How Italy does Williamsburg

Across the river from the economic center of the city, there’s a small, neighborhood defined by its artisan traditions and grit, a place that artists discovered before the inevitable waves of development pushed them out in favor of upscale bars, restaurants, and an international crowd. Sound familiar?

But this is not just Williamsburg we’re talking about, it’s also Trastevere, a small, originally working class neighborhood of cobble streets in Rome that lies across the Tiber River from the main city.

But how do the two neighborhood’s really stack up?


Trastevere, Rome

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Historic landmark:

Santa Maria Church, where oil sprung miraculously from the ground when Christ was born, according to lore.

McCarren Park Pool, where more than 1 million gallons of water miraculously appeared when Mayor Bloomberg reopened the site this year.

Bridge to the ‘main’ city:

Ponte Sisto, built by Pope Sixtus IV in the 15th Century.

The Williamsburg Bridge, constructed by engineers in 1903.

Pre-gentrification reputation:

The home of “true Romans.”

The home of true artists.

Number of Google hits for neighborhood name and the word “hipsters:”



Roads lead to:



Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.