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Trastevere. How to say it right. PDF Print E-mail
Aug 05, 2012 at 03:38 PM
There's something about English pronunciation that makes Anglo-Saxons mispronounce the name of the Roman neighbourhood I live in, even when they are trying their best. So here's a clue. Trastevere comes from the Latin word, Transtiberim which means, "across the Tiber (river). In Italian, the Tiber is called the Tevere and "Tras Tevere" thus means across the river. Tevere is pronounced Tey -Vey - Rey with the most emphasis on the FIRST syllable. When you say Trastevere, the accent is on the second syllable.

For those who don't remember, when Roma was originally settled, most Romans and their slaves lived around or near the Roman Forum. In the early decades this side of the river was largely unsettled, a place where wealthy Romans had their villas or farmlands but never a location for major ancient monuments Subsequently, it became home for thousands of Jews and "Syrians", that is other Middle and Near Easterners and when the emperor Augustus reformed the structure of the city it became the part of the Regio XIV, that is, the fourteenth urban district. Other early residents, included the early Christians who, if not martyred, were busy constructing the neighborhood's first basilicas, such as Santa Cecilia and Santa Maria in Trastevere.

By the second half of the third century, Trastevere had become a vast urban neighborhood, populated by workers, merchants and artisans. When in the 15th century Pope Sixtus IV built the bridge that took his name, Ponte Sisto, over the ruins of an earlier Roman bridge, it was to facilitate access to Saint Peter's - just a kilometre or so up the river - for the millions of pilgrims that were coming to Rome for the 1475 Holy Year. It is today a pedestrian bridge and one from which you get one of the best river views in Rome.

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