Rome – Sunday in Trastevere

Trastevere archTrastevere alleyTrastevere meaning “across the Tiber”, the river flowing through Rome, is a beautiful area of cobbled, winding Medieval streets located on the west bank, south from the Vatican City. Since ancient times it has been a multi-cultural area and it’s inhabitants, the Trasteverini, have developed there own distinct local culture and are proudly different from the rest of the city.

Arch near the Botanical gardensIn the medieval period it was the centre for the important Jewish community. while in the 60’s and 70’s it’s unique character attracted artists and musicians. Famous locals include film director Sergio Leone who grew up here and was in the same class at school as Ennio Morricone.

Peanut vendorOn Sundays in Rome the only show in town seems to be the flea market in Trastevere which runs south from Porta Portese and starts at 7 in the morning and goes on till 12.30. Personally I can happily give it a miss as the stalls are full of tat and the occasional interesting piece of bric-a-brac you might come across on an antique stall will be ridiculously overpriced. The only food I saw was a peanut seller and a solitary cheese stall with the wares exposed to the sun and sweltering in plastic.

Trattoria with principlesPiazza Santa MariaOn the other hand there are some really good restaurants over here which seem to be much more reasonably priced than those in the Centro Storico just over the river, and they are all open for Sunday lunch which makes this the place to be while the rest of town is relatively quiet.

Santa MariaMosaicsThe focal pointof the old Medieval area is Piazza Santa Maria di Trastevere and its beautiful church of the same name, one of the oldest in the city and home to a collection of beaufiful mosaics. The cafes in the square are good places for a pricey aperitivo. I’m sure most of the restaurants surrounding it are very good too but I have my favourite that I always go to.

Da Lucia (Intermedaiate A),  2/b Vicolo del Mattonato, Tel. 06 580 3601 GEM ALERT!

Hidden away up a backstreet, not so far from the madding crowd, this is a favourite which I come back to every time I’m here. If you haven’t reserved you need to get here pretty soon after 12.30 when they open or you won’t get one of the coveted outdoor tables.

Antipasto della CasaTo start I had the Antipasta della Casa, a dish of grilled peppers, aubergine, courgettes and olives(A).

Spaghetti alla GriciaTo follow, the Spaghetti alla Gricia, with pancetta and grated pecorino (A+) is truly excellent.

Trippa alla RomanaI like to challenge myself from time to time and thought this would be a good place to try Trippa alla Romana, which was tasty, but I couldn’t eat more than half of it (B), unlike the local chap next to me who polished his off in about five minutes.

Panna CottaThe Panna Cotta with stewed forest berries was sublime (A+).

Da Lucia 010FrascatiAll this went down with a great bottle of fruity Frascati from Casalle Marchese (A) which totally one me over to this lovely Lazio wine. A great meal all round, and very reasonable at €40. If you’re in Trastevere, come here if you can.

Valzani signValzaniValzani windowInside ValzaniCream puffsChocolate CarEaster eggsTorrone RomanoScalesAt 37a Via dei Moro you will find Valzani, an amazing old pasticceria selling giant Easter eggs, chocolate cars and all forms of Torrone and other confectionery, beautifully presented in glass cases and attractive wrappings. (Click on the photos to enlarge). I purchased a slab of their darkest most delicious chocolate that survived the journey home, but not much longer.

One Response to “Rome – Sunday in Trastevere”

  1. Here’s a link to other trattorie recommended in a competition for Guardian readers. I wrote the winning tip about Da Lucia!

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