Overlooked neighborhoods of Rome Part 2 – Testaccio

Testaccio is the former blue-collar neighborhood, once the location of the city slaughterhouses, located south of the Circus Maximus near the Tiber River. It’s now becoming an area of funky boutiques and health food stores, while remaining filled with great local restaurants, bakeries and a large, covered market. Visit the excellent Volpetti food shop on Via Marmorata, 47 (Closed Sunday) for the best selection in the city of cheeses, salami and other portable goodies – they will allow you to sample almost any item. They have a website and deliver worldwide so they can let you know how to take home those yummy edibles and pack them accordingly (shrink wrapped too for those taking stuff home).

An unusual site in this neighborhood is Monte Testaccio – a “mountain” that was built from the remains of the clay pots, which used to deliver goods to the ancient Roman ports by way of the tiber river. Several restaurants and nightclubs are built into the hill, which is now covered in foliage and you can view the ruins from inside some of these locales. Another unusual attraction is the historic Protestant Cemetery – behind Rome’s very own pyramid – an unlikely way to spend the afternoon, but in the summer months it offers an incredible respite because of the huge shade trees. You can sit on a cool marble bench, visit with the local cats from the cat sanctuary and pay your respects to Keats. At the partially renovated former city slaughterhoues, check out the new branch of the MACRO art museum as well as the newly opened complex Citta dell Altra Economia dedicated solely to fair trade products including a retail shop, bar, grocery store and restaurant. Some restaurants to try in the area: Tutti Frutti, via Luca della Robbia, 3A, (closed Sunday, open for dinner only, 06.5757902), Da Felice, via Mastro Giorgio, 29 (Closed Sunday dinner), Nè Arte Nè Parte, via Luca della Robbia, 15. (Closed Monday, 06.5750279)

by Steven Brenner

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