Yesterday I pinned all the travel posts I wrote so far on a Google map and with this map I replaced the old "label" list (which was becoming way too long to be considered a simple way to browse the blog).
While doing so, I noticed that between one urban safari across the most unconventional neighborhoods of Rome and a graffiti hunting through the suburbs, I almost never wrote about those neighborhoods where I am more likely hanging out, because they are closer to my office, to my place or to my best friends' place, those neighborhoods where my
routine Real Life is mostly located and therefore they are not “exotic” to me, which happens to be the reason I wasn't never too enthusiastic to write about them.
But I can always fix that, right?
And so, after showing you Garbatella neighborhood, this time we will have a walk across Testaccio, another neighborhood very close to my office where I happen to hang out often.
|former slaughterhouse in Testaccio, Rome|
My favourite place in Testaccio is the Protestant Cemetery, where Keats, Shelley as well as many other artists and poets rest in peace. As you can guess, it is a very peaceful and relaxing place and as all cemeteries in the Protestant tradition it is conceived as a garden (at least the most ancient part).
“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 was buried here.
The Protestant Cemetery is located behind the Pyramid Cestia, which also marks the beginning of Testaccio neighborhood.
Just in front of the entrance of the Cemetery there is one of my favourite secret spot in Rome; it is just a little alley leading to via Marmorata, but I have always found it extremely romantic and -given my fetish for artsy lofts- I especially love the first yard on the right, where you will find this beautiful artist's studio:
Another thing I really like to do in Testaccio is entering its many courtyards, some of whose are still a meeting point and sometimes a playground for local kids as they were during the industrial development of Ostiense area when all these typical council houses were built.
My favorite ones are along via Volta, while the most important ones from the historic and architectural points of view are along via Marmorata (n° 131 – 149, the Sabbatini-Costantini complex, built between 1929 and 1930) and on Piazza Maria Liberatrice (the Pirani-Bellucci complex, built in 1917).
As many former working-class districts, Testaccio is now considered part of the historic centre of Rome as it gained new life during the past decades, especially night life.
The artistic soul of Testaccio is pretty prominent too: here you can find one of my favorite art galleries in town, 999Contemporary, which also takes care of some major street art interventions in the neighborhood, such as the mural by the Belgian artist ROA at the end of via Galvani.
|ROA at work!|
But the ultimate cultural project of Testaccio is the re-qualification of the former slaughterhouse, a vast complex of wings and pavillions covering an area of 25.000 sqm. Now it hosts the Architecture Faculty of Roma Tre University, the contemporary art museum MACRO Testaccio (the son of MACRO in via Nizza) and La Pelandra, where I just visited the current street art exhibition Urban Legends.
|Raffaella Carrà by C215 - Urban Legends Exhibition - La Pelandra, Rome|
Still within the ex-slaughterhouse complex there is La Città dell'Altra Economia (town of a different economy), which right now hosts the summer music festival EUTROPIA, where last Tuesday I attended a Goran Bregovic concert! :) And there you find some beautiful street art too!
|Alice @ Città dell'Altra Economia|
Last thing you really can't miss when visiting the former slaughterhouse complex is the amazing view from the top of Big Bamboo, a MACRO Testaccio installation of thousands of pieces of bamboo connected and interlocked, reaching a height of 25 meters! It has been created by two American artists, Mike and Doug Starn, and you can climb it for free and enjoy a breath-taking view from above.
Eating out in Testaccio:
Mordi & Vai, the ultimate sandwich bar in Rome, my favorite place to grab a quick sandwich stuffed with a Roman traditional recipe. It won't be a light lunch, but definitely a tasty one!
La Creperie di Testaccio is a nice bistrot where you can have both salty and sweet crepes, as well as ethnic meals.
...and for your night cup:
Tram Depot, where you can order your drink at an old tram transformed into a cocktail bar and enjoy it in the open air garden.
Oasi della Birra, only for beer lovers.
Which are your favorite spots in Testaccio?
Let me know in the comments area below!