It was not originally part of Rome, being Etruscan territory. Some of the earliest Christian churches were built in Trastevere. Already in the 4th century we find the names of St Crisogono, St Maria and St Cecilia in Trastevere.
A hidden highlight in Trastevere is the renaissance Villa Farnesina, contructed for one of the richest personnalities of his time, Agostino Chigi, in 1506. Agostino Chigi was a rich Sienese banker and treasurer of Pope Julius II. The marvelous inside decoration, painted by Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo and Giulio Romano, find their climax in the loggia with frescoes depicting the classical myths of Cupid and Psyche, and The Triumph of Galatea, all painted by Raphael.
From the Janiculum Hill there is a special panorama of the city. Exactly at 12 a.m. every day a canon shot signs the exact time.
Very close to the panoramic terrace we find San Pietro in Montorio, the church which was for long believed to be the spot of St Peter’s death. In the Renaissance the famous Temple of Bramante or “tempietto” was built on the place where he supposedly died. It is a charming miniature temple of perfect proportions.
The Isola Tiberina – the Tiber Island – is linked to many legends regarding the origin of Rome. The island is said to have been created by silt that piled up on the crops of the Taquins. This, together with their crops, was thrown into the Tiber when the last king of this line, Tarquin the Proud, was driven out of Rome in the 6th Ccentury BC.
The island has always been dedicated to medicine. In antiquity there was the temple of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. Today the hospital of the Brothers of St John of God continues the island’s medical tradition.
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