Trastevere is often considered to be the beating heart of Rome, and it’s easy to see why. This area is a traditional Roman area filled with small artisan workshops, restaurants offering authentic Roman fare and small cobbled lanes, made with bricks known locally (and much hated by Romans!) as ‘sampietrini’. Passing through the area offers the chance to visit the Santa Maria in Trastevere church, and by continuing along Via della Paglia, you will reach the slopes of Gianicolo, home to the church San Pietro in Montorio. A little further up past the Fontanone (loved by Romans after Venditti’s songs), you will find the stunning panoramic view Gianicolo offers, as well as a monument of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
From these three vantage points, it is possible to see the entire historic centre of Rome. Head to one at sunset, and in Venditti’s words “the moon sees itself in the fontanone.”. After the uphill walk, by returning to the Fontanone you can take the steps of Porta San Pancrazio, which will, in the blink of eye, bring you back into Trastevere. These downhill steps bring you to Vicolo della Frusta, from where vicolo de’Cinque and piazza Trilussa, two famous areas for Roman nightlife are within easy reach. Remaining on via Garibaldi will bring you to the botanical gardens.
From piazza Trilussa take via della Renella until you arrive at viale Trastevere. Continue along the riverside and from there cross the river (enjoying the views of Isola Tiberina on one side and the dome of Saint Peters on the other) heading in the direction of Circus Maximus. Having passed a couple of temples you will arrive at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin where it is worth stopping to put your hand in the Mouth of Truth.
ehind the church, you will find Circus Maximus, which even today, remains the largest stadium in the world. It is said to have once held 300,000 people! Today, after so many concerts and demonstrations over the years, little remains. Head towards the Aventino and you will find the Roseto Comunale (during the blooming season, the many types of roses on display give a unique splash of colour to the entire area). Past this, you will reach the Garden of Oranges, a beautiful terrace providing a wonderful view of Rome’s skyline. It is on this romantic terrace that nearly all newlyweds (including me) are photographed to provide the perfect memento of their unforgettable day.
On the same road as this garden you find the churches S. Sabina, Ss. Alessio and Bonifacio and S. Anselmo. However, the real hidden gem is to be found by looking through the keyhole of the gate of the Maltese knights, where a surprise awaits. What looks to be a keyhole in fact gives the effect of a giant telescope, from where you can clearly see the dome of Saint Peters (A view which is even more spectacular at night when the dome is illuminated!).