Monday, 11 May 2015

A quick take on Trastevere

In late March we spent a week in Rome staying in il quartiere Trastevere, a bohemian district located near the Vatican.
The view from our bedroom.
Our little apartment was on a narrow lane, typical of the Trastevere.  Wandering aimlessly along the old cobblestoned streets kept us pleasantly occupied during our stay here.
Sometimes our walks took us up the hill behind Trastevere along via Garabaldi.  From the top of Gianicolo hill, the streets of Rome fanned out beneath us, providing endless opportunities to spot as many landmarks as we could.
Our walks also worked up our appetites to try some Roman specialties.   
Cacio e pepe spaghetti served in its own little dish made from parmesan cheese was delicious, but sadly I forgot to take a card from the restaurant where we stopped for their menu del giorno.  It will now become a memory to taunt us, just like the tagliatelle al ragu that we enjoyed in 2000 in a restaurant somewhere near the Vatican, and the name of which we forgot to note. We spent an hour or so scouring the streets trying to find it again, but it will have to remain a memory to savour.  Thankfully it is hard to eat badly in Rome.  There is always another equally extraordinary meal just around a different corner. 
This time we discovered sensational pizza at La Renella Panificio, a well-known bakery specialising in pizza, bread and plain biscotti.  We managed to grab a stool at the long bench looking into the window of their kitchen.  Everything is made in full view, so while we happily nibbled a couple of slices of their classic pizzas - prosciutto with mozzarella, and tomato with basil and mozzarella, we enjoyed watching the long slabs of pizza dough sliding in and out of the huge wood-burning oven and then being dressed with the freshest of toppings.  Great lunchtime theatre. 

In between eating and walking, and walking and eating, we crossed the Tiber several times to venture into galleries and museums in the centre of Rome.
But the favourite discovery we made was Villa Farnesina, only a block away from our apartment.  
This magnificent building was built in the early 16th century for Agostino Chigi, a wealthy banker from Siena.  The villa is most famous for the frescoes by Raphael, particularly the ceiling in the entrance hall, which is completely covered in scenes portraying the fable of love between Cupid and Psyche and which was commissioned to celebrate Chigi's second marriage to the beautiful Francesca Ordeaschi, who had previously been his mistress.  

Food, art, history, culture and more food. Our week in Rome was everything we hoped for with the exception of warmer temperatures.  

While we were sad to leave, we were hopeful that in Naples we might finally be able to stuff our fluffy feather jackets away and bring out our T-shirts.  

Naples we're ready for you!

Where we stayed:
Trastevere Prestige was the name of the apartment where we stayed on Vicolo Moroni.  We found it on AirBnB HERE.  It suited us as it was close to everything, had a simple kitchen, good heating and great wifi.  

Where we ate:
Osteria der Belli
We had a lovely Sunday lunch in Osteria der Belli surrounded by local Italian families.  I'd read about it on this blog which has some other great recommendations for places to eat in Trastevere.  

La Renella Panificio
via del Moro, 15
A great pizza bar.  Perch on a stool by the kitchen window, or grab a slice of take away and find a bench along the Tiber just round the corner.

And for the best gelato in Trastevere.  CLICK HERE for my previous post about Fior di Luna.

E poi siamo andati a Napoli!


  1. Wonderful post! I am considering booking the apartment later this year. We have always stayed in hotels so this will be a new experience. What floor was the flat on? Are you generally satisfied booking through AirBnB?
    Thank you! Susana

    1. Hi Susanna, the flat was on the first floor. It is up a very narrow, steep staircase but as it was only one floor up it was fine. We have used AirBnB and HomeAway to book apartments on this trip. Both have been great. My only reservation about the apartment is that it doesn't have a balcony so in summer that might be a problem. Otherwise we would recommend it, especially for the location. The bedroom and bathroom are lovely and the lounge room is comfortable but smaller than it appears in the photos.
      Have a wonderful time in Rome!

  2. Vatican and bohemian? I wouldn't normally associate these two words!
    Hope you got the recipe for cacio de pepe.
    We look forward to your take on Naples.

    1. Yes we have Gerard. I've made it a couple of times but haven't perfected it yet. It's all in the technique.

  3. You can never count on the weather. We recently travelled to Boston and New York in the States and packed all of our Winter woollies only to discover it was quiet warm for the time of year. We only needed a jacket of a night time and the rest of the time in shorts and t shirts. Hope you enjoy Naples.

    1. Yes, very true Kathy. The days were fine but still cool, actually perfect for sightseeing.

  4. Enjoyed your experience of the theatre of food in Roma Jen and the mandatory little nuns in your first photo. Always plenty of them near the Vatican!

    1. Very sweet weren't they. Glad you noticed.