Food tour of Testaccio, Rome

If I lived in Rome, I would live in Testaccio. On the river Tevere/Tiber, it is the former centre of food trade for old Rome. It takes its name from Monte Testaccio, an artificial hill made by bits of broken amphorae (also called testae) which were used for transport of wine, oil and grain amongst other things. It is also where the old abattoir, which has now been converted to a modern museum/art space was. And it has a fabulous selection of food vendors and markets. I went on a very filling (and delicious) Testaccio Eating Italy food tour in Rome in March this year. 





Domenico (from Philadelphia USA but now living in Rome) was our knowledgable and very engaging guide during this 4 hour tour, that took us through the streets of Testaccio. The tour included eating pastries at Barbarini, and a visit to Volpetti (the BEST delicatessen in Testaccio) for prosciutto, cheese with truffles and parmigiano reggiano. 



We also had pizza at Volpetti Più and visited the Testaccio covered market (we met, amongst others, Costanza who filled a whole lot of Sicilian cannoli for us and the very gentle Cesare, the butcher). The market has butchers, fruit and veg sellers, delicatessens and a whole lot more. 





Other highlights of the tour include a visit to the non-Catholic cemetery (which includes the grave of English poet Keats), to the former Testaccio slaughterhouse, and to eat not one, but THREE different types of typical Roman pasta at Velavevodetto, that apparently won an award for the best carbonara in Rome. 

 

As if that wasn’t enough we followed this with some amazing supplì (like arancini, fried ball of risotto with melted cheese in the middle) and later on, a gelato at Giolitti, were you get to choose two flavours of ice cream made the old-fashioned way and served with whipped cream (a Roman speciality). If Armando, who serves the ice cream to you does not think the two flavours you have chosen go together, he will let you know in no uncertain terms! 





I have been on lots of food tours but found this one particularly enjoyable. The tour is plotted on a map, that you get at the start of the tour, just in case you want to re-trace your steps on another occasion (which I might just do now that I am back in Rome for a couple of days before returning to Australia). The amount of walking around and looking at non-food attractions helped with making sure you didn’t eat too much (though I steered clear of dinner the night of the tour) – and the food was seriously delicious. It also ensured that I fell in love with Testaccio – which feels part residential, part foodie and part hipster. I think it would suit me to a tee if I ever lived in Rome.  

I was invited by Eating Europe to be part of this food tour. All opinions and photos are my own. 

11 Comments

  • Debbie Hill says:

    Beautifully written and photographed. I felt like I was there a wonderful way to start my week.

  • You have the most incredible collection of great photos here. I passed through Testaccio last September on my way from Torre Argentina to the Protestant Cemetery. I thought at that time that I need to return to Testaccio and do some exploring. This post just fueled my determination. Sounds like you hitched up with the right food tour. I really enjoyed this post!

  • Denise says:

    When I was in Rome a few years back, I walked to Volpetti only to discover it was closed. Fuelled my desire to return one day. The cannoli look divine.You must be looking forward to getting back to your kitchen.

  • Awesome photos! When I am in Roma I stay at a friend’s place near the San Paolo metro station, so not too far away. I am planning to visit the Mercato when I am there in July. it’s too bad you didn’t get to stop in at Centrale Montemartini-it’s quite close! Hope you get there soon. Buon Viaggio, Cristina

  • Lyn says:

    My mouth waters as I read this post. It sounds like an amazing tour and your photos are super

  • paninigirl says:

    I had planned on taking this trip when I was last in Rome but didn’t get around to it. Will definitely make time for it next time!

  • Diana says:

    I agree with Susan…your photos are fab…..great job at conveying the feel of Testaccio…..

  • A good choice! Testaccio really is a foodie’s paradise. And, at least back when I was living in Rome, relatively affordable. Used to love “La Torricella” restaurant for seafood!

    • The prices are probably more comparable to what they are in Australia or the USA now – everything almost doubled when they moved to the Euro and the locals find it hard. At least it isn’t too bad for tourists (with a good exchange rate). I don’t know “la torricella” – but I look forward to going back there & finding it!

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