Rome, as many other cities, cannot be covered in one trip. In your first trip, once you have taken the touristy trips to Colosseum and Vatican City, and threw in a coin in the Trevi Fountain, take a breather to soak in the city vibes a bit farther from the touristy hot-spots and spend an evening strolling through the Trastavere neighborhood.
Located on the west bank of the river Tiber, just south of the Tiberina island, it is a quaint and hip neighborhood swarming with little cafes, cobblestone streets and boutiques. While being developed as a charming little area, its history has been much darker. The slaves were kept here in the medieval times, Jews were sent here to live in tiny quarters during the Christian uprising, and had always been treated as a village for
the poor in the modern times. Some relics suggest that this neighborhood occasionally got its wealthier residents to move in as well along with becoming a hub for sailors due to proximity to the river. Inculcating the mix of abject poverty and a commercial zone, Trastavere developed to being a delightful town outside the city center.
While you walk through the narrow alleys devoid of sunlight, run the imaginations wild to visualize the squalid living of the residents 500 years ago. On your strolls along the cobblestone paths, you will find street art, graffiti covered shutters, incredibly decorated doors, colorful scooters parked in front of vibrant walls and locals mingling outside boutiques and cafes. Take time to appreciate the art while you watch out for a runaway bike in the midst of neighborhood children playing. To some it may appear sordid to see clothes hung to dry from the windows and wires connecting two buildings, that some of the doors are rusted and brickwork peeking from the weathered wall art. But the real glamour is in its people and the history behind it all.
While you are here, pay a visit to the Basilica di Santa Maria Trastavere in the main square. It is one of the oldest in the area, dating back to 12th century. Among all the souvenir shops and cafes in the perimeter of the square, appreciate the architecture of the buildings that has held its own through the ages.
While you are here, leave your diet at the hotel room lest you miss out on the opportunity to relish the delectable homemade pasta and those afogatos (Gelato covered with espresso). Sneak in to one of the cafes camouflaged by plants on its doors and walls, sit on one of the worn out benches to applaud the street performers playing the flute, or just relax in a cafe with outdoor seating sipping the well deserved chianti, no matter what ticks you, you will find something to amuse on here.