Rarely do I wander aimlessly in Rome. I live here, so I’m usually on my way somewhere. That said, Rome is not so big, and eventually, over the course of a year, I do manage to make my way around a good part of the centro storico, where I live.
One neighborhood that has been off my radar for a long while is Trastevere. Located on the ‘other’ side of the Tiber river, it’s not that it’s that far away, but for a while I’ve just had no reason to go over there. That didn’t used to be the case. In fact, there was a time when I walked through that part of town on a pretty regular basis, on my way to see a movie at the Pasquino cinema.
Anyone who has lived in Rome for as long as I have has a soft spot in their heart for the Pasquino. For a very long time, in the dark ages before the internet, and in the even darker ages before dvd’s, and in the prehistoric era before video, this was the place where expats in Rome headed to if they wanted to see an American film in the original language.
My first memories of the Pasquino date back to when I first lived in Rome with my family in the early ‘seventies. While I don’t remember any specific movies I saw there, I do remember certain parts about the ritual of going to that theater, which was incredibly exciting. The main feature of the screening room was the fact that it has a retractable roof that opened up during the summer months to let a little breeze into the of course un-airconditioned space. The lights would dim and a creaky sound would start, as the skylight opened up to the Rome sky. Part of the excitement was also knowing the urban myth that sometimes cats (or rats? I never got that part straight) might fall in as the panels opened up. I was never lucky enough to be there when this happened.
The other major attraction was the vendor who would appear before the show or during intermission, a large wooden tray held in place by a strap around his neck. Very small packs of popcorn, Cokes and my favorite: small boxes of chocolate covered ice cream bon bons that seemed beyond exotic to me.
By the time I moved back to Rome in 1990 the Pasquino has long since been renovated. It had installed a/c, done away with the skylight, but was still one of the only places to see English language movies. Over the course of that decade, as vhs machines began the slow road of Roman cinemas’s demise, the cinema renovated again, splitting itself into a three screen miniplex. And then that whole dvd/internet thing happened, no one went to the movies anymore, and the Pasquino finally closed down.
All this long story just to explain why I don’t make my way over to Trastevere anymore.
But recently I made the executive decision to take a walk over there, wander, eat, shop and kind of get lost (everyone gets lost in Trastevere, it’s not just me)
I went over during the day, when Trastevere is mostly the domain of people who live and work there. At night it becomes something quite different with lots of bars feeding a nightlife that is definitely not my thing (although it may be yours).
If you do find yourself in that part of town, (and I suggest you do) and hungry, here is a list of places that might come in handy.
Renella Via del Moro 15
One of the oldest bakeries in Rome sells some of the best pizza by the slice, to eat there (standing) or take away.
Osteria La Gensola Piazza della Gensola 15 06.581.6312
One of the best fish restaurants in Rome, in a low key and relaxed setting.
DOT Bar Bistro, Via Natale del Grande 52, 06.5581.7281
The owners of La Gensola opened this place recently. It combines some of the same fish dishes from their old place with well made cocktails.
Pianostrada Vicolo del Cedro 26,
Street food brought to new heights in this pocket-sized place run by four women.
Sisini La Casa del Suppli, Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137
A Roman institution specializing in suppli, deep-fried rice balls.
Da Enzo,Via dei Vascellari 29, 06.581.2260
My favorite trattoria in Trastevere, offering seasonal, traditional Roman food.
Pasta all’Uovo, Sorelle Piras, Via del Moro 32
Stop by here to pick up freshly made pasta if you have an apartment and are able to cook.
Fatamorgana, Via Roma Libera 11
The Trastevere location of this by now well known Roman gelateria.
Fior di Luna, Via della Lungaretta 96
Another very good gelateria, with attention to ingredients.
Antica Cacciara, Via San Francesco a Ripa 140A/B
Stepping into this cheese store is like stepping back in time. Very old fashioned, with lovely owners who are happy to help you choose your cheese/
Innocenti, Via della Luce 21
A cookie factory. Need I say more?
Ai Marmi, Viale Trastevere 53
This is where Trasteverini go when they want a pizza. A Roman institution.
Ma Che siete venuti a fa, Via di Benedetta 25
One of the widest selections of craft draft beers in Rome in this tiny place.
Mama Eat, Via di San Cosimato 7/9, 06.580.6222
This is one of the best seriously gluten free restaurants in Rome.
Piazza San Cosimato Market
Open air market.
Bio Maison. Via di S. Crisogono 39
This concept store (half of it’s a hairdresser oddly enough) offers great salads, sandwiches and juices that are organic and often gluten free and/or vegan.
For more information on dining in Rome and Italy download my app, EAT ITALY. EAT ITALY is a free app, and contains guides to Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence and Umbria (and an ever expanding list of regions and cities) available as in-app purchases for both iPhone and iPad.
For more on Rome please buy my book, Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.
And if you’d like to take a Food Tour around Trastevere, just contact Sophie and she’ll be glad help you.