A Perfect Day in Testaccio, Part One

A few weeks ago, I spent what I think was a truly perfect day in Rome, on a Sunday in Testaccio. I go to Testaccio periodically to pay my respects to my father, who is buried in the Protestant Cemetery, and from there my stomach leads me further on.

On my last visit to Testaccio, I happily consumed some local craft beers with the friendly guys at Il Birrivendolo, but today I needed some food, too. So, we walked from the cemetery around Monte Testaccio, a man-made hill made of olive oil amphorae discarded when Testaccio was an industrial river port for ancient Rome. You can see the layers and layers of clay amphorae shards:

Monte Testaccio
Monte Testaccio

We rounded Monte Testaccio and walked to the Sunday market, Città dell’Altra Economia & BioMercato, housed in the same enormous old slaughterhouse complex as the branch of MACRO, the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma — more on MACRO in Part Three of this post. In the front of MACRO we found some wonderful vendors of all things delicious pig as well as mouth watering cheese, craft beer, garlic, vegetables, honey, and more. We feasted on a snack of fried olives and several pleasant beers.

Mouth-watering cheeses
Mouth-watering cheeses
Lots of delicious pig products
Lots of delicious pig products
Many other local foods to choose from as well
Many other local foods to choose from as well

Then we walked towards the back of the slaughterhouse complex, where a combination produce and flea market was going on. This place was packed with families and friends enjoying the warm afternoon and the generous outdoor seating. Kids played foosball or soccer, and people leisurely strolled, ate, drank, and chatted. There was also some fabulous street art, which I’ll cover in Part Two of this post.

Città dell'Altra Economia
Città dell’Altra Economia
Street art and a glimpse of the market going on
Street art and a glimpse of the market going on
Outdoor seating. with vendor booths in the background
Outdoor seating. with vendor booths in the background

We headed to Cafè Boario and grabbed a tray, ordering meatballs, chicken, and a ton of vegetables and beans… and a few more beers. Then we sat outside in the sun, soaking it all in, gazing at the giant slaughterhouse yard and the landmark Gasometro in the distance. For a perfect day when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

 

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