Testaccio

Piazza Testaccio, Aldo Manuzio and Luca Della Robbio
Rome, Italy

Contributed by Project for Public Spaces

A premier fresh food market, for Romans - not tourists.

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Why It Works

The ambience of the market is very upbeat - there's lots of hubbub with vendors rearranging their displays, huddles of grandmothers in their black scarves gossiping about prices and each other. Here you see the serious domestic cooks nosing around for the most fragrant oranges, brightest-eyed fish or even a pair of new leather shoes. The market booths - mostly metal, enclosed booths that open up for the market and close up at night - are not old but they look beat up from much use. Some vendors sell from tables with no permanent booth or enclosure. The market is known for its produce, but it also has nuts, fish and seafood, and flowers.

What Makes Testaccio a Great Place?

Food shopping, along with some clothes and shoes, and all that goes with it: socializing, bargaining, gossiping, tasting, people-watching. On Saturday, the market spills over into the surrounding streets with still more vendors selling mostly clothing.

Very friendly, down-home, unpretentious, small-scale.

History & Background

Testaccio is known as the district where "real Romans" live. It is home to Caius Cestius's pyramid, the Protestant cemetery, the city's municipal slaughter house, and Monte Testaccio: a hill made of broken pottery from the early Christian era.

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