Seeking a slow kind of Rome

From Viale Trastevere to Gianicolo

Seeking a kind of slow Rome

Trastevere is one of the most magical neighourhood of the Italian capitol and one of those places where you can find tourists, but many locals as well. It is a district full of life, during day and night time. In Trastevere you can eat, drink, party, cry and fall in love too.

Nevertheless, this magical neighourhood is bigger than what people usually think. Many visitors get to know Trilussa square, Santa Maria in Trastevere church and San Callisto square, but they do not often expand their horizons, so they do not search for unknown corners.

That is the reason why, I would like to show you the path I used to take many times per week. This path let me discover a less touristic district and it took me out of the Trastevere world, in order to get the Gianicolo hill.

Lunch in Viale Trastevere

The tram is the most Trasteverian public transport. Either you come from the south of Rome or from the centre, you can get both tram number 8 or 3. This way, you can reach our first stop.

If you haven’t eaten yet, or you want to have breakfast (and you are getting the tram number 8), I suggest you to get off at the Bernardino da Feltre or Ippolito Nievo tram stop, in order to stop by Il Fornaretto di Trastevere.

Pizza al taglio Viale Trastevere
Pizza al taglio (slices of pizza) of Il Fornaretto di Trastevere in Viale Trastevere

In Rome, bakeries are a very important tradition (also, they are called forno, that literally means oven) and this one is a pretty good confirmation of the importance of roman pizza eaten in the bakeries. Even though Il fornaretto di Trastevere was born as a bakery, it has many seats and several typical roman meals too.

There, the pizza al taglio – that is literally pizza sold in slices – is amazing, as well as any kind of supplì. Supplìs are fried rice balls that can be made with many different ingredients, vegeterian or not. Just take your time to enjoy this place and all of its roman tastes and I can garantee that you are not going to regret it.  

The Ministry of Public Education

Let’s move on two tram stops to the north side. If we want to continue our tour, we need to get off at the Ministero dell’Istruzione stop, where either the tram 8 or the tram 3 (which arrives from the East side) stops by. From tram’s windows, you can already notice how majestic the ministry palace is.  

Ministry of Public Education, Viale Trastevere
The Ministry of the Public Education;
view from the beginning of via E. Morosini, Trastevere

Once you get off the tram, you are going to the realize the size of this building, by running alongside its north sector (which means the right one, once you are off the tram).

The palace was built during the fascist period and that is the reasons why we can notice several different styles from classical age. This aesthetic reminds us the desire of Mussolini to make shine the ancient roman splendour again.

Street Art and ice cream in San Cosimato

Once you have covered the whole building until the end, cross the street on the right ride, where you can admire a graffiti. This work of art, made by My Dog Sighs, showed up on March 2018. Unfortunately, it has already been vandalized, but its beauty still covers the whole wall of the New Hospital Regina Margherita, by leading us to San Cosimato square.

Street art Trastevere, viale Trastevere
Street Art between the Ministry of Public Educatin and San Cosimato square

San Cosimato is a place that always charmed me. Every time I passed by this square by going to work, I felt I belonged to Rome, I felt that Rome adopted me and made me a part of its beauty. I believe that was due to every trasteverian corner of this square, that exudes Roman spirit and now you are going to understand why.

As soon as you will get the square, on the left side, next to a second-hand book shop, there is a little gelateria. The name is Fata Morgana, the prices are higher than the average, but the tastes are quite peculiar and it is really worthy.

In this gelateria, you might find many children that, dragging their toys, they ask their parents to buy them an ice cream, after an afternoon spent enjoying themselves in the play ground.

Ice cream in Trastevere, viale Trastevere
Fata Morgana‘s ice cream in San Cosimato, Roma

The polyhedric San Cosimato

If you keep going on the side walk opposite the square, you are going to see many restaurants that are less touristic, by comparison with the ones you might find in the area of Trilussa Square and San Callisto. Also, the prices are diverse, from cheap to the expensive ones. 

Ristorante a San Cosimato
Advertising outside Rione 13
restaurant in San Cosimato square

In the actual square, which is on your right side, every day (a part from Sunday) until 2pm, you can shop at the market of San Cosimato. There you might find any kind of product, from dairy to vegetables or even fresh fish from the closest seaside.

During the afternoon, the square becomes a place for children and teenagers. The kids usually play on the little playground dedicated to same swings and slides, while the teens often play football in the square. This situation keeps the square alive until the sun goes down and San Cosimato gets ready for another time of the day. 

Movie nights in San Cosimato Square

Probably, if you didn’t live in Rome, you don’t know the Cinema America Guys. The voice and the engagement of this group of 20-year-old cinephils saved Il Piccolo Cinema America from the destruction in 2012. Afterwards, they founded an association that still offers us free open air movie nights.

The sites of those nights are diverse (Ostia, Cervelletta and San Cosimato) and despite the whole current situation, this year the nights of Cinema America have begun.

So, also this year The Cinema America Guys bring the magic of the seventh art to the Trastevere summer nights. (through the link, you are going to find all the information, included their recomandation to book your seat, due to the current circumstances). 

The way up to Gianicolo hill

If you are passing by San Cosimato during late afternoon and you decide to not spend your night watching a movie, you can go to the left side of the square and take Agostino Bertani street. Cover the whole street until the end, where you are going to run into a fountain, just in front of you.

From there, you can take the little pedestrian street on the left side of the fountain. By walking up all the street and the road later, after about 15 minutes, you are going to reach the Gianicolo Hill.

Just to be sure to not get lost, after the first pedestrian path, be sure that you are now on a road called Via Garibaldi. Keep going until you are going to find another staircase that will bring you at the beginning of our Gianicolo hill tour.  

The Gianicolo is an hill full of surprises. In the first part, which will lead you until the Garibaldi statue, there are – in this order – the San Pietro in Montorio church, the Royal Academy of Spain, the Garibaldi ossuary and the so called Fontanone (literally big fountain, even if the actual name is Fountain of Acqua Paola).

By keeping the Fontanone behind you, you can admire the spectacular view of Rome. If you want to make the most of it, you need to keep walking towards the tree-lined avenue on the right side of the fountain.

Fontanone al Gianicolo
The fountain of Acqua Paola, aka “Il fontanone”

In case you had any doubts, if you continue your path without coming back where you come from, you cannot get lost at all.

Garibaldi square at the Gianicolo hill

Once you covered the whole avenue, you are going to find yourself under the Garibaldi statue. This monument looks at the breathtaking beauty of the eternal city in front of it. With a good eye and a great knowledge about Rome, you might se the Altar of the Fatherland, the Colisseum, the Campidoglio (City council), the Trajan’s Markets and so on.

If you circle the Garibaldi statue, you are going to arrive to another viewpoint, whose gardens are decorated with the busts of many italian patriots, which are the Risorgimento heroes. During the Risorgimento era the Reign of Italy was born thanks to many of those people. Those statues in fact, are located just in front of the the panels built to celebrate 150 years of the Unification of Italy.

From this viewpoint, you might even see the Trinità dei Monti steps, Villa Borghese and, at the end, Sant’ Angelo Castle on your left.

Belvedere del Gianicolo, Roma
Gianicolo viewpoint

Our walk on the Gianicolo hill ends with a view that many tourists do not spot: the one on Il Cupolone (roman way to name the big dome of Saint Peter).

From your current point of view, go back closer to the Garibaldi statue and once you see the back of him and his horse on a three quarter view, from a small yard where there are a couple of benches too, you can admire the majestic big dome of Saint Peter.

No matter if you finish this path during the day or during the night, I can assure you that, despite the long walk up to the hill, the view will always be worthy.

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