Basilica di Santa Maria
Rome is blessed with plenty of churches but for one of the oldest, head to the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. It is said to have been founded in 3AD and has been rebuilt several times, most notably and splendidly in 1143. Set in the heart of the Travestere district, the church is a real must-see. It is most famous for its golden mosaics, its bell tower and its ancient columns.
Basilica di Santa Maria, Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, 00153 Rome
Freni e Frizioni
Freni e Frizioni is a popular evening spot in the Trastevere district. It is located in a former garage, and its name translates as Brakes and Clutches. The café-cum-bar draws in a young, artistic crowd eager to make the most of the top food and the excellent cocktails. There’s a particularly vibrant atmosphere here in the summer, with crowds spilling on to the street.
Freni e Frizioni, Via del Politeama 4-6, 00153 Rome, +39 06 4549 7499
Walking into Pasticceria Valzani is like stepping back in time. The much-loved cake shop and has been running since 1925 and still sells old-fashioned pangiallo, a traditional Christmas cake made with honey, nuts and dried fruit. This is a great place to pick up some sweet treats after a day exploring or to shop for edible souvenirs of Rome ‒ the chocolate-covered orange candies and truffles are irresistible.
Pasticceria Valzani, Via del Moro 37, 00153 Rome, +39 06 580 3792
For one of the best Italian restaurants in the Trastevere area head to Enoteca Ferrara. Catering for all needs, it has three sections; an intimate wine bar, an informal trattoria and a more formal restaurant. The menus are seasonal and offer a great mix of traditional Roman and regional Italian cuisine with a modern twist.
Enoteca Ferrara, Piazza Trilussa 41, 00153 Rome, +39 06 5833 3920
Trastevere offers a wealth of great bars and restaurants but those looking for something that extra bit special should head to Antica Pesa. First opened in 1922, the restaurant has become a hotspot for celebrities and has hosted the likes of Madonna, Quentin Tarantino and Mick Jagger. Classic Roman fare such as cacao e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper) is on the menu along with interpretations of traditional food like lamb shank, and there are also inspired dishes created with local products – there’s a particularly delicious hamburger made with Monte San Biagio sausage. In the summer opt to eat outside in the terrace garden ‒ it’s a truly elegant setting for a romantic meal.
Antica Pesa, Via Garibaldi 18, 00153 Rome, +39 06 580 9236