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 quarter” 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.
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.
Another big attraction is the market that is held every day (except Sundays) in the Piazza Testaccio. The absence of tourists makes this market more interesting, and definitely cheaper, than similar ones in more centrally located districts of Rome.
The Citta dell’Altra Economia (“City of the Other Economy”) is a multifunctional center with a restaurant, a biological supermarket and an exhibition space.
Nowadays the area is best know 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 car repair places.
This Testaccio Guide is written for the Little Italy Rome Hostel guests.