Neighbourhood guides: Testaccio

It is said that Rome, regarded by its locals as the centre of the world, was founded in April by the brothers Romulus and Remus. To honour the foundation of the iconic Eternal City, Romans enjoy a host of special events throughout the month of April including concerts, parades and historical re-enactments.

As part of the celebrations, we take an insider’s look into some of our favourite, undiscovered rione, or districts, to unearth the culture of the area and reflect the soul of modern Rome. We asked local photographer Daniele Vergari to take us on a tour of Testaccio, a bustling neighbourhood dominated by Monte Testaccio and known for its culinary delights. 

What makes Testaccio such a special neighbourhood?

Testaccio is one of the most ancient neighbourhoods in Rome. In antiquity, much of the Tiber River trade took place here, and the remains of broken clay vessels were stacked together creating the artificial Monte Testaccio. During more modern times it became a typical working class neighbourhood, but recently it has become known for its authentic Roman food culture. Testaccio is not a very touristy place so you can find the real Roman life here.

Describe Testaccio in three words

Ancient, Modern, Genuine.

Describe your perfect day in Testaccio

The day in Testaccio starts at Pasticceria Linari for breakfast – they are known in Rome for their amazing croissants and pastarelle (typical Italian sweets with loads of flavours). After that, you can’t miss a visit to MACRO, a beautiful contemporary art museum in an old abattoir.

 For lunch, swing by Mercado di Testaccio where you’ll find typical Roman street food, including some of the city’s best pizza. After lunch, visit the non-catholic cemetery to see some incredible mausoleums. From there you can reach the only pyramid in Rome: Piramide Cestia, the tomb of an ancient Roman magistrate, Gaius Cestius.

Afterwards, stop for a drink at Rec 23, known for its great aperitivo. After that, you can have a walk around the neighbourhood before reaching Testaccio square, a big place where you can find locals meeting up to talk and pass the time. For dinner, I would recommend pasta at Felice a Testaccio restaurant. Testaccio is also known for its fantastic and varied nightlife if you are interested!

Does Testaccio have its own style?

Mercado di Testaccio is full of little shops where you can find great street food. In Testaccio, you can also find little restaurants and taverns serving typical Roman food, often frequented by the locals, like Felice a Testaccio or Flavio al Veloavevodetto. If you want to try a more modern take on the classic pizza you simply can't miss Trapizzino. 

What draws you to Testaccio?

The MACRO museum is my favourite part of Testaccio – it usually hosts beautiful contemporary and digital art exhibitions. The nightlife is also great here! It's a great place to find all different sorts of Romans mixing!

Do you have any favourite spots in Testaccio?

One of my favourite places in Testaccio is a restaurant called Angelina. It has an amazing style and a very good Sunday brunch bringing people from all over the city to relax with friends.

Does Testaccio have a vibrant cultural scene?

The street food scene in Testaccio is great because of all the little shops you can find in the market. Testaccio also has its own typical Roman street style and the design scene orbits around the MACRO museum and its contemporary art.