The Ghetto, the island and Trastevere walk

The Ghetto, the island and Trastevere walk. Today’s full day walking tour covers a wide area of the historic center of Rome and touches places of great beauty: the Velabrum, the Ghetto, the island and the Trastevere. The self guided walking tour I suggest is suitable for curious tourists really wanting to discover Rome without stopping only to classical monuments. If you love the standard routes or if you are not walkers, probably this route is not for you. The starting point of the self guided walking tour is Santa Maria in Cosmedin, that tourists know only because, on the outside, there is the Mouth of truth.

The Ghetto, the island and Trastevere walk: morning

The first part of the morning is devolved to discover beautiful and little visited churches and ends in the Ghetto area. If you can, stop at Via del Portico d’Ottavia No. 1 to sample the pastries oven Boccione, they are selling fast!

Velabro: a quick close up
So is called that marshy space at the feet of the Palatine, where is said to have been found Romulus and Remus. The word velabrum takes its origin from vehendo, and denotes that this marsh was to be crossed with rafts drawn by oxen. It is said also that the mentioned word derives from velus (marsh). The Velabro was paved, like other ancient roads, with Polygonal stoncs, after having been drained by means of the cloaca Massima,for order of the last Kings of Rome.

Share, copy, print the map or read it on your phone or tablet via Google My Maps app

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Step 1 Enlarge the map and visualize it online. Click on the icon with 3 vertical dots and click on “Export to KML”.

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Step 5 Open the email on your phone. Select the KML file attachment and scroll through the open options until you see the Maps.ME app.

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Step 7 You will be able to use this map with GPS even without a phone signal!


Starting point:Piazza della Bocca della Verità
S. Maria in Cosmedin
Bocca della Verità

Rome self guided walking tour: Basilica_di_Sant-Anastasia
iazza di S. Anastasia
Basilica di Sant’Anastasia
In the middle age the pope celebrated the second mass of the night of Christmas. Under this church there is the plan of August’s house and considerables avances of the Circus Maximus.


Via di San Teodoro 74
Mercato amico (farmer market) for a sandwich or a lunch on the fly.

Via del Velabro, 19
S.Giorgio in Velabro
This church remounts to the VII century. It was re-erected by S, Zaccaria pope of the VIII century; restored in the XIII century’ by Stefano Ex-Stella, prior, of the same church-who built the portico. The iscription, dates from the XVI century. It is not true that the church was the basilica of Sempronio Gracco. It. is notorius that in, the middle age, the word “Velabrum” was altered, Velum aureum.

Rome self guided walking tour: San -Nicola in carcere

Via del Teatro di Marcello, 46
S. Nicola in Carcere
That church was built in the IX. century and renewed by Servi in 1865, there was the Argiletum, a street with many shops, ending to Porta Flumentana.

Piazza di Campitelli
Santa Maria in portico in Campitelli
It was rebuilt toward the 1685 after designs of Charles Rainaldi by support of the Roman people. It stands in the place called formerly Campite1li. It is also called S. Maria in Portico from the name of the very ancient Portic of Galla, near the forum romanum magnum, and not, as it is wrongly thought, by the Portic of Octavia.

Via dei Funari
S. Caterina dei Funari
Built in the XII. century and was called Domina Rosa. Rebuilt for order of Card. Cosi in 1564 after designs of James della Porta. There are paintings by Zuccari. The two pictures Santa Margherita and Crowning of the Virgin are by Caracci.

Via Michelangelo Caetani 32
Palazzo Mattei
It was built for order of Duke Asdrubale Mattei, after designs of Maderno, in the courtyard are many statues, and bas-reliefs. At the first floor ( not open to the public) there are some frescoes by Pomarancio, Domenichino and Pietro da Cortona. Visitors are allowed to visit the courtyard only (closed on Sunday).


Piazza Mattei
Turtles fountain

Via del Portico D’Ottavia
Portico of Octavia
It was the first marble-monument erected in Rome, by Augustus. It formed a rectangular courtyard, with a double arcade, and there stood the temples of Jupiter and Juno. The entrance was dedicated to the memory of Octavia, sister of Augustus. There was discovered the marble Venus of the Medici’s and in 1878- was found out the base of it, with the inscription to Cornelia dei Gracchi, which -is now at the palace of the Conservatori (Capitoline museums). 

Try the pastries at Boccione, Via del Portico D’Ottavia No. 1.

Do you feel inspired and hungry to try something in a Jewish taverna? Try “La taverna del Ghetto”*

Lungotevere Dè Cenci
Jewish Synagogue and museum

The Ghetto, the island and Trastevere walk: afternoon

In the afternoon enjoy the view from the bridge Tiberino and visit the Tiber Island for a glimpse of the past. Head to the church of Santa Cecilia and go in the underground crypt…where you’ll find a gem.


Ponte Fabricio
It is called also, Quattro Capi, for the four-headed figures on the balustrades. It was built in the year 690 of Rome by L. Fabricio, curator vicarum. It was called ponte Tarpeo and in the middle-ages pons Iudaerum.

Via di Ponte Quattro Capi
San Bartolomeo all’Isola
This church was built in 903 on the ruins of the temple of Esculapius, it was rebuilt by S. Gelasius II in 1118 and restored by Cardinal Santorio under the direction of Martin Longhi who added four columns to the facade, the interior is divided into three naves by 24 columns chiefly granite, supposed to have belonged to the ancient temple of Esculapius. The fresco over the high altar representing S. Bartholomew whose remains are deposited beneath it in a porphyry urn, is by Francesco Manno, the paintings in the chapels dedicated to S. Antonio di Padua, to the Madonna and to the Passion are by Antonio Caracci, the Blessed Cinthia Castellani is by an unknown author.
Opening hours Monday to saturday 09.00 – 13.00 / 15.30 – 17.30 Sunday 9.00 – 13.00 / 18.30 – 20.00
Ponte Cestio

Rome self guided walking tour: san-benedetto in piscinula

Piazza in Piscinula, 40
S. Benedetto in Piscinula Church

Vicolo di Santa Maria in Cappella
Piazza dei Mercanti

Santa Cecilia 1Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 22
S. Cecilia
In the place we find some elegant houses of the XIV century, and in the courtyard, before the church, there is a large ancient vase, called cantari. The portico has four coulumns of red granit and african marble. The mosaics are of IX century. The church was erected in 230 by Urban I in the spot where was the house of S.ta Cecilia, and rebuilt by Pascalis I, who found the body of S. ta Cecilia in the catacombs of S. Calistus. Clemente VII gave the church to the Benedittine.

Are you too tired after this intense walk? You can stop to eat at “Roma Sparita”, nearby Santa Cecilia and continue the walk after dinner.

Via Anicia, 10
S. Maria del Orto

If it is a weekday continue the route: The church is open from Monday to Saturday during the following hours: 9.30-12.30, 15.30 to 18.30. If it is Sunday jump the Church of S. Maria dell’Orto and go true the following streets: Via dei Genovesi, via della Luce

Piazza di San Francesco D’Assisi, 88
S. Francesco a Ripa

Santa Maria in Trastevere 8
Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere
S. Maria in Trastevere
Here was the Tarberna Meritaria, house for the old soldiers. In this spot was a spring of oil miraculously welled forth at the time of the birth of Christ. From which the title of the church fons olei. In 347 a church was erected here dedicated to the Virgin and then changed in a basilica by Innocent II in 1189. It was restored by Nicholas V. under the direction of Ropellini. The  portico was erected by Clement XI from designs by Fontana.

Take a quick look at: Vicolo del piede
Piazza Sant’Egidio
Piazza della scala
Via di Santa Dorotea, 23
S. Dorotea
Piazza Trilussa

piazza trilussa

The Ghetto, the island and Trastevere walk: dinner

La Taverna del Ghetto
The food is excellent, the menu full of traditional Jewish-Roman courses cooked with skillful craftsmanship, excellent raw materials. Cons: Local very small for the number of tables accommodated, it is difficult to move.
Type: kosher restaurant
Via Portico D’Ottavia 8
Tripadvisor review

Roma Sparita
The restaurant overlooks one of the beautiful squares present in the fascinating Trastevere, the service is very prompt and professional despite being the local always full, the menu offers a wide selection ranging from meat to fish with the inevitable Roman cuisine.
Type: roman cuisine
Piazza Santa Cecilia 24
Tripadvisor review

Type: street food
Vicolo del Cedro 26
Tripadvisor review

Taverna Trilussa
Here are the best amatriciana of Rome, served in copper pot, worthily enhanced by spectacular wines.
Type: roman cuisine
Via del Politeama 23
Tripadvisor review

Osteria Ponte Sisto
The restaurant is small, it is better to reserve, and this helps to make the atmosphere friendly, even the decor is typical of Roman tavern. The cuisine is simple and genuine, as first course, I suggest gricia, carbonara and amatriciana, among the second courses, i would opt for straccetti and saltimbocca, as for the sweet the torta della nonna with cream and pine nuts.
Type: roman cuisine
Via di Ponte Sisto 80
Tripadvisor review

Ai Bozzi
In the heart of Trastevere, is a wonderful place, the staff is trained and friendly! The distinctive bumps on the ceiling create a cave effect, the restaurant is elegant and quiet.
Type: roman cuisine
Piazza Giuditta Tavani Arquati, 107
Tripadvisor review

Got lost? Are you lost? See, from your phone, the web site that allows you to easily find out which bus or metro or tram to take to reach your next destination. You can use the same site to call a taxi.

The Velabrum, the Ghetto, the island and Trastevere, is a Rome self guided walking tour that will make you discover the hidden beauty of three picturesque areas – rich in history – of the city of Rome.