Leave the leezure-suited coach loads at the Colosseum and do as the Romans do in trendy local nabe Trastevere.
Packed with winding washing-strung alleyways, ivy-covered buildings and faded palazzi lined with locals sipping vino, Trastevere, is Roma at her most romantic. Sure the city’s 13th rione also has some unkempt aspects but that’s what makes an afternoon exploring this residential enclave all the more enchanting. So, sandals on Caesar, these cobbled streets wait for no man, particularly not when the hour of aperitivo is nigh…
If you’re after a local flop spot, look no further than boutique lovely Locanda San Pancrazio, whose seven rooms at the foot of the Gianicolo hills are mere paces from all the star attractions, complete with tempting rooftop terrazzo, should you not wish to venture far.
But venture you must. A laid-back languid meander through the labyrinthine laneways leads you to one of the Eternal City’s oldest houses of worship, the Basilica di Santa Maria. Inside boasts neck-cricking mosaics by mysterious Middle Ages maestro Pietro Cavallini, while outside there’s a postcard-perf piazza plus perchable fountain, ideal for a spot of people watching.
If all that inactivity has whet your appetite, wander towards the water in search of a spot of lunch at authentic osteria Augusto; a spit n’ sawdust joint slapping down classico cucina romana on elbow-to-nip shared tables.
Bellies bulging? Better walk it off at the luscious Orto Botanico di Roma, a bloomin’ marvellous oasis that’s home to thousands of plant species, manicured lawns and leafy landscaped gardens.
Check the sundial (or your Bulgari wrist candy) on your way out; if you’ve timed it well apero hour is upon you. So, what are you waiting for? Get thee to one of Trastevere’s many pre-prandial imbibers. Thankfully, Bir e Fud isn’t far and its crafty brews and Italian ales attract a lively, not to mention comely, crowd.
But whatever you do, don’t fill up on too much of the free aperitivo snacks. You’re within a pie dough’s toss of Dar Poeta offering some of the best crusts in town, with unusual toppings that compel even the Romans to queue. Squisito!
Locanda San Pancrazio, Via di Porta di San Pancrazio, 32, Trastevere, Rome, +39 06 9727 3171
Basilica di Santa Maria, Piazza di Santa Maria, Trastevere, Rome, +39 06 581 4802 vatican.va
Augusto, Piazza dè Renzi, 15, Trastevere, Rome, +39 06 580 3798 facebook: @AugustoTrastevere
Orto Botanico di Roma, Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24, Trastevere, Rome, +39 06 4991 7107 botanicalgardenmuseum.com
Bir e Fud, Via Benedetta, 23, Trastevere, Rome, +39 06 589 4016, birandfud.it
Dar Poeta, Vicolo del Bologna, 45, Trastevere, Rome, +39 06 588 0516, darpoeta.com