"Rione Testaccio - Via Marmorata: Discover Testaccio, Walk on Monte Testaccio (Testaccio Hill)" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 26th June 2011
The name of the street "Marmorata" confirms the existence of a huge deposit of marbles (marmo (it.) = marble) on the coast of the river in times when it was an ancient river port where all the building materials brought to Rome for imperial and other kinds of constructions where unloaded from the ships. In 1867-1870, in the epoch of Pius IX, in course of consolidation works of the sides of Tiber some big quantities of different marbles were discovered. In the Middle Ages this place should have been considered as a nearly bottomless cave of marble materials.
The first plan regulating the growth of Rome-capital elaborated in 1873-1883 recognized among the zones destined for the expansion, a zone limited by the Aventine Hill, the Walls and the Tiber as a zone of working people with economical and relatively cheap houses and apartments and little work-shops. Testaccio is the 21st district of Rome and takes name from the Monte Testaccio, an artificial hill 35 m high with a perimeter of 850m.
In the Middle Ages the zone of Testaccio was adapted for the sport and recreation of Roman people (Prati del Popolo Romano), here took place different kind of performances, horse races, battles, corrida and other, specially in the carnival period (before it was transferred to the center of the city at Piazza del Popolo and via del Corsi in the 15th century by Paul II). Border of Rione Testaccio (R.XX) are: Via Marmorata, piazza dell'Emporio, riva sinistra del Tevere, viale del Campo Boario, piazza di Porta San Paolo.
A walk to Testaccio along the Tiber in Rome allows you to discover an aspect of Testaccio often forgotten because of the intense traffic and commercial life. The old area was not to be very different from modern overlooking the Tiber seen that favored the construction of port facilities and huge warehouses for unloading and storage of goods that went up the river after a long sea voyage. Still remembers the way Mormorata the presence of ancient masons had their workshops here.
You will see the remains of the imposing Porticus Aemilia, the remains of structures via Mormorata, the unique funerary monument of Piramide di Caio Cestio (Pyramid of Gaius Cestius) (pitured below)which is the pyramid that characterizes this area of Rome, and with the Porta Ostiense Aurelian Walls (pictured above). The pyramid itself is enclosed in the Aurelian Walls. A walk that can incorporate a visit to Monte dei Cocci.
The Pyramid of Gaius Cestius and Porta San Paolo - up to the late 19th century
The Aurelian's wall beyond the Pyramid of Cestius or Piramide Cestia (Piramide di Caio Cestio) now looks neat and clean, having recently undergone a careful restoration. The coat of arms of Nicholas V (1447-55), hanging above the towers, reminds us that similar works had also been commissioned by this pope 500 years ago.
This is one of its best preserved parts, with rectangular towers at regular distances, that make a very typical view. Soon you will come to a crossing where a number of modern archways have been opened. The walkable passage on the inner side becomes once again clearly visible. Here the wall surrounds another small burial ground, the British Military Cemetery, where the soldiers who fell at the end of WW II now rest.
Monte Testaccio (Testaccio Hill) is an artificial hill 35m high with a perimeter of 850m. It is nothing else but a heap of amphorae thrown away and systematically heaped up in a certain dump place. The near by river port produced the rubbish of this kind in enormous quantities: amphorae of oil, wine and other containers for the fish. As a consequence the "testae" (amphorae) had to be set aside which was done with a particular technique consisting of regular heaping up of the pieces of this earthenware with the layers of ground making this construction firm. It was counted that this little hill was formed in a period of six centuries.
Testaccio, once home to the municipal slaughterhouse, is at first glance an unassuming quarter Testaccio is an area to the southwest of Aventino along the bank of the Tiber and is named for the eighth hill of Rome, a man made hill that was built from discarded pot amphoras (testae) in Roman times.
The hill has a base perimeter of about 3,330 feet and a height of 150 feet above the sea level. It constitutes an important source of historical documentation about the economic development of the Roman Empire, the commercial relations between the Capitol and its Provinces, as well as the food habits of the Romans.
In fact many of the amphorae that came mainly from Baetica (current Andalusia) and Bizacena (North Africa) containing olive oil, have the trademark impressed on their handles, while others present the tituli picti, i.e. notes written with a brush that specify the name of the exporter, indications of the contents, and the controls performed during the shipment and the date. Calculations based onthe number of amphorae accumulated on Monte Testaccio allowed to establish the amount of oil that reached Rome in this period, which was of about 6 kg of oil per person per year, for a population of about one million persons.
From the top of the hill, you can peer through a burnished monastery keyhole and see a postcard-perfect view of St. Peter's Basilica across the valley; the hill forms a natural wall between working and touristy Rome. This helps Testaccio retain a low-rent, raffish air in which interesting restaurants, clubs, and cafes thrive, and the line between street and home is often blurred.
Visit MACRO Testaccio is located in the same complex that was home to a slaughterhouse during the19th century, in a neighborhood that has, in recent years, begun to stand out for the richness and variety of its cultural and artistic events, mainly targeted at young audiences.
The Historical Museum of the National Fire Brigade (Museo Storico dei Vigili del Fuoco) was transferred from the Anti-fire School in Capannelle to the historical Barracks of the Fire Brigade in Testaccio. The collection embraces a very large span of time, starting from the third century AD, when the first organizations capable of facing the dangers of fire already existed, up to our times. Ancient fire trucks make a fine show together with the anti-fire equipment and the historical uniforms of this Corps whose origin dates so far back in time.
City markets are fast places to locate natives in action. The Testaccio market forms the heart of the neighborhood, taking up roughly four square blocks. A series of stalls contains a lively center where commotion, bright lights, and singsong voices can have you thinking you're a bit player in a live opera. Around the periphery of the Testaccio market you'll find stands selling clothes and shoes and mechanical things.
Testaccio is pleasingly scruffy at the edges. Near a park that was once a dump — a most romantic dump, still with stacks of the narrow-necked jugs called amphoras that once contained olive oil from Morocco and Spain — a cobble.
In Testaccio you can find great traditional roman restaurants, and at night the zone is filled with discos. There you will find club after club smashed together in a horse-shoe shape, with young and old swarming the narrow, cobblestone streets. You will find stands of loud-mouthed vendoli (picture baseball games) selling bottles of wine and beer on the street, your fuel for the night. You will find Romans dressed (and barely dressed at all) to impress.
Rione Testaccio - Via Marmorata
00153, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Zone: Rione Ripa (Circo Massimo-Bocca Verità-Aventino) (Roma centro) / Rione Testaccio (Roma centro)
Rione Testaccio - Via Marmorata is Shown By "Map J Zone" As "47, 48 and 51"
Easy access to Aventino from most areas of Rome. From Termini area take a bus to Piazza Venezia and walk from there to reach Piazza Bocca della Verità. Testaccio is a short walk from Piramide metro station and there is also a metro Line B station at the end of Circus Maximus. Near Piramide Metro station is Ostiense railway station, with regular connections to and from Fiumicino Airport. From Piramide you can also get trains to Ostia. You can just catch a cab from Piazza Venezia for around 5 Euro and if you are on a tight budget there are also the night buses n10, and n11 and n9 on via Marmorata. To get to Testaccio from the city center requires a pleasant zigzag walk south along the Tiber (or a fast cab ride). Also see: Getting MACRO Testaccio Complex and La Pelanda
Contact - Monte Testaccio (Testaccio Hill)
Via Nicola Zabaglia, 24
Hours: Closed: Monday, January 1, May 1, December 25. Open to organized groups by reservation only.
Entrance: Regular Tickets: Adults: € 3,00, Concessions: € 2,00. Please note: The price of the ticket does not include guided tours organized by Cultural Associations.
Telephone and Booking: Booking required. Groups: tel. +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm). Schools: tel. +39 0642888888 (Moday-Friday: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm; Saturday: 9.00 am- 1.00 pm).
Contact - Museum of the National Fire Brigade (Museo Storico dei Vigili del Fuoco)
Telephone: 0039 06 5746808
Telephone booking: 0039 06 5746808. Booking required.
Fax: 0039 06 5781495