Rome’s Centrale Montemartini Museum

Machines and Gods at Rome’s Centrale Montemartini Museum

Set in Rome’s first public electrical power plant, the Centrale Montemartini Museum presents marble statues from the Capitoline Collection set against the backdrop of preserve turbines, diesel engines and steam boilers to create one of the most thought-provoking museum spaces Rome has to offer.

The carefully chosen pieces don’t overwhelm the viewer like the more packed Vatican Museums and the spacious ceilings and natural light from the high glass window panes creates a dream-like atmosphere that guides you back through time to the turn of the century and into Rome’s classical past.

It’s truly spectacular to see the hulking machines (now silenced for decades) adorned in twisting pipes and pressure gauges juxtaposed with creamy marble carved into delicate flowers, curls of hair and the faces of heroes and gods worn rough at the edges. This museum has more than works of art and history to display, its a meditation on change and time.


The Giovanni Montemartini Thermoelectric Centre was built in 1912. What was intended as a power reserve quickly became a steady supplier of energy to the surrounding area. Mechanical energy was generated by combustion, a typical method for medium-large cities like Rome. The machines in the museum now are the originals, now polished, clean, and silent.

It’s also worth a stroll around this area on the bank of the Tiber river to get an idea of an early 20thcentury Rome striving toward modernization and industrialization while trying to find a balance with its ancient past. You can find the spidery, cylindrical Gasometer beside the power plant, the Slaughter House and General Markets across the Via Ostiense, the Ostiense train station and old docks along the river.


In 1997 the disused station was chosen as the temporary location for works from the Capitoline Museums which was under construction. The intriguing contrast of industrial architecture with weathered marble statues encouraged museum officials to make Centrale Montemartini a permanent site for the Capitoline Museum’s latest acquisitions.

Now you can see statues of heroic Gods and the weary faces of emperors dating from Republican Rome to the Late Imperial age. Worth seeing are the colossal head of a goddess found near Largo Argentina, a portrait of Cleopatra, and a stunning mosaic of hunting scenes from Santa Bibiana.
Address: Via Ostiense, 106
Opening hour
Tue-Sun 9am to 7pm (closed Monday)
General Tickets € 7,50 (reduced ticket € 6,50)
Combined ticket for Capitoline Museums: € 15


Macro: The Road to Contemporary Art

The Road to Contemporary Art: Reuse

The ancient roman philosophy to create something new by using existing spaces, materials and structures has a long history and burned in the past great monuments. It’s amazing, the personality of each of them seems to be borne in this moment. The past is forgot, impossible, to imagine this strong identity in another way. Now this ancient talent fertilized even contemporary art.


It has been a long debate as what to do with this large space ever since the slaughterhouse of Testaccio moved to new structure near via Palmiro Togliatti in 1975.

This ex-slaughterhouse complex was designed by Gioacchino Ersoch between 1888 and 1891. It is located on the east side of the Tiber River in the rione Testaccio. It has a total surface area of 105,000 square meters, including a covered area of some 43,000 square meters.

This complex has an extremely modern organization system and the innovative structures in iron and cast iron. It also has the great pavilions and penthouses with the traditional curtain in tile, elements in travertine. The industrial architecture style of this complex is considered as the transition from Classic to Modern architecture, thus makes this complex as one of the most significant industrial architecture examples of late 19th century. This building is under monumental protection since 1988.

Rome has long history of reusing space and materials. Many historical buildings survived through reusing such as Pantheon and Baths of Diocletian. Today, Rome carries on its tradition one more time to save this industrial architecture example from abandonment and vandalism and to bring a new identity to this place.

However, it is hard to find a solution to reuse this large complex in a sustainable way and save this interesting example of “industrial archaeology” in a conservative way at the same time. Finally, Rome has decided to take the advantage of existing Testaccio urban culture and transform this ex-industrial area into a center of culture, education and art.

The ex-slaughterhouse is divided into several parts and assigned to quite a few big institutes. The 3 dominant institutes are Alternative Economy Town, University of Roma Tre and MACRO. Each institute develops its own plan and has its own design teams with one goal: maximally use this space in a way that best preserves the building structure and architecture style.

Today the economy town occupies of 3,500 square meters of a covered space and approximately 8,000 square meters open space. The covered area houses a Bio-agricultural Market, Conference’s center, exhibition area, ethical finance office, workshops for recycling, tourist office, restaurant, coffee, air trade shops and roofed space. Bio-bar Photovoltaic systems are installed to save the energy and the covered area is transparency.

The project well preserved and restored the existing Ersoch portico with its slender cast-iron columns dating back to the late 1920’s. It is a good example of the combination of historical preservation and innovation.

University of Roma Tre : The Architecture Faculty

As a part of Ostiense Marconi Urban Plan, University of Roma Tre is transforming 16,511 square meters of the space in the ex-slaughterhouse into the architecture facility. The new facility will occupy one external wing of the complex to house three lecture rooms and one auditorium. The main objective of this intervention is to conserve, reuse and display this industrial archaeology building complex in Rome. The university wants to set up a model for the whole world. Part of spaces already put in use for the students a couple of years ago. Many studies about energy saving and architecture innovations of this space have been done by the professors and students.

MACRO Future

In 2003, two great pavilions inside the Slaughterhouse complex was transformed by MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome) as MACRO Future to house art exhibitions and encourage an interest in and appreciation for contemporary art. The surface area used by MACRO Future is 2760 square meters. This facility takes advantage of the vanity of Testaccio, and aim at the young audiences. The entrance is free and open from 4.00 pm to midnight every day, except Monday.

MACRO Future has become an Italian and international cultural centre in which the best artists can show their art works and be appreciated by others.
Rome’s long tradition of reusing the abandoned building and material is transforming the ex-slaughterhouse into a center of culture, art and education. After a decade of hardworking by the city and professionals, changes are happening. Spaces are used by the architecture students as studio and classrooms today. A contemporary museum is open to public for free. Organic restaurants and markets are serving people. Most important, the building structure and industrial architecture style are well preserved by innovative designs. However, controversial does exist as what should have done to make this place useful and functioning as this space has been occupied by various minority groups as a culture center for them since 1975. No matter what happen in the future, Rome once again sets another example to the world in preserving historical buildings, conserving energy, and promoting art.

Museum of Contemporary art of Rome, better known as MACRO, a modern museum pride of the City.

The Macro Testaccio is an excellent example how art in all its forms merges with the city around and gains new meanings thanks to new spaces in which it can be expressed. That’s the idea that characterizes the Museum of Contemporary art of Rome, better known as MACRO, a modern museum pride of the City. It comprises 3 independent structures Macro Testaccio, Macro Via Nizza, Macro Pelanda), joined together by the same intent and style to create a sort of “macro-museum”. The face of an eclectic cultural city in which the very best expressions of contemporary art, both Italian and international, can be fully expressed and represented.

MACRO Testaccio e La Pelanda

The old slaughterhouse complex is a lively area for cultural displays and artistic events. MACRO Testaccio in the slaughterhouse is situated in Testaccio, an area not far from the banks of the Tiber, in a perfect place for cultural experimentation.

The pavilions of the slaughterhouse were built between 1888 and 1891 by Giacchino Erosch, and bear witness to the transition from classicism to modernity, providing an important historical example of the monumental and rational nature of industrial architecture at the end of the century. For many years, the Slaughterhouse was considered to be among the most important of industrial buildings, because of its modernity and the simplicity of its structure and internal organisation.

In 2002, two pavilions inside the slaughterhouse complex, an area of 105,000 sq metres (of which 43,000 are built on), were assigned to MACRO to aid the development and diffusion of contemporary art.

In keeping with Testaccio’s dynamic atmosphere, and the youthful crowds that throng there in the evenings, MACRO Testaccio, is open from 16.00 to midnight. The dimensions and layout of the space make it a particularly suitable setting for some of the most significant works of national and international art, which today are redesigning the ‘territory’ of visual culture and of the interaction between different languages.

MACRO is in action and is preparing itself to be, for a vast and diverse public, a cultural magnet of many facets and dimensions through which the value of contemporary artistic expression is affirmed.

Piazza Orazio Giustiniani 4 – 00153 Roma

Opening hours Tuesday-Sunday: 16.00 – 22.00;

Last admission 1/2 hour before closing time;

Closed Monday, December 24, 25 and 31, January 1, May 1.


Rome War Cemetery | Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome

The War Cemetery of Commonwealth

Historical Information

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.

Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but the advance was checked for some months at the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line. Operations in January 1944 landed troops behind the German lines at Anzio, but a breakthrough was not achieved until 18 May when, after fierce fighting, Cassino finally fell to the Allies.
The cemetery began as a burying ground for the soldiers garrisoned in Rome, when it was occupied by the Allies after the Germans left the city on June 3, 1944, but it also includes the bodies of soldiers from the surrounding area, as well as those who died as POWs.  There are, of course, much larger British cemeteries in Cassino and Anzio, and elsewhere in Italy.

Rome War Cemetery was designed by Louis de Soissons. It contains 426 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

Lesser known than its partner across the road, the Rome War Cemetery is no less peaceful, or sobering.  Like the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, where Keats, Shelley, Gramsci and others are buried or memorialized, this cemetery is nestled against the Aurelian Walls.

The memorial at right includes a stone from Hadrian’s Wall – in the UK – the northernmost point of the Roman Empire, tying the United Kingdom historically to Italy for some 2000 years.

To visit the Rome War Cemetery, either walk around Monte Testaccio, or walk past the Protestant Cemetery – further away from the Pyramid.  Address:  via Nicola Zabaglia, 50. The cemetery is open only when the gardeners are there:  Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – noon, and 12:30 – 3 p.m.

About the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome

Rome’s Non-Catholic Cemetery contains possibly the highest density of famous and important graves anywhere in the world. It is the final resting-place of the poets Shelley and Keats, of many painters, sculptors and authors, a number of scholars, several diplomats, Goethe’s only son, and Antonio Gramsci, a founding father of European Communism, to name only a few.

The Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome (to give it its full name) is also widely known as the Protestant Cemetery although it contains the graves of many Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians. It is one of the oldest burial grounds in continuous use in Europe, having started to be used around 1716. In 2016 we celebrated 300 years of burials at the foot of the Pyramid.

The Cemetery population is both exceptionally diverse and exceptionally rich in writers, painters, sculptors, historians, archaeologists, diplomats, scientists, architects and poets, many of international eminence. In addition to the significant number of Protestant and eastern Orthodox graves, other faiths that are represented include Islam, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Tomb inscriptions are in more than fifteen languages – Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Church-Slavonic, Japanese, Russian, Greek and Avestic, often engraved in their own non-Roman scripts.

It is hard to think of another urban site quite so glorious. Its towering cypress trees and abundant flowers and greenery shelter a heterogeneity of elaborate and eclectic graves and monuments, nestled on a slope in the shadows of the Pyramid of Cestius (dated between 18 and 12 B.C.) and adjacent to a section of Rome’s ancient Aurelian wall.

“It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place,” wrote Shelley, not long before he drowned and was buried here.

Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, the little Cemetery was something of a pilgrimage site, revered by authors. Daisy Miller, the heroine of Henry James’s eponymous novella, was buried there. After an audience with Pope Pius IX in 1877, Oscar Wilde visited the Cemetery, proclaiming it “the holiest place in Rome.”

The Cemetery is a private one. Burials continue to be made today of those who qualify. The Cemetery can be visited daily and the Visitors’ Centre is a source of information and publications.


Gate of San Paolo-Museum of the Ostian Way-Pyramid of Caius Cestius


The Porta San Paolo (San Paolo Gate) is one of the southern gates in the 3rd-century Aurelian Walls of Rome, Italy. The Via Ostiense Museum (museo della Via Ostiense) is housed within the gatehouse. It is in the Ostiense quarter; just to the west is the Pyramid of Cestius, an Egyptian-style pyramid, and beyond that is the Protestant Cemetery.

The original name of the gate was Porta Ostiensis, because it was located of the beginning of via Ostiense, the road that connected Rome and Ostia where functioned as its main gate. Via Ostiense was an important arterial road, as evidenced by the fact that upon entering the gate of the same name, the road split, with one direction leading to the famous Emporium, the great market of Rome.

The gatehouse is flanked by two cylindrical towers, and has two entrances, which had been covered by a second, single-opening gate, built in front of the first by the Byzantine general Belisarius (530s–540s).

The structure is due to Maxentius, in the 4th century, but the two towers were heightened by Honorius. Its original — Latin — name was Porta Ostiensis, since it opened on the way to Ostia. Later, it was renamed to the Italian Porta San Paolo, because it was the exit of Rome that led to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

In 549, the Rome was under siege; the Ostrogoths of Totila entered through this gate.

The Gate now appears isolated, but it was originally connected to the Aurelian wall and the Pyramid of Caius Cestius. This part was destroyed during the bombing in 1943.

On 10 September 1943, two days after the armistice between the Allies and Italy, Italian military and civil forces tried to block t the German invasion of the city. 570 man and women died.


It’s a humble but oddly charming little museum, containing artefacts and prints pertaining to via Ostiense and the port at its far end. There are large-scale models of old Ostia and the port of Trajan and, on the upper level, a 13th-century fresco of the Madonna and Child and a fine view over. Visiting the Gate of San Paolo in Rome is like moving yourself in a castle in the middle of Rome.

The Via Ostiensis (Italian: via Ostiense) was an important road in ancient Rome. It ran west 30 kilometers (19 mi) from the city of Rome to its important sea port of Ostia Antica, from which it took its name. When the later Aurelian Walls were built, the road left the city through the Porta Ostiensis (Porta San Paolo). In the late Roman Empire, trade suffered under an economic crisis, and Ostia declined as an important port. With the accompanying growth of importance of the Via Portuensis from the time of Constantine onwards, that of the Via Ostiensis correspondingly decreased. Modern Via Ostiense, following a similar path, is the main connection of Rome to Ostia (one of the quarters of Rome at present) together with the Via del Mare. On its way to Ostia, the road passes by the important basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

Today the Gate of San Paolo is home of the Museum of the Ostian Way (Museo della Via Ostiense), created in 1954 to illustrate the topography of the territory between Rome and Ostia,  that, precisely, in the Roman age was marked by an important road axis via Ostiense. It contains material from this area including three paintings to be reported arcosoli from a tomb of sec.d.C III. at the Basilica of St. Paul and several casts of inscriptions and funerary cippi. At the top level of the two towers are two important plastics, performed by Italo Gismondi, representing the ancient city of Ostia and the Imperial ports of Claudius and Trajan. In the Eastern Tower there are remains of frescoes dating from the late 13th and early 14th century. that decorated a chapel where met a Byzantine community.

Opening times:

  • Tuesday – Sunday from 9:00 to 13:30;
  • Closed on Monday.

Closed on Sunday from 27 July to 31 August 2014.

An accompanied tour of the Museum, encompassing a visit to the nearby Pyramid of Caius Cestius, is available (by advance booking) at 10:30 on Sundays.


Admission is free


Tel. +39 06 5743193

What is a Pyramid doing in the Heart of Rome? 

The pyramid of Cestius was built during the reign of the emperor Augustus, probably between 18 and 12 BCE along the Via Ostiensis. It is a remarkable monument, made of white Carrara marble and exactly 100 Roman feet (30 meters) high. You can see it from the Protestant cemetery, which is southwest of the tomb. In the background is the Porta Ostiensis (today Porta San Paolo).

The Pyramid of Caius Cestius is the only surviving monument of a series of similar buildings existing in Rome in the 1st c. BCE, when funerary architecture was influenced by the fashion that had arisen in Rome after the conquest of Egypt in 31 BCE.
Caius Cestius, a Roman politician, member of the priestly college of the Epulones, instructed in his will the construction of his tomb, in the form of a pyramid.

If you look at the Pyramid of Cestius from the east there is an inscription, CIL VI.137. It is repeated on its northwestern side.


  1.  Cestius  L.F.  Pob.  Epulo  pr.
    VII  vir epulonum
    Opus  apsolutum  ex  testamento  diebus  CCCXXX  arbitratu
    L.  Ponti  P.F  Cla.  Melae  heredis  et  Pothi L.


Which means:

Gaius Cestius Epulo, son of Lucius, of the Poblilian district, praetor, tribune of the people, official of the public banquets. According to his will, this work was completed in three hundred and thirty days; it was executed by his heirs L. Pontus Mela, son of Publius, of the Claudian district, and his freedman Pothus.

The Pyramid was later incorporated into the circuit of walls built between 272 and 279 CE on the initiative of the Emperor Aurelian.

The barrel-vaulted burial chamber, of about 23 square meters, was walled up at the time of the entombment, after the Egyptian custom. The first violation of the tomb probably dates back to the Middle Age;
In the seventeenth century, when a tunnel was added to the defense works, the funerary chamber of the pyramid was discovered. It turned out to contain wall paintings in what was later called the Third Pompeian style. Pope Alexander VII ordered restorations, which are also commemorated in an inscription.


Compared to the real, Egyptian pyramids, the Pyramid of Cestius is too steep and too pointed. This explains why in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, pictures of ancient Egypt also contained too pointed monuments: the only place where European artists could see a pyramid, was at Rome, and Cestius mausoleum did not have the right proportions. A famous mosaic in the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, with a scene from the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt, shows the pyramids – the artist has really done his best tried to make it look Egyptian – but the mosaics are clearly based on the Pyramid of Cestius.

The last example, which shows how influent was the error. The pyramids and sphinx were drawn by Cornelis de Bruijn, who had actually visited Egypt. On his return to Holland (after a visit to Venice) in 1698, he must have started to doubt about his own drawings, because when he published his book, he made the pyramids pointed again.

Opening hours:

Open on the the 2nd and the 4th Saturdays of the month.

The monument can only be visited with guided tours, which leave, for individuals, at 11.00, and for groups, at 10.00 and 12.00.
Booking is mandatory.

On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, the ticket of the Museum of the Wall (Museo della Via Ostiense, Porta San Polo) also allows admission to the Pyramid with a guided tour leaving at 10.30.
Booking is mandatory.

On the 1st and second Saturday and Sundays of the month the entrance is free (contact for the reservation and the infos Museum of Via Ostiense 06.5743193 ).

For the other saturdays and sundays of the month for reservations, tickets and infos please contact Coopculture 0639967700


Full price: Euro 5.50 + additional fee for mandatory booking (Euro 1.50)
For further information:

  • +39 06 39967 700 (for individuals);
  • +39 06 39967 450 (for groups);
  • +39 06 39967 200 (for schools).

An additional fee is charged for booking
For the tours of the 1st and the 3rd Saturdays of the month by calling +39 06 5743193

Testaccio New Market


The excavation of the Testaccio New Market, a four-sided area extended for one hectare, started from the street level (15 m ASL), and reached a depth of about 9 m, providing an uninterrupted stratigraphy from the Early Roman Imperial age until the Contemporary age. The Early Imperial period (Augustan age Flavian period; I century AD) in the North-East and then in the West part of the excavation brought to light a system of roofed rooms and open courts served by a network of service roads, which are peculiar for the building material used. All the “walls” of the structure are in fact made up of amphorae emptied and reused piling them on top of each other. At the present time, this system of rooms has been identified, in the North-East section, with a wide area of dumps for reused building material, mostly made up of amphorae and brick material; while in the West sector are rooms, probably warehouses, with well recognizable beaten earth floors. The following Middle Imperial period (age of Trajan age of Hadrian; end of the I century AD first half of the II century AD) in the West sector is characterized by the excavation of the building levels of a trapezoidal edifice, identified as a horreum, made up of rows of rectangular rooms facing a wide central porticoed square, partially effaced by the moderns streets via B. Franklin (West) and via A. Manunzio (North). Only the building levels of this warehouse are preserved. The horreum was, in fact, completely plundered in the antiquity (end of the III century AD beginning of the IV century AD) up to the thresholds of the ground floor. In the East portion of the excavation, were found the remains of the foundations of what was identified as a building with pillars and aisles, probably coeval with the horreum, and completely plundered as well in the antiquity. On the long eastern side of the huge horreum there is a walled up passage (corridor), whose function is still uncertain. The southern portion of the corridor wall, whose remains are there preserved, provides an example of the original walls of the Middle Imperial period building. It allows to date, together with some amphora burials found on it and in the corridor, the phases of the abandonment of the area between the end of the III and the V century AD.

The warehouses were connected to the Emporium. It was the river port of the ancient Rome, that rose approximately between the Aventine Hill and the Rione Testaccio.

Since the beginning of the 2nd century BC, the impetuous economic and demographic development had made the former river port in the Forum Boarium totally inadequate: moreover, it could not be enlarged due to its vicinity to the hills. Therefore in 193 BC the censors Lucius Aemilius Lepidus and Lucius Aemilius Paulus established to face the problem by building a new port within a free area on the border of the town, south of the Aventine Hill. On that occasion the Porticus Aemilia was also erected.

In 174 BC the Emporium was paved with stones and divided with walls and ladders descending to the Tiber. Here there was the docking place of the wares and raw materials (especially marbles, wheat, wine, oil); they reached the harbor of Ostia by sea and went up the river on barges pulled by buffaloes (towpath).

During the centuries, the fragments of the amphorae (then used as containers for the handling of liquid foods), were clumped until they created the still-existing hill of shards: the ancient name of Mons Testaceum (“Hill of Shards”) derived from it. The number of stacked-up amphorae is esteemed to be about 25 millions.

During the reign of Trajan, new opus mixtum structures were erected, while the plain of Testaccio was gradually filled with warehouses, especially for foodstuffs, with a huge hike when free distributions of wheat and other foodstuffs to citizens began to take place, starting from the age of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus (Horrea Sempronia, Galbana, Lolliana, Seiana, Aniciana).
The port was first excavated in 1868-1870, during the damming works, and then in 1952. Now there are few visible stretches, bricked in the wall of Lungotevere Testaccio: a quay 500 metres (1,600 ft) long and 90 metres (300 ft) deep, with steps and ramps toward the river, with bulging travertine blocks having holes for ships mooring, very similar – though not so well preserved – to the one in the Roman port of Aquileia. During the building of modern Testaccio quarter, severals remains of warehouses have come to light: among them, the tomb of the consul Servius Sulpicius Galba, one of the most ancient known individual sepulchres.


With regard to the Middle Ages, the faint traces preserved suggest a sporadic use of the area examined, rather than a complete occupation of it. From the Renaissance, instead, the archaeological records clearly testify the agricultural use of the area and the rural landscape, which remained unchanged until the end of the XIX century, when Testaccio became a neighborhood, even if peripheral, of the capital city, Rome .The Renaissance phase of the excavation shows records of agricultural activities, namely parallel furrows, of the vicolo della Serpe, running North-South as shown in historical maps, and of the remains of a Renaissance farmhouse. The archaeobotanical analyses on soil samples show the presence of vines and orchards, with vegetables gardens, and of little wheat, a selection rather common in the so-called “Mediterranean diversified agriculture”.


The contemporary phase of the excavation revealed the foundations of some public housing buildings known as “villinetti”, build from the Istituto Autonomo Case Popolari (today ATER) in the 1920s’, and demolished at the end of the 1960s’. They were the set of some late neorealist movies in the postwar years, and were much loved, as the whole neighborhood, by Pier Paolo Pasolini, who filmed there the final sequences of “Acetone”. Finally, the levels occupied by the sporting field of A.S. Testaccio were detected. During 2005 started the creation of a new indoor market, that have given the opportunity of realizing the archaeological intervention. After the Urban re-qualification intervention, in the area are hosting the indoor market, an underground parking, a multi-service center, an archaeological site and an exposition hall.


Buzzing with activity, chatter and delicious aromas, the market square has historically been at the center of city life. The Greek concept of agora – a term whose literal meaning is “gathering place” or “assembly” as the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city – later evolved to a place that also served as a marketplace where merchants sold their goods on stalls and small clustered shops. The agora marketplace brought people together to supply and provide sustenance for family and to foster communication, enhancing social interaction.

One of Rome’s best examples of this cultural evolution is the Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio: a modern-day agora sitting on nearly two millenia of history.
In the 1st century much of the Tiber River trade took place in Testaccio, and the remains of the broken testae amphorae (clay vessels) stacked to create the artificial Monte dei Cocci hill in the heart of Testaccio, is the archeological evidence of the area’s ancient everyday Roman life. In the 1900s thanks to the building of the mattatoio (the city’s slaughterhouse from 1920s until it closed in 1975) – which employed many workers lodging in the developing housing “lotti” – Testaccio became a center of activity for butchers and one of Rome’s most traditional working class neighborhoods. Two decades ago, a process of gentrification changed Testaccio’s hard-at-work face to a more hipster one, shifting it from a raucus blue collar neighborhood to a swinging food and culture mecca.


It comes to no surprise then that the Testaccio neighborhood market – which for several decades resided in the small square at the intersection of Via Bodoni, Via Manuzio, Via della Robbia and Via Mastro Giorgio, and relocated to its present address in 2012 – should become one of the neighborhood’s most striking and beloved attractions. Despite initial skepticism regarding the modern 5000-square meter structure designed by architect Marco Rietti, past and present come together in and among the sky-lit, pristine stalls, which Romans now greatly appreciate.

Fishmongers, butchers, produce sellers and other vendors occupy the 100 or so stalls that circle the central “piazza” complete with refurbished pellet seating and a cafe overlooking ancient Roman ruins of the original 1st century market found in the lower levels during construction. Favorite occupants that moved from the old location and the newly businesses are thriving and include the likes of butcher dynasty Sartor (box #61 and #70), while stall #94 is fishmonger Mastroianni (yes, related to the late actor), baker Da Artenio who also sells a few natural wines and the best bite-sized pizzas in the universe occupies box #90.

Great mixed juices and vegetarian smoothies can be enjoyed at Zoé at box #59, while retired butcher Sergio Esposito stuffs classic cucina romana recipes in sandwiches at box #15 Mordi e Vai. Fresh seasonal vegetables are sold with a smile at #82 Fiori di Zucca, and Silvia‘s fruit and produce stall #68 is one of our favorites. Michelin star-studded Chef Cristina Bowerman recently opened another Romeo space in the market at #30, and with it Cups at #44 which is a fun takeaway kitchen that sells tasty signature dishes served in portable gelato-like cups. There’s also a gluten free bakery In Cibo Veritas at number #57, a delightful old school deli run by the sweet couple Lina and Enzo at #89, and fresh pasta makers Le Mani in Pasta, which besides selling all kinds of fresh pasta also conveniently serves plates of freshly stretched and cooked pasta for a handful of Euros at box #58.

In the Testaccio neighborhood where the market is located there are also contemporary art museums, shops that sell sublime cured meats, balsamic vinegars, cold pressed olive oils and cheeses, plus baked goods, coffee bars, and pastry shops. Not to mention the fabulous restaurants that serve everything from quinto quarto to freshly caught fish!


Rome is gorgeous and everybody knows it. What you might not know is that her beauty is not just about classical art, Renaissance and museums. Something new is happening around here. Art is coming out of galleries and frames, ready to spread into the streets and live among the people. Art is now made of everyday life tales to be told to everyone who wants to get carried away by them. The ancient and Eternal City, where time and the history of humanity has marked itself upon every corner of its walls, has now become one of the centers of contemporary and urban art.The town council itself has recently released a map of the best places to go and discover Rome’s Street art. It covers 13 districts and goes from the most central and historical ones, like Testaccio for example, to the most peripheral one.

Almost 150 streets have been painted, more than 330 artworks have been made through the years. Between January and February only, 40 wall paintings were born within “Roma Creativa” project (“Creative Rome”, literally), a public project by Rome’s Cultural and Touristic Department aimed at reevaluating a few disreputable areas and fostering local artists.

Testaccio, is although known for its new hipster identity and street art. Walking around this area you will spot many wall painting marvels. Testaccio now boasts some of the most talked about street art in the city. Progressive artists are turning the walls of abandoned buildings, train underpasses, and apartment blocks into canvases for spectacular murals. The nicest piece to see might be the “Jumping Wolf” by ROA, a Belgian artist drawing black a white local animals as his trademark. Have you ever seen those little statues with a wolf feeding two little twins? Everyone sells them in Rome, of course you have. The female wolf is the symbol of the city. What strikes your attention is exactly how ordinary the animal seems. This makes it all really expressive, really impressive.


Trains, Stations, Food


The Ostiense station is located near the ‘Pyramid Cestia’ and the  Porta San Paolo. To commemorate the forthcoming visit of Adolf Hitler to Rome in 1938, the current Ostiense station was built, replacing an existing rural railway station, with the aim of creating a monumental station to receive the  German dictator. A new road was also built to connect the station with Porta San Paolo – this was initially named Via A. Hitler but, after World War II, it became Viale delle  Cave Ardeatine. Hitler’s visit to Rome is cinematically recreated in director Ettore Scola’s film “Una giornata particolare”, who also used archived newsreel footage showing the actual meeting between Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Victor Emanuel III.

Italian architect Roberto Narducci designed the station. In addition to being built in the architectural style favored by Hitler, the design of the station’s marble facade was almost identical to that of the Italian pavilion at the 1942 Rome World’s Fair (a design never fully realized due to the Second World War). The station building was inaugurated on October 28, 1940.

The entire facade is made of Travertine marble and the entrance is marked by a columned portico. On the right side of the façade is a relief by Francesco Nagni representing the mythical figures of Bellerophon and Pegasus. On the left is a fountain built in 1957. A mosaic on the floor made of black and white tiles demonstrates various themes and legends of Rome’s history.

South of the tracks, the station authority constructed a new section to help Ostiense serve as a terminal station for passengers arriving from Leonardo da Vinci Airport . In 2012, the building was converted to a new branch of Mario Batali’s restaurant/market chain Eataly.


Eataly, was founded in Italy in 2004, its first center was opened in Turin. Eataly creates or acquires shareholdings in companies that produce food products of high quality. So far, 19 centers have been opened worldwide, nine of which in Italy. A portion of the Ostiense railway station was remodeled according to a postmodern plan designed by the architect Julio Lafuente. 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 area 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, an exhibition area, a conference center, for a total of 1,588 seats. 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.


Roma Porta San Paolo is the terminal train station of the Rome–Lido railway line in Rome (Italy). The station is connected to the station “Piramide” of the metro (line B) and to the Roma Ostiense railway station of the “Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane”. It has six rails. The edifice houses the ticket office and service structures, as well as a news-stand and a coffee shop. It also includes the Porta San Paolo Railway Museum.

The building of the station was started, together with the one of the railway, at the beginning of 1919, after the inauguration ceremony of December 30, 1918 in the presence of King Victor Emmanuel III.

The station was designed by Marcello Piacentini. A quite similar one was the Ostia Nuova terminal train station, whose foundation stone was laid on December 10, 1920, also in the presence of the King, and that was destroyed during the war.

The graffiti decorating the interior of the station are works by the Florentine artist Giulio Rosso.

The station and the railway line were inaugurated on August 10, 1924 with a special ride, in which Mussolini – who had become Prime Minister in the meanwhile – took part.


The museum, inaugurated on 18 September 2004, is in part in the open, where the restored rolling stock can be seen, and in part indoors, where scale models, devices and technical objects are displayed, providing a full outline of the history of public rail transport in the Rome area. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.

Entrance is free.

The rolling stock examples kept in the museum include:

  • Locomotive Breda AEG, year 1915, s.n. 01 STEFER from the Rome–Fiuggi railway.
  • Locomotive Carminati-Toselli TIBB, year 1922, s.n. 05 STEFER from the Rome–Lido railway.
  • Electric locomotive ECD “Officine Meccaniche della Stanga” TIBB, year 1931, s.n. 21 from the Rome–Civitacastellana–Viterbo railway.
  • Tram STFER series 400, s.n. 404 “Officine Meccaniche della Stanga” TIBB, year 1941, from the Tramvie dei Castelli Romani.
  • Tram STEFER, s.n. 70, from the extra-urban service on the Castelli Romani lines.
  • STEFER, flat service wagon obtained by modifying a former extra-urban two-axle trailer.
  • Power trolley STEFER used for inspections on the Rome–Fiuggi railway.