Rome is beautiful amazing city full of interesting things to see and a thousand tours to take. But one of my favorite parts of our visit there was discovering the area known as Trastevere – the neighborhood on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican city.
Perhaps because it is across the river from the area of the city with most of the famous sights and tourist hordes, it felt like a much more authentic environment somehow. There were students, workers, small cafes and hole-in-the-wall bars with locals having beers and little merchants and shops that didn’t cater to tourists. It felt like we had found “real” Rome, instead of “tourist Rome.”
We went back several times during our time in Rome. We spent a fun evening eating REAL (read: amazing!) Italian pizza, drinking German beer, and enjoying the balmy summer weather with our friends who live in the city. We wandered back another afternoon after one too many tours, and split a bottle of wine and watched people stroll by.
We found a charming little bookstore there and I uncovered a true gem of a souvenir – a book of hand-drawn records of papal coast of arms through the centuries. I even got the fun of haggling with the old woman who owns the shop!
I found a news stand that sold a pin-up calendar of hot Catholic priests (you cannot make this stuff up)! All in all, it was my favorite neighborhood in the city.
Here are a couple of pictures of Trastevere: