The residents of
Trastevere speak of themselves as Noiantri
tradition celebrated every July with an all-night
feast, but in fact it is among the most welcoming
of Roman neighbourhoods, filled with
cafés, restaurants, and shops.
its twisting backstreets
rich with the scent of home cooking. From
Piazza Belli, take the second street to the
right, V. Della Lungaretta, to the
Piazza di S. Maria in Trastevere,
the liveliest part
of the district and its undisputed heart.
Local families chase
their toddlers around the graceful fountain
in the center of the square, while tourists
gape at the incomparable 12th-c. Byzantine
mosaic facade of the Church of St. Maria,
depicting Mary with the suckling infant Jesus,
flanked by 10 young women carrying oil lamps,
The interior is equally dazzling.
after visiting the church to explore nearby
streets, then follow v. dI S.
(to the right of the fountain) out of the
piazza to V. di S. Francesco a Ripa.
Turn left; the street
cuts diagonally across the district to Piazza
di S. Francesco d Assisi and the church
of St. Francesco a Ripa , where you
can visit S. Francis's cell. Follow V.
Anicia out of the piazza to V. Della Madonna
dell'Orto, right to V. di S. Michele, and left
to Piazza dei Mercanti and the Church of
St. Cecilia .
From here, follow
the map back to Piazza G. Belli by way
of tiny Piazza Piscinula.
Trastevere is a
picturesque medieval area located on the west
bank of the Tiber. The area escaped the
grand developments which changed the face of
central Rome, and is a charming place to wander,
eat or relax.
Isola Tiberina and Cloaca Maxima
and Cloaca Maxima
Tucked into the widest
bend of the Tiber, and accessible
from the Ghetto by Ponte Fabricio
, Rome's oldest surviving bridge,
is the picturesque Isola
Felicitously shaped like a boat, the
tiny island inspired ancient Romans
to embellish it as one, with a stone
"prow" and "stern" and an obelisk
in the center as a "mast." Legend holds
that during the plague of 291 B.C.,
a delegation was sent to Greece for
a statue of Aesculapius, the
god of healing, whose intervention it
was hoped would end the siege. As the
ship carrying the statue approached,
a huge snake, Aesculapius's symbol,
was seen swimming from the ship to the
island, a sign that a temple should
be built there.
The original had
wide porticos, beneath which the sick
slept in hopes of a cure. In the 10th
c. it was replaced by a church, long
known as St. Bartholomew's for
the relics of the saint it holds inside
a beautiful red porphyry tub beneath
the main altar.
A medieval hospice
has since been supplanted by the hospital
of the Fate bene fratelli ("brothers
who do good works"), toward which a
steady stream of visitors heads bearing
Before leaving, descend
the stairs on the far side, where
Ponte Cestio links the island
to Trastevere, and enjoy a quiet
stroll around the island, stopping at
the south end for a look at the Cloaca
Maxima where it feeds into