Trastevere (from trans Tiberim), the district of Rome beyond the Tiber, has preserved much of the character of old Rome, with its narrow and irregular streets, its little squares and its venerable churches, such as Santa Maria in Trastevere. The people of Trastevere claim that their district is older than Rome. There is a constant bustle of life and activity in the Viale Trastevere and the little lanes and squares opening off it. This liveliness is at its height in the evening, but visitors who go across to Trastevere for their evening meal should take care to give thieves no opportunity to ply their trade.
Transit: Bus: 26, 28, 44, 56, 60, 65, 97, 170, 710, 718, 719.
Dating back to the 16th century, Villa Farnesina is home to the National Print Cabinet. Featuring a distinctly Renaissance style of architecture, the Palace is a well-known attraction.
Originally a mausoleum in the 2nd C, it was later incorporated into a fortress. Centuries later it was declared a castle and eventually linked to the Vatican. The structure has also served as a prison and is today a museum.
Passeggiata del Gianicolo
The Passeggiata del Gianicolo lined with busts of Italian patriots, extends along the Janiculum from the Porta San Pancrazio to the Piazza della Rovere (near the Vatican), offering magnificent views of the whole of central Rome and the outlying districts, extending to the surrounding hills. The light-tower dates from 1911. In Piazza Garibaldi is a monumental equestrian statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi (restored in 1990), one of the great figures of the fight for Italian unity in the 19th century. Every day on the stroke of noon an Austrian cannon in this square fires a shot which resounds far over the city to announce the time. The terraces around the square offer what is perhaps the finest panoramic view of Rome. A little way north is a statue of Garibaldi's wife Anita, her hair streaming in the wind.
Santa Maria in Trastevere
Santa Maria in Trastevere (the densely populated part of Rome on the right bank of the Tiber) is the oldest church of the Virgin in Rome. According to legend it stands on the spot where a spring of oil flowed 38 years before Christ's birth as an intimation of the future Savior. This may also be the place where Christians were able for the first time to hold services in public. The building of the church began between 221 and 227, in the reign of Pope Calixtus I, and was completed in 340, in the reign of Julius I. It was rebuilt by Innocent II (1130-43), who came from the Trastevere district, and redecorated in the Baroque period. It is now one of the finest and most imposing churches in Rome. The church has a Romanesque campanile, a facade decorated with mosaics (the Virgin with ten female saints) and a portico containing early Christian sarcophagi and various medieval fragments. Notable features of the interior are the Cosmatesque (marble intarsia) work in the floor, the coffered wooded ceiling, partly gilded by Domenichino (1617), the 22 massive Ionic columns in the nave, and a 15th century tabernacle by Mino del Reame (at the west end of the nave on the right). The mosaics in the apse are masterpieces of medieval art. In the conch (c. 1140) are Christ, the Virgin and saints above a frieze of lambs, and below this are scenes from the life of the Virgin - Nativity, Annunciation, Nativity of Christ, Three Kings, Presentation in the Temple, Assumption (by Pietro Cavallini, c. 1291). The mosaics at the exit of the church were supposed to remind worshippers of the glory of Heaven, portraying the saints against a celestial background of gold.
San Pietro in Montorio
The church of "St Peter on the Golden Mountain" (from the name of Mons Aureus or Monte d'Oro which was given in early times to the Janiculum), an early Renaissance building of the late 15th century, owes its foundation to the medieval legend - without historical foundation - that the Apostle Peter was crucified on this spot. The church was built for King Ferdinand IV of Spain by Baccio Pontelli (after 1481). The chapels on the left-hand side contain notable pictures ("Scourging of Christ" by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519-25, a Madonna by Pomarancio and the "Conversion of St Paul" by Giorgio Vasari) and monuments. In a court to the right of the church is the famous Tempietto di Bramante (a small round pillared temple), a chapel built in 1502 to commemorate the crucifixion of St Peter, which is recognized as a classic example of High Renaissance architecture, demonstrating the characteristic return to antiquity and the revival of Greco-Roman architectural forms. The harmony of its proportions and symmetry of its forms make this little temple an architectural delight.
The Aurelian Walls were built by the Emperor Aurelius in A.D. 270-275 to protect Rome - which had by now far outgrown the old Servian Walls - against the fresh dangers which were threatening the city from the northern provinces of the Empire. The main threat came from the Goths, who in A.D. 268 had pushed forward from the plain of the Po into Umbria. The Aurelian Walls had a total length of some 20km/12.5mi. They were about 4m/13ft thick and originally stood 7.2m/24ft high, but were raised by Stilicho, the great general of the Emperor Honorius (A.D. 395-423), to 10.6m/35ft and reinforced by 380 towers standing some 30m/33yd apart. There were 16 gates in the circuit. The very length of the walls, however, meant that they rarely served their military function. The walls were kept in repair until the 19th century. Although parts of the circuit have been used as a quarry of building material in the last 100 years or so, some sections have been preserved, and in places it is possible to walk along the top.
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
St Cecilia, described in her Life as "Coeli Lilia" (the Lily of Heaven), was one of the early Christian martyrs who were always much venerated in Rome and became the subject of numerous legends.Traditionally the church occupies the site of the house belonging to Cecilia's husband Valerian. Originally founded in the fifth century, it was much altered and rebuilt in later centuries. It is of basilican type, with forecourt, porch (facade by Ferdinando Fuga, 1725), a Romanesque campanile, a wide nave with rows of columns, chancel and apse. In the chancel are a marble ciborium by Arnolfo di Cambio (1283) and a figure of St Cecilia carved by Stefano Maderna in 1600 (a year after the discovery of a tomb containing the body of a young girl in this position). The apse has a mosaic dating from the reign of Pope Paschal I (ninth century). In the crypt can be seen the excavated foundations of a Roman house. Special permission is required to visit the adjoining convent, which contains a magnificent "Last Judgment" by Pietro Cavallini (1293).
The Palazzo Corsini was built in the 15th century for Cardinal Domenico Riario, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV. In the 17th century it was occupied by Queen Christina of Sweden after her conversion to the Roman Catholic faith and her abdication, and here she brought artists and men of learning together in an academy which later became the famous Arcadia. After coming into the possession of the Corsini family the palace was completely rebuilt by Ferdinando Fuga (1723-36). It now houses part of the collections of the National Gallery of Ancient Art (the former Corsini Gallery), mainly European painting of the 17th and 18th centuries. Much of the Corsini collection is now in the main part of the National Gallery in the Palazzo Barberini.
The Ponte Sant'Angelo, the finest of Rome's bridges, was built by Hadrian in A.D. 136 to give access to his Mausoleum and was known as the Pons Aelius (after one of the Emperor's forenames). The three central piers are original. The entrance to the bridge, which is closed to traffic, is guarded by statues of Peter, by Lorenzetto (1530) and Paul, by Paolo Romano (1463), erected in the mid 16th century under Clement VII. Clement IX commissioned Bernini, who was 70, to carve the 10 figures of angels which line the bridge. The figures, carrying the instruments of Christ's passion, were executed by Bernini's pupils (Antonio Raggi, Antonio Giorgetti and Ercole Ferrata) between 1660 and 1668 to Bernini's design.
Villa Doria Pamphili
Adjoining the Janiculum are the extensive grounds of the Villa Doria Pamphili, Rome's largest municipal park, now traversed by the Via Olimpica, a road constructed for the 1960 Olympics. The villa was built by Alessandro Algardi about 1650 for Prince Camillo Pamphili, a nephew of Pope Innocent X. On a terrace alongside the Via Aurelia Antica is the dei Quattro Venti (country house of the four winds), which is decorated with statues and reliefs.
The church of San Crisogono, situated at the end of the Viale di Trastevere nearest the Tiber, was originally built at some time before 499 in honor of St Chrysogonus, martyred in the reign of Diocletian, and rebuilt in 1129.Situated in the busy Piazza Sonnino, the church attracts large numbers of worshippers. The two porphyry columns of the triumphal arch are the largest in Rome.
San Francesco a Ripa
The present church of San Francesco a Ripa was built in 1231, replacing an earlier chapel belonging to the pilgrim hospice of San Biagio, in which St Francis was said to have stayed when visiting Rome. The church was rebuilt by Mattia de'Rossi in 1682-89. In the fourth chapel in the north aisle is a famous statue of the Blessed Ludovica Albertoni, a major late work by Bernini (1674).
The Museo Torlonia is one of the largest private collections of antiquities in Europe, with some 600 pieces of sculpture. The collection was begun by Giovanni Raimondo Torlonia (1754-1829), a wealthy Roman, who acquired a number of private collections and added to them material found in excavations on his estates.