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Spending 3 days in Rome completely made me fall in love with the City. The architecture really is some of the best and most beautiful in the world. The iconic sites, although busy are more incredible in real life than they are in photos and the history really is on another level.
However, after 2 days of seeing the best places to visit in Rome, I felt like I needed to see a side of Rome that wasn’t so touristy. I wanted to get under the skin of Rome a bit more, so on my last day I visited Trastevere and with the help of the New Marco Polo Rome Guide I explored a greener and quieter side of Rome which included Trastevere, Gianicolo Hill and the River Tiber. Despite the rain (apologies in advance for the grey photos), I had such a good time and I’m so glad that I ventured over the river into this area of Rome.
On a nice day this walk would be absolutely stunning and the perfect way to spend a quieter, few hours in Rome. This is how I did the walk around Trastevere, Gianicolo Hill and the River Tiber in Rome including what to do in Trastevere, and I would really recommend you follow the same route too if you want to see a Greener and Quieter Side of Rome!
What To Do in Trastevere
How to get to Trastevere?
I took the bus from my Hostel – The RomeHello (you can read my review of the hostel here, hint- it’s amazing!) to the Piazza Sonnino. The bus system in Rome is actually really easy. I used google maps to help me find the bus stop and which bus I needed to get.
The only thing that’s worth noting is that a metro card/bus ticket needs to be bought in advance at a newsagent’s or tobacco store and validated once on the bus.
What to do in Trastevere.
The guide advises that the walk takes a minimum of 1.5 hours which is pretty much what I did it in as I was keen to get back to Trastevere and jump inside a dry and warm restaurant for some yummy food, however if you’re walking slowly and stopping to enjoy the views on a nice day it could easily take 3-4 hours so it’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon in Rome.
Piazza Sonnino was a great point to start when wondering what to do in Trastevere as its right on the edge of Trastevere. My Marco Polo Guide told me that Trastevere is an old artisan’s quarter, and I could tell straight away that this area had a cool and slightly different feel to it.
The streets of Trastevere are small, windy and cobbled, the buildings are warm orange and reds, and full of beautiful and very Italian looking cafes, bars and restaurants.
There are lots Piazza’s and Churches too, including Piazza Santa Maria which is named after the oldest church in Rome and is the area you should slowly head towards once arriving in Piazza Sonnino in Trastevere when working out what to do in Trastevere.
San Pietro in Montorio
I carried on walking straight up Via della Pagila which is the main street I had been walking up. I wasn’t too sure how far to go as it was getting quite quiet and it seemed like I was heading towards a dead-end, but I veered right up Vicolo della Frusta when I saw this street and took some steps up onto the main road.
I knew I was on the right track as I could start to see the yellow church of San Pietro in Montorio in front of me which is also the base of Gianicolo Hill.
I headed up the path towards the church and the higher I got the more I could see a view over Rome and I knew I was going to be in for a treat the higher I got on this walk!
Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
I walked along side the church of San Pietro in Montorio and followed Via Garibaldi as the guide suggests. The guide says to follow this road until you hear the rushing of water. I thought hmm I can’t hear anything yet, but as I walked a few meters up the road I did indeed start hearing a heavy rush of water and pretty soon I could see where it was coming from, Fontana dell’Acqua Paola – a marble fountain commissioned by Pope Paul V in 1612!
Like the very famous Trevi Fountain the water in the base was extremely blue, except this fountain was totally empty of people! I had it all to myself!
After snapping a few pictures of the fountain I headed over the other side of the road to see a view over the city which was getting better and better!
I veered right onto Passeggiata del Gianicolo and it occurred to me just how quiet it was. I was there on a rainy and fairly grey Sunday morning, but still! The rest of the City would still be just as busy today as it was the day before but up here I could well be a local on a Sunday morning walk. The walk was also getting greener and greener which is what I wanted to find on this walk.
My next stop was Piazza Garibaldi which meant I was now on Gianicolo Hill, and this Piazza has a really open view over the city! There were a few food and drink stands, as well as public toilets (although they weren’t open when I went) so if you’re up here on a warm day this would be a nice place to take a break.
I followed the path straight which took me through a garden full of head statues until I reached a horse and rider statue to my right.
Without my Marco Polo Guide I would have thought that this was just another statue, as seen all over the world, but I was interested to read that this was a statue of a female rider called Anita Garibaldi Ribeiro, a Brazilian Women who travelled with her husband from one Country to another, had this children and then lost them – all in the name of freedom for South America. That’s quite a fact and part of me wants to say ‘what a women’, but the other part, not so sure!
Monastery Sant’ Onofrio
I carried on walking straight for a bit, still with an awesome view of Rome to my left. I walked past the Bambino Hospital and soon walked along side Monastery Sant’ Onofrio. I walked up the stairs and had a walk around the courtyard but it was very quiet and I wasn’t sure if I could peek inside so I decided it was best not to, especially on a Sunday morning.
Standing outside the Monastery gave me a lovely view straight down Salita S. Onofrio which is just another one of those gorgeous, straight, thin, cobbled Italian Streets!
After snapping a few photos I walked down this street and it was just as pretty to walk down as it was to look at. I particularly loved one of the side street which was even thinner and prettier, with a view of the River and City below.
Pretty soon, I was back on the main road and at the River Tiber. I was actually really interested to see what the River Tiber looked like when I saw it on a map as I don’t recall seeing many photos of a river in Rome at all.
It was a still a bit grey for me but it was really good to see all of the impressive architecture from this side of the city that I hadn’t yet seen in my 2 days in Rome. I really loved the Castle of Angels that you can see over the bridge in the below.
It’s worth noting that at this point you are really close to the Vatican City so detouring over there slightly would be a great idea! Or exploring some of the impressive buildings including Castel Sant’Angelo which is possible to go inside of.
I didn’t veer off thanks to the rain that was coming down quite hard so instead I walked along side the Tiber for a bit, heading back towards where I started in Trastevere (below is a picture of what the River Tiber looked like the day before in the sunshine so you can see how beautiful it can be!).
Galleria Villa Farnesina
Half way up the river was Galleria Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance Palace. I had a look from the river side and the inner street side but unfortunately all the gates were closed. If they are open when you walk past, I would suggest having a look in!
Soon I was back in the main area of Trastevere. I took some time to explore some more of the streets of Trastevere, taking any street that I looked the look of, something I love to do, before finding a nice looking restaurant and having a delicious Pizza. The perfect way to end a walk in Italy!
If you’re not sure where to eat in Trastevere with the big selection of choices, the Marco Polo Guide recommends Enoteca Trastevere!
After this, I headed back to Piazza Sonnino and took the bus back over to where I was staying as I was flying home that afternoon!
I shared the photos on my Twitter and Instagram pages and I got quite a few comments to say that people love Trastevere as it’s not so visited by tourists. I also got told that it’s a great area for cheaper accommodation!
I found the New Marco Polo Rome Guide really helpful and are a few other short walks in there too that I would definitely do if I go back to Rome, plus its filled with information! If you want to purchase the guide you can purchase it here
- More of my Italy Posts:
- The RomeHello Hostel Review!
- Travelling to Italy for 1 Week on a Budget.
- How to Backpack Italy on a Budget!
- ALL MY ITALY POSTS
This post is in collaboration with Marco Polo Guides but all opinions and thoughts are my own!