The morning sun warmed the cobblestone streets as I set out for my daily walk through the Trastevere district of Rome. As a frequent visitor to this historic city, I've come to love the charm and character of this area just west of the Tiber River. Trastevere provides a glimpse into authentic Roman life without the overwhelming crowds of tourists.
Leaving my rented apartment on Via della Luce, I breathed in the fresh morning air. I could already detect the aroma of brewing coffee and baking bread drifting from the cafés and Panetterias. As I turned right onto Via della Scala, I saw the first trickle of neighbors emerging to start their day. An elderly woman slowly swept the sidewalk in front of her flower shop, while a pair of children laughed and chased each other down the street.
Continuing down Via della Scala, I paused to admire the ivy creeping up the ancient brick walls and cobbled alleyways branching off from the main road. I passed by a busy butcher shop with legs of prosciutto and strings of sausage hanging in the window, a cheerful contrast to the historic buildings surrounding it.
At the end of the block, I turned left onto Via del Moro. This street was lined with small artisan workshops – violin-makers, leatherworkers, ceramicists. I breathed in the earthy scent of sanded wood and caught a glimpse of an artist carefully applying varnish to a violin through an open door.
As I reached Piazza San Francesco di Paola, the morning foot traffic picked up. Neighbors stood chatting in the piazza, their children dancing around the bubbling stone fountain. The pastry shop on the corner was doing a brisk business, with people popping in to pick up cappuccinos and cornettos to enjoy at the sidewalk tables.
Leaving the piazza behind, I wandered down Via di San Francesco a Ripa. The eclectic mix of restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries had just started to open for the day. Waiters began setting out chairs and menus at a cozy trattoria, while the florist splashed the entryway with buckets of water.
At Via Anicia, I turned left, strolling by the empty outdoor seating of Caffè di Marzio. My mouth watered, imagining drinking an espresso there later this afternoon. But for now, I continued on, enjoying the solitude of the early morning streets.
The morning sun cast everything in a golden glow as I ambled down Via Natale del Grande. I paused to admire the ruins of the Porticus Octavia, a 2nd-century BC temple, its columns and archways weathered by centuries. As I leaned in to examine the detailed brickwork, I felt a connection to the many others who had passed by these same ruins throughout history.
Continuing on, I arrived at the famous Piazza Santa Maria, dominated by the picturesque Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica. Its Romanesque bell tower glowed in the soft morning light. While tourists would soon flock here, at this early hour only churchgoers climbed the wide steps. I watched through the open doors as priests prepared for Mass, their chants echoing in the cavernous space.
From here, I turned onto the boutique-lined Via della Luce once more, smiling as I passed the flower shop owner now watering her outdoor display. The morning hours had flown by on my walk, but Trastevere was now wide awake. Locals on scooters zipped down the narrow streets, on their way to work or school. The sidewalks bustled with families and dog walkers. Turning the corner onto my street, I decided to pop into the corner bakery for a pastry before heading home, feeling grateful to live in such a vibrant Roman neighborhood.