels too. We spent about €100 per night for our studio apartment.
Prices were very reasonable everywhere we went. As a hotspot for nightlife the bars often have happy hours to take advantage of too! Our favourite was the €3.50 cocktails at Mr Brown and the €2.50 660ml takeaway beers from Pizza Trilussa.
Where you stay can really make or break a trip. In this case our home base couldn’t have been better!