Recently I took a Japanese friend to Testaccio, the southwest district of Rome, set along the Tiber river near the subway station Pyramid, and there we tasted some of the most amazing cheeses and hams in Rome at Volpetti, the historical gourmet shop on via Marmorata, the main street of the quarter.
It is strange how things rapidly change here because Testaccio was once the working-class residential area of Rome, and now it is becoming a sort of ‘Village' attracting gourmet lovers from all around the world.
This transformation was helped by the recent restyling of the fruit and vegetable market and to Eataly, a 3-storey high tech building packed, as we say, 'con ogni ben di Dio' by every goodness of God of Italian food and wine. In between, many modern restaurants and ice cream shops have opened for the joy of the most discriminating tastes, enriching the already generous offer of this quarter.
In the past centuries, thanking the presence of the capital slaughterhouse ‘mattatoio’, the area was slowly filling with simple restaurants offering the poor cuts of the animals’ frattaglie’ and the perfect refrigerated wine kept in the cellars of the artificial mountain of ‘testae’ from which the area takes the name.
For the happiness of beauty searchers, the area is also rich in historical attractions like the nearby ancient Caius Cestius Pyramid, the acatholic cemetery, where Keats and Shelley are buried, the Capitoline Museums in Centrale Montemartini, and the already mentioned Modern Art wing of the Macro Rome, a museum of contemporary art set in the old cattle market of Rome. Moreover, Testaccio is lately attracting many street artists like Blu, which embellish the side of condominiums, bridges, and abandoned buildings with their giant murals. Monte di Testaccio, or as the Romans fondly call it Monte de Cocci, was created in ancient times by broken vases called ‘testae,’ arrived at the river harbor full of wine and oil: the mountain was created by ancient trash.
Tips: Enjoy the icecream at Gelateria Romana via Ostiense 48; triangular sandwiches stuffed with hot roman specialties at Trapizzino in via Giovanni Branca 88; or if you prefer a solid tradition, enjoy the pastries at Andreotti via Ostiense 54; if you are fond of pizza, try Doppio Zero on via Ostiense 68 which is also able to offer you hot dishes if you had enough of carbos.
Rest under the century pines of the noncatholic cemetery oasis of peace and calm.
For any further information, contact me at http://www.mylovelyrome.com