Last updated on February 13, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Rome

Trastevere walking tour itinerary (self guided in 10 stops)

In this Trastevere Walking Tour, you will visit 10 sites that include little gems that I found during my 5 years in Rome, as well as some iconic locations.

This is one of my beloved areas of Rome. I spent so much time in it, drinking, eating and exploring it.

It is in my opinion also the most characteristic part of the eternal capital to explore.

You may even want to consider staying in Trastevere, for a unique experience.

Without further ado, let’s begin from the starting point of the Trastevere itinerary, one of the best viewpoints of Rome.

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Trastevere walking tour self-guided
Trastevere walking tour self-guided

Although not strictly in Trastevere, I suggest beginning the walk from the Gianicolo, the best viewpoint in Rome.

You can either walk up there, if you are a hardcore kind of person, or grab the bus 115 from Della Rovere Square.

From there you can walk down through the Trastevere small lanes, boutique churches and tiny shops.

Complete Trastevere walking tour that you can easily do with this self-guided map
Complete Trastevere walking tour that you can easily do with this self-guided map

Gianicolo Terrace

Plan to be at the Belvedere del Gianicolo viewpoint around 11:30am to enjoy the view and do a few photos.

At 12 o’clock three soldiers will come to perform an over 100 years old tradition, the cannon shoot.

Pope Pio IX actually started this tradition back in 1846 with the cannon firing from the St Angelo Castle and later from the Monte Mario, now a residential area.

The main reason was to synchronise the time, avoiding confusion, common in those days.

Only later on, in 1904, the cannon was moved to the Gianicolo, and it is still shooting today on a daily basis.

Around the Gianicolo you will find also an open-air theatre where the Teatrino di Pulcinella al Gianicolo organises regular performances for the little ones.

You may also remember the Gianicolo from the Oscar winner movie “La Grande Bellezza” (Best Foreign Language Film in 2013) with the shooting in the opening scene, as well as the garden area and the dell’Acqua Paola Fountain, commissioned in 1610 by Pope Paul V .

Spanish Royal Academy

From the Belvedere, head your way south to the Spanish Royal Academy (Real Academia de Espana), a Spanish university founded 150 years ago.

The history of the Spanish Royal Academy dates back to the 15th century, when the kings of Spain wanted to create an institution to host the Spanish artists moving to Rome for their studies.

The idea was not new. In fact, the Spanish kings took inspiration from the French Academy.

Certainly politics is not something new, and also back then the Vatican never allowed, or delayed as you can read in a few books, the opening of the Spanish Academy.

In 1873, with the newly formed Kingdom of Italy, the Academy officially opened.

Still today, it is the point of reference for the development of the Spanish culture outside the country.

Spanish artists and intellectuals have benefited from the academy’s establishment and training since its creation.

You can visit the building, the beautiful Temple of Bramante and its exhibitions, mostly free to enter, inspired by Spanish artists.

Walking in Rome at night around the Spanish Academy in Via Crucis
Walking in Rome at night around the Spanish Academy in Via Crucis

Roman Museum in Trastevere

Once you leave the Spanish Academy, take the hidden walking path unknown to the most, called Via Crucis.

This is another good point for a few photos, especially in front of the Edicola Sacra.

Interestingly enough, this little walking path was already drafted in the city plans of the 16th century.

At the end of the descent, you will enter the maze of Trastevere (“Tras”:beyond, “Tevere”: Tiber River), the most romantic neighborhood of the Eternal Capital.

This was the poorest part of Rome, a web of small lanes and boutique shops and chapels.

Today, it is one of the trendiest parts of the city, full of nice bars and restaurants besides some amazing spots to visit.

Have a stop at the Roman Museum in Trastevere, a boutique gallery that displays photo exhibitions and local artists’ work.

Check the official website for the opening time and the exhibits at the time of your visit.

My experience about this museum is that it can be a big hit or a miss, based on the personal likes.

Map to the Botanical Garden and the Villa Farnesina
Map to the Botanical Garden and the Villa Farnesina

Botanical Garden

Once you leave the Roman Museum in Trastevere, head north to the small Via della Scala and walk under the Porta Settimiana, the city gate to the old town built in the 3rd century.

Turn on the left on Via Corsini and you will see at the end of the street the entrance to the Botanical Garden of Rome, another hidden gem of Rome, visited mostly by locals.

The history of the Botanical Garden goes back to 1278 when Pope Nicolò III started a garden within the Vatican.

It grew so much that over the following centuries it was moved to larger spaces, like the S. Lorenzo Convent’s garden in Via Panisperna in 1876, before settling in its current location.

Here, you will find a beautiful villa with a central path lined with exotic palm trees.

There is also a herbal garden which you can check out.

The Botanical Garden currently has a collection of over 3500 species of plants.

Some of the beautiful species you will find include Fagaceae, Coniferous and holm-oaks.

There is something here for everyone to enjoy.

If travelling with kids, keep in mind that on Saturdays, there is a botanical tour dedicated to the children.

There are also workshops for those wanting to learn more about plants.

Don’t miss the Living Chapel in the garden, an art project made of recycled material, plants and music whose aim is to promote the growth of trees worldwide.

Villa Farnesina

Walk back Via Corsini, and you will have in front of you the Villa Farnesina.

Ask anyone that has visited Rome how was Villa Farnesina and they will probably answer “Villa who?

That is because not as many travellers venture inside this beautiful building, having one of the biggest collection of Raphael’s works and other famous artists

The amazing frescos in every single room will leave you open mouth from start to end.

If you have already visited the Holy See, you will see the difference between Raphael’s work in the Vatican city, more ecclesiastic, and his work in this villa, more energetic.

Get the audio guide to get the most out of it.

And once you finish with the inside, head to the famous garden, one of the quietest areas of Trastevere.

Keep in mind that the Villa Farnesina has been going under some interior restoration.

I highly suggest asking at the entrance what is the status, how many rooms are opened/closed and if the frescos are covered for restoration before actually buying your ticket.

Unfortunately, quite common in Italy, they do not offer discounts if, for example, half of the museum is closed and they do not actually tell you that in advance.

Basically, ask to avoid later disappointments once in. Take your decision to enter, or not, based on the answer.

The museum is absolutely well worth the price, but not quite so if you can’t see much because under renovation.

Small lanes of Trastevere
Small lanes of Trastevere

Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere

Keep going with your self-guided Trastevere walking tour, direction the Trilussa Square, on the south side of the Tiber River.

This is the usual square for the Romans to meet in the evening before heading inside the maze of Trastevere for a drink or dinner.

The next stop in this Trastevere itinerary is Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere (S. Maria in Trastevere)

This is one of the oldest churches in Rome.

It is said that it was the first church dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

It was started back in 221 by Pope Saint Callixtus and was a safe spot for retired soldiers. His remains are well-preserved under the altar.

The exterior has multiple mosaics, with the most prominent one depicting the Virgin Mary on a throne with 10 women standing holding lamps.

The square outside of the Basilica lets you fully view the church’s external beauty.

When you enter the church, you are welcomed by an iconic painting of the enthroned Virgin and Child.

You will see the 22 granite columns that divide the aisles from the nave.

Look down to marvel at the beautiful floor design.

The ceiling is another sight to behold. You will see a mosaic depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, among other works of sacred art.

The square itself has two lives.

In the day it is almost empty, sleepy and naked, with the fountain built in the 16th century dominating the square.

In the night, restaurants and bars open up with lots of tables in the square, making it one of the centres of the Trastevere nightlife.

Santa Maria in Trastevere empty in the early morning
View at the Santa Maria in Trastevere church in Rome, Italy

San Crisogono Basilica

Take the tiny Via della Lungaretta out of the square.

This is one of the most characteristic and charming lanes in Trastevere, although very popular too.

Keep walking till Piazza Sidney Sonnino and turn to your right to explore the San Crisogono Basilica for its unique excavation.

As you enter the building, you will see a large facade and four large columns.

There are sculptures and vases decorated with the Borghese family symbol.

You will also see the 12th century bell tower as you continue with the tour.

The wooden coffered ceiling has a copy of the Glory of Saint Crisogono painting.

You can access the basilica ruins through the sacristy staircase.

The first church ruins were discovered in 1906.

Instead of taking them down, they were excavated for study. At first glance, the ruins can be a confusing walk.

As you walk around, you will see the old church’s apse and service rooms.

You can also see many basins in the ruins, which indicate the presence of a baptism space.

There are also several paintings from as far back as the 8th century.

An interesting fact is that there used to be old republican houses where the church currently stands.

The Grattachecca

It has been a long and interesting walk so far, possibly also a tiring one if done during a hot summer day.

Have a short walk to Sora Lella for the best grattachecca in the world.

You can find the grattachecca only in Rome, so I would say best in the world = best in Rome.

But what is a grattachecca?

It is a good size plastic glass full of scraped ice (from a big size block), fresh fruit and a syrup of your choice, or an alcoholic drink.

The entire making process is unique by itself and well worth checking out.

Absolutely refreshing and super popular in the warm nights of the Roman summer

Tiber Island

From Sora Lella, walk across the Cestio Bridge (great spot for sunset) to the Tiber Island, the only urban island in the Tiber River.

You will get a chuckle out of the interesting facts around the creation of the island.

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was a dictator and tyrant who angered the Romans so much that he was overthrown.

The grain and wheat that he had stored were thrown into the Tiber River.

Over time, mud accumulated around the dumped goods and this caused the creation of the island.

Another interesting fact is that the island looks like a boat.

It can be accessed through 2 bridges – Ponte Fabricio and Ponte Cestio.

A church was built on the little island after a serpent that hid on a ship jumped off and swam there in 291 BC.

This was seen as a divine sign by the people on board. A hospital was even built on the island.

While on the island, you will see the Torre Della Pulzezza, a tower on the Ponte Fabricio side.

There are also a few restaurants that you can visit for dinner and a great evening out.

Aerial view of Tiberina island in Rome
Aerial view of Tiber Island and Trastevere in Rome 

Porta Portese Flea Market

Are you in Rome on a weekend?

Then organise this walk in reverse on a Sunday Morning and start from the Porta Portese Flea Market, drafted in the map below as the last stop.

This is the most famous and popular flea market in the Italian capital, active only on Sunday morning till the early hours of the afternoon.

The entrance to the flea market is characterised by the 17th Century gate and has remained still in good condition.

As you walk around the market, you will notice that there are many stalls to choose from.

Some of the things you can find here include toys, electronics, jewellery, fashion accessories, household items and even vinyl records.

You can also find stalls that sell books, flowers, fabrics, plants and antiques.

When in Rome, you want to purchase collectable items that remind you of its rich culture.

The walk can be daunting, but if you are looking for the best deals, wear comfy walking shoes.

An important thing has to be said about this market: pay twice the usual attention to your wallet and bag, always closed and in front of you.

Also, do not play any card game. They all look like an easy winner, till you lose your money.

Food and drinks

Either direction you take for this walk, make sure to organise your evening and night in Trastevere.

For a special and unforgettable dinner, book your table at the fashionable Doppio.

Nannarella is the affordable budget option, located near the Square of Our Lady in Trastevere.

This is a family run tavern preparing the typical Roman dishes.

Another lovely option, especially if you can have a table outside, is the Antica Osteria Rugantino, in a boutique square just off the Via della Lungaretta.

For drinks, check out the Express Cocktail Bar or the iconic Bar San Calisto

Photos from the Trastevere walking tour

The Edicola Sacra in Via Crucis
The Edicola Sacra in Via Crucis
An early morning in the Trastevere
An early morning in the Trastevere
Only a 500 can drive in the small lanes of Trastevere
Only a 500 can drive in the small lanes of Trastevere
Maginal streetlights of Trastevere at night
Magical streetlights of Trastevere at night
Hidden alley of Trastevere
Hidden alley of Trastevere
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

2 thoughts on “Trastevere walking tour itinerary (self guided in 10 stops)”

  1. A very nice route that not only concentrates on things that cost money. I don´t usually go around lecturing people but I HAVE to say that Grattaccheca is not only found in Rome. It is a Mexican refreshment called “Raspado” that goes way back to the times when the Spanish occupied the territory and has been a cultural staple since then. As far as I know, the beginning of this dessert can also be traced back to Japan, although I don´t know if they still follow the tradition.

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