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38. Dinner in Trastevere

Updated: Mar 20

By www.romephotofuntours.com - Giulio D'Ercole

A visit to Rome without venturing in Trastevere and exploring its small streets and narrow alleys is like a good dinner with no dessert!

Booking the special tour "Photo shooting Your Roman Holidays", I will not only guide to the best places in town, but your memories photo album will include both professional shots and candid ones. The combination of the two will surely form a memorable collection to share with your loved ones and with your friends on your social media.

Trastevere is the one of the many perfect setting for our day together, not only because its a very lively neighborhood but also because its filled with very nice places bars and restaurants, plus it's one of the most characteristic areas in Rome, with a very long and interesting history: Trastevere is the 13th rione of Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin trans Tiberim, meaning literally "beyond the Tiber".

In Rome's Regal period (753–509 BC), the area across the Tiber belonged to the hostile Etruscans: the Romans named it Ripa Etrusca (Etruscan bank). Rome conquered it to gain control of and access to the river from both banks, but was not interested in building on that side of the river. In fact, the only connection between Trastevere and the rest of the city was a small wooden bridge called the Pons Sublicius (Latin: "bridge built on wooden piles").

By the time of the Republic c. 509 BC, the number of sailors and fishermen making a living from the river had increased, and many had taken up residence in Trastevere. Immigrants from the East also settled there, mainly Jews and Syrians. The area began to be considered part of the city under Augustus, who divided Rome into 14 regions (regiones in Latin); modern Trastevere was the XIV and was called Trans Tiberim.

Since the end of the Roman Republic the quarter was also the center of an important Jewish community, which inhabited there until the end of the Middle Ages.

With the wealth of the Imperial Age, several important figures decided to build their villae in Trastevere, including Clodia, (Catullus' "friend") and Julius Caesar (his garden villa, the Horti Caesaris). The regio included two of the most ancient churches in Rome, the Titulus Callixti, later called the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, and the Titulus Cecilae, Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

Nowadays, Trastevere maintains its character thanks to its narrow cobbled streets lined by ancient houses. At night, natives and tourists alike flock to its many pubs and restaurants, but much of the original character of Trastevere remains. The area is also home to several foreign academic institutions including The American University of Rome and John Cabot University (both of which are private American universities), the American Academy in Rome, the Rome campus of the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, the Canadian University of Waterloo School of Architecture (between the months of September and December), and the American Pratt Institute School of Architecture therefore serving as home to an international student body.

The neighborhood has attracted artists, foreign expats, and many famous people. Sergio Leone, the director of Spaghetti Westerns, grew up in Viale Glorioso (there is a marble plaque to his memory on the wall of the apartment building), and went to a Catholic private school in the neighborhood. Ennio Morricone, the film music composer, went to the same school, and for one year was in the same class as Sergio Leone.

Dinner in Trastevere

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All photographs by Giulio D'Ercole.

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