Friday, 5 January 2018

12 Riones of Rome - Testaccio

It is no secret that we love Testaccio and would make it our home if we could. One of the many reasons that we are attracted to the area is the connection to the history of food in the city.

In the Republican era this area was chosen as the site of the new river port which would see goods being landed from all over the Mediterranean. The Emporium was built in the 1st century AD and was a warehouse with offices above from which the goods were sorted & distributed. The remains are impressive with even sections of the original quay lined with Travertine marble in evidence.

The Porticus Aemilia was built 200 years before Christ and was a vast complex of warehouses used to house the goods coming from the river port.

One of the goods coming into the port was olive oil from Spain which was transported in huge pottery amphorae. These were not reusable but the ancient Romans didn't just toss these away, they had a regulated system of layering which can be seen in the bars & restaurants dug in to Monte Testaccio.

Amphorae can also be found in the archeological area under the mercato which has been identified as storerooms for the port.  Here the amphorae make up the walls of the rooms.

The importance of amphorae to the area is reflected in the design of the fountain in the central piazza.

In the 19th century a new slaughterhouse for the city was built in Testaccio giving rise to the offal or 'fifth quarter' cuisine that the area is  well known for.

There are so many contenders for our 'Rione Refreshment' tip in Testaccio but after long consideration we are going to suggest pizza bianco with mortadella from Passi on Via Mastro Giorgio - an excellent snack at any time of day.

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