Castel Sant’Angelo

Our blasphemous feet burning, we leave the colorful Swiss guards and raspy Jingle Bells of the Vatican and exit out of the mini city/country along the main drag, Via della Conciliazione. Good view back on St Peter’s Basilica along this iconic street. Embassy flags waving in the wind.

Phones out, routing ourselves to the place Waldo and Posty were recommending online. “Trastavere is South of here, basically along the Tiber.” “River walk. High bromance.” “Yeaaa Boooiii!”

We spin around and are immediately greeted by a round, fortified castle and walls.

The Mausoleum of Hadrian was built from 134 – 139 CE by Emperor Hadrian as a resting place for him and his family. His ashes were placed here a year after his death in 138. It was converted to a military fortress in 401. It got the name Castel Sant’Angelo, as it’s now known, after Archangel Michael appeared on the roof one evening, sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague of 590 was finally over. Cheers homie. Then some churchy folks took over and fortified it into more of a castle structure in the 14th century. And now it is a museum.

We decide to pass on going in there since we have much bigger, world wonder fish to fry today. We also pass on the bracelets that some pushy Senegalese dudes try to put on our wrists as we stroll by. Soft hands and beautiful smiles, but a scams a scam and this smells of scam. “You check your pockets?”, “Yeah, all good.”

We walk along the Tiber and there are surprisingly few tickle fights. The bridges across to the other side are spectacular. Lined with statues and columns (Skopje eat your heart out). Some riverboats are moored up along the banks. It’s a beauty day here in Rome and it continues to impress every where you look.


We get to the Trastevere area and it’s instantly cool with it’s bourbon colored buildings and vines crawling up the walls. Lots of chill and trendy looking cafes, bars, and restaurants. I can see why our travel buds like this place. Feels old and lived, lots of character.

Hmmmm this fernet sign almost has us dipping in.

We meander through the area aimlessly, more or less just taking in the vibe. It’s lunch time and most of the places have lines to get in. We check in on one and the host says it’s an hour long wait.

“Guess we didn’t time this very well.” “Ya, just like everything else. You hungry?” “Not so much.” “Alright, let’s just mosey around.”

We mosey around. Very relaxed vibe here. Loving the old hole-in-the-wall joints and vines hanging down everywhere.

We pass through a wonderful square in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere (Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere).

Interesting mix of tourists, locals, and students in the area. Lots of foot traffic here.

We skirt out of super-hip Trastevere, cross the Tiber, and are back near the forum again.

“Wow, this place looked way better at night, eh?” “Totally. I mean… it’s still incredibly cool. Still seems crazy that nobody was out and about at night though.”

We poke around the odd tidbits we missed on our first pass.

We stumble upon Zerosettantacinque where we were blowing it up moth-style the other night. There’s a line to get in here for lunch too. We find a doorway to a rooftop patio though and that’ll do just fine. Order up some brain suds and za. The rain starts coming on a little but we’re decently covered by some brellas.

I point to a part of the menu that says, “Life is what happens between coffee and wine.” Some of my friends have a side chat where we blast trite sayings like this. MacKay laughs , “Or in our case, breakfast brain suds and jagger mojitos.”

The beers are going down great and the pizza is just medium. The plate is cool. We wait for the rain to subside a bit. Or at least we use that as an excuse to get a couple more rounds.

Alright, enough dilly-dallying. Time to get to the real deal. We pass by the Arch of Constantine en route to the Colosseum.

“Ready to knock off another world wonder?” “You know it.”


2 thoughts on “Trastavere

  1. I also think you’d like the Trastavere area, it’s livelier in the evening with a great choice of terraces, but the masses of tourists work against the quality of the food.

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