Testaccio | a guide to an authentic neighborhood in Rome

July 06, 2018

Testaccio is located on the edge of the old city, it sits on the bedrock of ancient history with apparent remains that blend in perfectly with the today’s present urban vibe.

A variety of people mingle among the streets of Testaccio which are filled with lively attractions, but above all, this working-class wonderland is where everyone eats pretty well.

This very authentic Roman neighbourhood was originally an emporium and a dump for terracotta amphoras once used for transportation of olive oil and wine. Broken amphoras were disposed of onto a dumpsite which has grown over the centuries into a 35-meter high mountain and at the foot of this man-made mountain several restaurants and bars were put together giving a truly unique setting to dining experiences.

At bar Ketumbar, under the ruins of Monte Testaccio, enjoy authentic flavours which blend harmoniously with local wines and beers. Appetizers are composed of a wide selection from organic, vegetable dishes to gluten-free options.

Ketumbar
Ketumbar

To satisfy the hunger for traditional and authentic Roman food, which warms your heart and belly, seek no other than an old-school restaurant Da Bucatino. With a delightfully relaxed atmosphere and a menu filled with local delicacies, this is a place you will be coming back to for the second time, if not a few more.

Testaccio neighbourhood is home to the real Cucina Romana, holding a very important place in Roman cuisine which is known to us today, mainly due to the slaughterhouse which dominated the area between 1888-1975. In this period many recipes were founded on the basis of the available meat produces together with an idea for nothing to go to waste. Although the slaughterhouse is gone, the spirit behind it lives on and at Testaccio Market among the fresh local produces, you can also find great classic and historic Roman recipes to eat on the spot. No wonder, it is in Testaccio that some of the best eateries can be found.

MACRO museum at the old slaughterhouse
MACRO museum at the old slaughterhouse

Just like the marketplace that has been transformed and modernized, the old slaughterhouse original premises has been converted into several functional spaces. One of them is the museum of contemporary art Rome, MACRO, a perfect place for a cultural exploration and experimentation.       

Among the unexceptional 19th century buildings there are a few gems that stand out and pose for admiration and attraction. Such is the pyramid of Caius Cestius, one of Testaccio most characteristic landmarks, dates back to 12 BC and with its glorious exterior made out of white Carrara marble, it stands for one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in Rome.

Pyramid of Caius Cestius
Pyramid of Caius Cestius

The tranquil grounds of Cimitero Acattolico (better known as a Protestant Cemetery) are tucked behind the pyramid holding graves of eminent non-Catholic figures such as poets Shelley and Keats and the father of Italian communism, Antonio Gramsci. This peaceful collection of memories on these great people, among the palms and cypresses, presents as an ideal place of serenity for an afternoon walk.

Streetart in Testaccio neighbourhood in Rome

Those seeking a good night of fun, pleasure and dancing in Testaccio, will undoubtedly find themselves to be in the city’s colourful nightlife district. Whether you are looking for some masterful cocktails or all night dancing podiums, you will be deeply immersed in the youthful energy of this neighbourhood. At Contestaccio, various musicians from those with experience to those just starting but with beams of enthusiasm rule the night here, several concerts line up in one night.