REAL FOOD. REAL PLACES. REAL PEOPLE.
Known to locals as the “heart of Rome”, Testaccio is the city’s original foodie neighborhood and where cucina romana (roman cuisine) was born.
Rome’s protein-rich recipes are routinely spiced up by ingredients from the quinto quarto – the “fifth quarter” of the animal. It’s not a casuality, that the ex slaughterhouse designed by Gioacchino Ersoch between 1888 and 1891 is in the rione Testaccio. Common in quinto quarto dishes are tripe, pigs’ feet, brain, heart, liver, kidneys, tongue…. just to name a delicious few. Coda alla vaccinara (butcher-style oxtail) is one of the most famous of these Roman variety meat-based recipes. It is made by stewing oxtail, celery, onions, guanciale or lard, garlic, cinnamon, and other aromatic herbs.
Despite the city’s imperial pedigree, Roman cuisine is the food of the people; flavored by lard and olive oil, perfumed by sage, rosemary, cinnamon, marjoram, and mint. Its flora are the artichoke, the pea, the puntarelle, the fava bean, and the chickpea. Its fauna are the pig, the lamb, and the cod. True to the cuisine’s proletariat origins, no part of the animal goes to waste. Roman food has also been influenced by the influxes of Jewish immigrants to the region. Rome’s preferred cheese is the hard, salty Pecorino Romano. The slightly sweet Ricotta Romana comes in at a close second.
Here you’ll get to escape the crowds and really get a glimpse of daily life while tasting the best of what the city has to offer.
FOOD, SLOW FOOD, REAL FOOD
One of the highlights is the New Testaccio Market, a new jewel on the gastronomic map. Original and high quality street food has emerged as one of the strong points of the Testaccio market. the New Testaccio Market at via Galvani officially opened on July 2nd. 2014, a new, shiny building opposite the MACRO museum. Architect Marco Rietti’s goal was to create a marketplace that would not only encourage social encounters and integration, but also to reproduce Testaccio’s urban structure: 5000 square meters, of which 2000 dedicated to public services and shops, slots for 103 vendors, an underground of 6000 square meters for a total of 270 parking spaces. Additionally, an archeological area of 7000 square meters which can be partially visited in specific times of the year.
Testaccio is the permanent home to the annual Street Food Truck Festival, which showcases a variety of different Italian food trucks and their respective specialties. Located in the same complex as the Food Festival is the MACRO, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art. While not as well known as the Capitoline or the Vatican Museums, this is a museum that no art lover should miss.
Roma Ostiense Station is the third station in Rome, after Roma Termini and Roma Tiburtina and represents a citizen junction of great relevance thanks to its many connections by train, subway, bus and taxi. In the Air Terminal building near Ostiense Station there is Eataly, a large megastore dedicated to high quality italian food and wine.
The portion of the Ostiense railway station was remodeled according to a postmodern plan designed by the architect Julio Lafuente, but it has not been used for about 20 years. According to the policy of requalification of the abandoned places, Eataly restored the building and reclaimed the area that had been left to itself. On the outside, the building remained as it was with the recognizable large windows of the Ostiense station, while inside 4 floors were created in order to make the structure functional for commercial purposes.
There are 23 dining venues, where you can taste different kinds of sandwiches, coffee, ‘piadina,’ fruit, ice-creams, pizza, fried food, fish, meat, thus meeting any possible taste. Everything is of very good quality since only the best products were chosen to create this food experience which includes 40 educational and emotional areas; 8 classrooms for the courses; 8 production sites including a real brewery, a 3 meter large wood-stove where you can watch the preparation of 70 different kinds of bread; a cheese factory producing ‘mozzarella’; a pasta factory; a coffee roasting factory; a chocolate laboratory; a pastry-making shop; a fish market; a butcher shop; a delicatessen shop; an educational garden. The structure also contains two meeting rooms, one exhibition area, one conference center, for a total of 1,588 seats and 14,000 products for sale. In short, a visit to this place of wine and food wonders cannot and must not be missed, either as a starting point for your itinerary or as a point of arrival where to refresh after the excursions.