If you think that Trastevere's charming streets and buildings look downright Medieval, that's because they are: this neighborhood, located across the river from Rome's bustling center, is an incredibly well-preserved glimpse into medieval Rome. But it's got more than Medieval history—it dates back to antiquity, and Julius Caesar once called the neighborhood his second home.
According to historian Stacy Schiff, Caesar's country estate included a colonnaded court, a mile-long, lushly planted garden, and an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures. Caesar mainly lived in the center of the city, near the Forum, with his third wife, Calpurnia. But it is here in his villa Horti Caesaris, that he is believed to have entertained Cleopatra when she was in Rome in 46 B.C.. Though it's impossible to pinpoint exactly where the villa once stood, one can gaze across the Tiber toward the center of Rome as the Egyptian queen once did with her son, and Caesar's love-child, Caesarion.
Wandering the streets of Trastevere transports one back through several periods of Roman history. Visit the 12th-century Basilica di Santa Maria or check out the Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance-era villa with frescoes by artsits like Raphael.
To get to Trastevere, you can either walk from the city center (you can cross the river via the stone footbridge Ponte Sisto) or talk public transportation (tram number 8 to Viale Trastevere).