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                                                  HISTORY OF TRASTEVERE

This was the 'Etrascan side' of the river, and only after the destruction of Veio by Rome in 396 BC did it come under Roman rule. In earliest Republican days this Bank of the Tiber was occupied by Lars Porsenna in his attempt to replace the Tarquins on the Roman throne. Along the waterfront and on the higher ground at foot of the Janiculum, suburban villas were built by the aristocracy. One of these next to the Villa Farnesina, dating from the Augustan age and then destroyed, was excavated in the late 19th century and its magnificent wall-paintings are now preserved in the museumtrastevere_antica in Palazzo Massimo. Under the Empire the district became densely populeted by artisans ans dock-workers. It was probably not entirely enclosed by walls before the time of Aurelia. Trastevere was home to a great number of Jews, who are recorded here as early as the 2nd century BC, they were confined to the Ghetto on the other side of the river. During the Risorgimento the district was a republican stronghold.  (by Rome Blue Guide).

In ancient Rome this was the neighborhood of the Syrian community and, later on, of the Jewish one. It was officially included among the city districts by emperor Augustus, who had a naumachia, i.e. a water stadium for naval battles, built here.

During the  Middle Ages, Rome's population drastically decreased. The Jewish community moved to the eastern side of the river and this area was left uninhabited. It was populated again only two centuries later when the population in Rome had already started to grow.

Today the district can be divided into three parts, each with a Ancient Trastevere spirit of its own. The northern part, which includes the Janiculum Hill and via della Lungara, is mostly covered with parkland, and scattered with monuments and memories of Rome's 19th century history; the central part preserved its typical texture of narrow lanes, but it is often too crowded at night, due to the high number of bars, restaurants, pubs, wine houses and similar establishments; the southern part, silent and somewhat decadent, is still rich of treasures of art and charming corners.

The hill does not belong to the famous seven hills over which the city was founded, so it is also nicknamed 'the eighth hill'. Its name likely comes from that of the two-headed god Ianus; then, during the Middle Ages, it was called Mons Aureus ("golden hill") due to the color of its sand, but at a later stage the name was corrupted into Montorio (see further in the page). It is Rome's best viewpoint, especially in the late afternoon, when the city below is ignited by the setting sun with a yellowish light that enhances the natural color of most of Rome's buildings. A road runs all the way along the top of the hill, with breathtaking views over the city's skyline.
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