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Episode #096: A Wander Through Trastevere

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This week we head to Rome’s charming district of Trastevere. Just over the river Tiber from the Centro Storico, you can wander cobbled streets draped in vines and eat at trattorie that have been around for decades. It’s a neighborhood whose character endures despite definitely being a place where tourists like to visit.

Show notes

In this episode, we talk to award-winning travel journalist and author Maria Pasquale. Maria lives in Trastevere and we learn all about her beautiful neighborhood and how you can find what it means to be Italian in its streets and cafe bars and where to find the best place to wander, to shop, for aperitivo and, of course, to eat. 

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • The Trastevere district can be found on the left bank of the river Tiber in Rome – on the same side as the Vatican so is a great base for a trip to Rom. Find some charming and characterful stays in Best Trastevere Hotels & Accommodation
  • The Tiber River that cuts through Rome is Tevere in Latin – so Tras Tevere means across the Tiber – so Trastevere
  • Trastevere has always been completely self-sufficient in that there are hospitals, schools, restaurants, bars, as well as over 40 churches to serve the community. Urban myth has it that until the 50s and 60s, many residents say they’d never even crossed the river because they had everything they needed in Trastevere
  • A great tip when in Rome is always to look up, because there are so many of those details that you might miss if you’re not looking for them
  • Santa Maria Trastevere, which is the main Basilicata in this neighborhood, is a beautiful Basilicata and is the first Church in the world to be dedicated in the name of the Virgin Mary
  • The Festa de Noantri is a festival held in July every year in Trastevere. Noantri means “the rest of us” – highlighting the ‘otherness’ to Rome the locals have always prided themselves on in Trastevere
  • The cornerstone of any Italian community is the market. We often say that Italian food/Italian cuisine begins in the market, in contrast to French cuisine, which begins in the kitchen. While French cuisine is more focused on technique, in Italy it is all about the produce from the market
  • The main market in Trastevere you can find convenience but not in a processed bagged way, in the fresh, prepared vegetables for a minestrone you can buy already cupped
  • The Rome street-food classic Suppli, you must try in Rome, is a fried rice-ball, though not to be confused with the more famous Sicilian Arancini
  • Aperitivo is an important part of Italian culture, and it’s also a part of Italian food. Apertitivo comes from the word ‘aprire’ to open and the idea is that by these little snacks, you are opening your stomach for your dinner later on
  • Trastevere is a place where it’s wonderful to simply wander and even get lost – so drop your map at least for a while
  • The neighborhood is a wonderful mixture of old and new – with historic buildings, hip eateries, a plethora of churches, and some amazingly creative street art
  • A great place to head in Trastevere (and to work off your lunch, or work up an appetite for dinner) is Gianicolo (Janiculum) Hill which has spectacular views over the Eternal city

About our guest – Maria Pasquale

Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne. With a formal background in political science and history, she is now an award-winning food and travel writer and journalist and contributes regularly to USA Today, CNN, Condé Nast, Fodor’s and The Telegraph. The author of I Heart Rome, her lifestyle blog HeartRome, has readers in over 100 countries, a social media network that exceeds 40,000 and has been featured in BBC Travel and Vogue among others. Named one of Rome’s most influential people in travel by Italy’s La Republica, in Rome, you’ll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends. How to be Italian is Maria’s second book.

You can find Maria on these channels:

Maria’s books

To buy How to be Italian or I Heart Rome in Australia click here.

Places mentioned in the show

  • Piazza San Cosimato – where the main market runs six days a week
  • San Calisto – neighborhood bar that is an institution in Trastevere
  • Piazza Santa Maria – the Basilicata, as I mentioned earlier, it also has the centerpiece is a beautiful fountain
  • Piazza Trilussa – the other main piazza in the neighborhood
  • Piazza Santa Cecilia – just on the other side of Trastevere
  • Antica Caciara – cheese shop and a Trastevere institution since 1900
  • Biscottificio Innocenti – long standing, family-run patisserie
  • Panella – great place for bread and is in fact used by many of the local restaurants for their bread
  • Antico Forno Roscioli – bakery just across the river from Trastevere
  • I Suppli – for great pizza bianca and fried snacks, pizza by the slice and suppli (or course) with gourmet versions like one with a carbonara filling or with shrimp and squid ink
  • Da Enzo – Travestere restaurant for Roman cuisine
  • Da Teo – wonderful neighborhood trattoria
  • Osteria Der BelliSardinian owners but also have Roman dishes on menu – great seafood
  • Seu Illuminati – for gourmet pizza. Pier Daniele Seu won huge number of rewards (including beating some Neapolitans)
  • L’ElementareAi MarmiIvo – all good for fantastic pizza
  • OtalegTrastevere – for amazing gelato
  • Santo– great destination for aperativo
  • Freni e Frizioni – popular with young Romans for great cocktails. The name means ‘brakes and clutch’ in Italian and is on the site of an old mechanic shop
  • Jacopa – rooftop bar
  • Proloco – great for local Lazio reds or white, and they also stock only Lazio food products.

Resources

  • salumeria –  a cured meat shop or Italian deli
  • scontrino – the receipt you are given when you order your coffee
  • bancone – the bar in a cafe itself
  • shakerato – (meaning shaken) is made by shaking together a shot of espresso with ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, sometimes with syrup to sweeten it up, and is usually served in a martini glass
  • granita – sweet ice drink
  • SPQRSenātus Populusque Rōmānus 
  • cinghiale – wild boar
  • pizza bianca – Roman flatbread – eat on its own or open it up and fill with mortadella or porchetta
  • la passeggiata – the walk or stroll after dinner that’s a strong part of Italian culture
  • cambio di stagione – the change of seasons
  • piumino – winter coast
  • taralli – crunchy savory snack very common and very much loved in Italy
  • alimentari – small Italian grocery shop

Resources from Untold Italy

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Transcript

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