I love Testaccio. If I were to move to Rome, this is the area I’d want to live in. Not that I could necessarily afford it as it’s a fairly well-to-do residential neighbourhood just south of the centre. Technically it’s still in the Centro Storico (the area enclosed by the old Aurelian walls) but you won’t find many tourists here.
Map of the neighbourhood here, my Google map here.
Transport connections are good. The local metro station, Piramide, is just four stops south of Termini on the B line. The metro station is named after the Pyramid of Cestius (built about 18–12 BC as a tomb for a magistrate) which stands next to Porta San Paolo (one of the southern gates of the Aurelian Walls), just over the road from the station entrance.
The reason I like it so much is because it has just about everything I could possibly want within a short walking distance. There’s heaps of history (literally, Monte Testaccio was a Roman rubbish dump), an excellent market (post here) and several great restaurants and other places to eat (posts here and here).
In November 2021 I was able to live the dream for a short while when I stayed for four nights in the neighbourhood. Breakfast (part 1) was usually taken at Pasticceria Barberini at 41 Via Marmorata.
It’s one of those posh cafes with waiters in white tunics with silver buttons. Everything is top quality and beautifully presented (Advanced A).
Breakfast part 2 was invariably a more rustic sandwich from Mordi & Vai in the new neighbourhood market (post here).
In the evening, during the aperitivo hour, the place to be is Enoteca Palombo (aka L’Oasi della Birra) at 39 Piazza Testaccio (Intermediate B+).
I liked to kick back with a Negroni or a glass of Franciacorta (like Prosecco but better) out on their terrace while watching the residents at play in the neighbourhood’s central square.
The shop itself is a treasure trove of beer and wine, and lots of other interesting ingredients. In addition to the market, it’s a good spot for getting stuff to take home.
As is Salumeria Volpetti (Advanced A) at 47 Via Marmorata, www.volpetti.com, a wonderful deli which stocks a cornucopia of produce from all over Italy. The friendly English-speaking lady who works there has helped me pick several choice items on a couple of occasions, including truffle-infused pasta, cotechino sausage, Lardo di Colonnata and bouquets of dried oregano. They even have tiny tins of smoked Maldon salt, which for me are now an essential travel item I’m never without. Their video here and my video here.
Writing this has made me want to go back so much!
An architecture walk in neighbouring Garbatella next…