Testaccio is the name of Rome‘s 20th rione. It is one of the most important nighttime areas of the city. This has resulted in the area, originally a quartiere popolare (“people’s district” as called by the Romans themselves), being taken over by a wealthier, yuppie part of the population.
Testaccio District Rome (rione XX)
History and description
The 35 meter Monte Testaccio is an artifical hill, consisting of layers and layers of broken clay pottery, and thus an important source of archeological information about Ancient Rome. The name Monte Testaccio comes from Monte di coccio (“mountain of earthenware”). The reason that the hill is in this exact spot is its nearness to the former Porto dell’Emporio harbor, final destination of goods that had originally been unloaded at Rome’s sea port of Ostia. The number of pieces of pottery making up the hill is thought to be approximately 25 million.
During World War II there was an anti-aircraft station in the area. Of four of the platforms where the cannons used to stand traces are still visible.
Tourist attractions in Testaccio
Ex-Mattattoio and MACRO Museum
The district used to be inhabited by a good number of butchers. The former, enormous slaughterhouse (ex-Mattattoio) now houses one of the seats of the MACRO (Museo di Arte Contemporanea – Roma) Museum.
Roa’s “Jumping Wolf”
A district like Testaccio cannot be devoid of street art. Just outside the ex-Mattattoio the entire side of a condominium has been painted with an enormous mural titled “Jumping Wolf”. It was painted in occasion of the Avanguardie Urbane Roma Street Art Festival 2014, by the Belgian artist Roa.
Piazza Testaccio Market and the Fountain of the Amphorae
The number of jars making up the Fontana delle Anfore in the Piazza Testaccio is 45, but the total number of parts making up the fountain is 350. Its heaviest element weighs 2800 kilos. The market in this square is held every day (except Sundays). The absence of tourists makes this market more interesting, and decidedly cheaper, than similar ones in more centrally located districts of Rome.
Citta dell’Altra Economia
The Citta dell’Altra Economia (“City of the Other Economy”) is a multifunctional center with a restaurant, a biological supermarket and an exhibition space.
The Testaccio Fountain or Pius IX Fountain is located in the Lungotevere Testaccio. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Pius IX, to celebrate (and brag about) having the walls along the river Tiber constructed.
Nowadays the area is best known for its clubs, restaurants and pubs. Many of these have been created in spaces that were carved into the side of the Monte Testaccio and were originally used as osterie, but also as car repair places.
From Roma Termini, take metro line B. Get off at the Piramide stop.