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Trastevere Romanticised: False Promises?

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January 30, 2010 Exploring Rome, Favourite Places 2 Comments

Trastevere. Oh, it is so incredibly charming, magical, and picturesque. And exactly bohemian enough to appeal to just about everyone. Or so says every guidebook in the universe. The proof: Hundreds of tourists traipsing through the narrow streets, exclaiming “Oh, how pretty”, and “isn’t it beautiful”, and then later having pizza on the street, surrounded by countless Germans, Americans, and French people, and feeling oh-so italian.

l trastevere fountain rome Trastevere Romanticised: False Promises?

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Trastevere may have been all these things at some point in time, although my personal opinion is that today, its beauty lies in the more forgotten alleys, and that walking on the beaten paths of Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, Via del Moro, and Via della Scala, can be more chore than delight. But Trastevere was a working-class neighborhood for centuries, heavily populated by immigrants. This made the area unique and accounted for a degree of separation from other, more sophisticated neighborhoods. The distinct identity that this lent to the neighborhood was important and interesting well into the 80’s of the 20th century, but then this identity disappeared, as the area became populated more with people who were fascinated by its reputation, and less by people who had actually shaped or continued to extend that reputation.

Therefore, one could argue that this neighborhood went from being very “real”, to being rather “fake”, in the space of a few decades. I am curious to see what Trastevere will look and feel like a few years from now.

Read a critical observation of Piazza Navona here.

What do you think – is Trastevere still the all around charming place described in the guidebooks? What is the neighborhood developing into? Let us know in the comments.

The next article by Keith is a response to this post, arguing that Trastevere – upon closer examination – has kept its soul (“Appreciating Trastevere: Shut Up and Watch“).


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    [...] is a response to the previous post (“False Promises of a Romanticised Trastevere?“). As the article says, Trastevere is full of foreigners (and that includes Romans and [...]

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    [...] is a response to the previous post (“False Promises of a Romanticised Trastevere?“). As the article says, Trastevere is full of foreigners (and that includes Romans and [...]

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