“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
In ancient times, Romans crossing the Tevere (Tiber) River entered an unruly encampment of ungovernable Etruscans, foul-mouthed traders and bawdy serving wenches. Happily, some things never change. Trastevere is home to Rome's liveliest bars, fiercest street fashion and on Sundays, its best flea market at Porta Portese. Everyone complains about the tourists, including the tourists, but that doesn't stop Romans from strapping on lethal stilettos and clomping down Trastevere's twisted cobblestoned alleys for a weekend passegiata (evening stroll). Follow all-age crowds meandering past pubs, boutiques and gelato shops toward the glittering medieval mosaic faade of Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Across Viale di Trastevere are the neighborhood's hidden gems: Porta Portese, with live blues and jazz clubs, and Basilica di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, where recent excavations revealed stunning 13th century angel frescoes. Savvy foodies skip Trastevere tourist menus and assemble picnics from bakeries and San Cosimato market stalls.