A Perfect Day in Testaccio, Part Three

This is how we ended our perfect day in Testaccio, by wandering around the vast former slaughterhouse complex which now houses the fabulous market where we feasted, as well as the Testaccio branch of the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (MACRO).

First, we discovered an installation of pipes of various lengths hanging from the eaves of one of the slaughterhouse buildings. It didn’t take us long to figure out what to do:  run through them and set them to motion, creating a giant wind chime.

The chimes hanging from the old slaughterhouse processing rails
The chimes hanging from the old slaughterhouse processing rails

Next, we ambled through an outside art installation.

MACRO Testaccio installation - a big head
MACRO Testaccio installation – a big head
Crouching man
Crouching man, with slaughterhouse holding pens behind him
Defying gravity
Defying gravity

But what we came here for was pulling is in… “Big Bambu” is a gigantic installation made of — in case you couldn’t tell by the name — bamboo. It’s a giant, twisted cone-shaped bird’s nest, held together only by colorful cords. And it’s big, really big, as it towers over the slaughterhouse buildings.

Big Bambu is shaped like an upside town tornado
Big Bambu is shaped like an upside town tornado

Its creators, Doug and Mike Starn, had previously created a similar installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so we were excited to visit Rome’s unique version. And Rome’s installation is terrific. As you enter and climb in it, you walk on a narrow path, which twists up, and then down, like a double helix.

Held together with colorful cords
Held together with colorful cords
In the heart of Big Bambu
In the heart of Big Bambu
View looking out over Rome
View looking out over Rome

Big Bambu is simply an amazing experience — it is disconcerting to climb so high on what seems to be such a delicate structure, but you know it is absolutely safe. Actually, it is exhilarating, and the view over Rome was stunning. All in all, a terrific ending to a perfect day in the Eternal City.

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