Pssst, Wanna Stay in the Real Rome?

Yes, the real Rome. Italy, that is. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Testaccio. It’s one of those places you really can’t believe until you’ve been there.

It’s a section of Rome full of butchers. The stockyards used to be there. Workers were paid with the nasty bits, and that’s what folks eat here. Offal. It’s the real Roman cuisine.

And it’s not awful. Of course, that’s not all there is to eat in the Testaccio. Your food can be as trendy as you wish. Testaccio welcomes you while it’s getting gentrified. Go before they get a McDonalds.

The extraordinary thing about Testaccio, besides the pyramid, is the 20 meter high mountain of potsherds that is Testacchio’s landmark. Yes, this is also where Roman trading along the Tiber was done, and the heap of amphora bits represents the remains. The hill was once simply Il Monte dei Cocci, or the mountain of cocci, refering to amphora sherds, and was combined with the latin “testae,” refering to a pot sherd that was often inscribed and used for voting, to become Testaccio.

The hill of potsherds has been dug out in recent times to use the space for things like car repair. Today, trendy clubs have moved into the cave-like “guts” of the Testaccio hill.

Rome vacation rentalImagine if you had a place in the Testaccio for a week or two. You could do a club crawl and be back home in a jiff, or at least by the time the sun is rising. Then you could go to the Gastronomia E. Volpetti in the day time. The Volpetti is perhaps Rome’s best “deli.” Don’t want to picnic? You could eat at one of my favorite restaurants, Trattoria Checchino dal 1887.

You could also go to the Piramide (pyramid) while staying at a hip apartment called, oddly enough, Piramide, shown on the right over there.

And have the  Pajata. It’s the intestines of a young calf fed only on its mother’s milk. If you’re slightly squeamish, have the ox tails. Remember, there’s always eggplant.

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