A Taste of Testaccio

With its working-class roots and renown as the birthplace of traditional Roman cuisine, Testaccio offers a glimpse of another, less-touristy Rome. It’s not completely off the beaten path but it retains a distinct neighbourhood character and its historic market and popular trattorias are much-loved locally. Food apart, there’s also contemporary art and a grassy hill made of ancient rubbish.

Breakfast at Pasticceria Barberini

Start your day with a bar breakfast at Pasticceria Barberini. To do it Roman-style, stand at the counter and have a caffè (or cappuccino) and cornetto (a croissant filled with jam or rich chocolate cream). Alternatively treat yourself to a pretty pastry from the tempting selection on display.

A Trip to the Market

Testaccio's neighbourhood market, the Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio, is as much about people-watching as shopping. Throughout the morning, stall-holders cheerfully bellow at each other as shoppers browse the piles of colourful produce and displays of shoes, hats and clothes. Come lunchtime and the market's popular food stalls burst into life, serving crowds of local workers and visitors.

Monte Testaccio

Get to the heart of the local landscape at Monte Testaccio. This 54m-high grass-capped mound is essentially a huge pile of amphorae fragments (testae in Latin), dating to the time when Testaccio was ancient Rome’s river port. The amphorae were used to transport wine and oil; once emptied they were smashed and their fragments carefully stacked.

Carbonara at Flavio al Velavevodetto

Testaccio is the ideal place to experience an authentic trattoria meal and nowhere serves better cucina romana (Roman cuisine) than Flavio al Velavevodetto. To keep it local, try carciofo alla giudia (deep-fried artichoke) followed by superlative rigatoni alla carbonara (pasta tubes wrapped in a silky egg sauce spiked with morsels of cured pig's cheek).

Modern Art at the Mattatoio

Spend the afternoon admiring art at the Mattatoio, one of Rome's top contemporary arts venues. The 19th-century complex, itself a fine example of industrial architecture, has long been a local landmark and until 1975 was the city’s main abattoir. Nowadays, it plays host to exhibitions and performances by well-known and up-and-coming artists.

Wine at Barnaba

Round the day off with some wine-tasting at Barnaba, a popular newcomer to the neighbourhood's lively drinking scene. A fashionable wine bar, it has a strong selection of natural and independent Italian labels as well as champagnes and more than 20 wines by the glass.

Key Features

  • Authentic cuisine
  • Contemporary art

Getting There

Metro Line B to Piramide.

Tram Number 3 from San Giovanni or Trastevere.

Stats

  • Start Pasticceria Barberini
  • End Barnaba
  • Length 2.5km; six hours