The double life of Testaccio/Aventino

Vibe on the street: mix between lively, traditional working class areas and tranquil, elegant areas.
Famous for: excellent nightlife, typical Roman restaurants and culture. Circus Maximus, Baths of Carcalla and the Pyramid of Cestius. In Aventino - parks, green landscape and great views.
The double life of Testaccio/Aventino
  • Testaccio/Aventine could be considered a schizophrenic neighbourhood, with the elegant and quiet Aventine hill area and the bustling, working class Testaccio area. Together, they are an excellent microcosm of Roman life. The area is comprised of monuments, art museums, nightclubs, restaurants and bars, along with parks, schools and public services like football pitches and swimming pools.

    Nearby sights

    Let’s start from the top of the hill. The ancient Aventine proudly displays pieces of the original 4th-century BC Roman wall across its hill, along with several original Christian churches. Most would say to head to the northern part of the Aventine for a peek through the keyhole at the Villa of the Knights of Malta or a walk through the meditative Orange Garden. The amazing Baths of Caracalla are located in the eastern area of the neighbourhood - the impressive remains of the Empire’s largest public bath complex.

    Heading down to Testaccio, and inside the ancient 3rd-century AD walls is the Museum of Via Ostiense inside the gate entrance of Porta San Paolo, while slightly northeast is the Museum of the Walls, at Porta San Sebastiano. The Pyramid (Piramide) is a 1st-century BC tomb to Caius Cestius that is rarely opened so if it is, definitely go inside. Nearby is Rome’s public transport museum with vintage trains and trams.

    Walk back inside the walls to the Protestant Cemetery where John Keats and Percy Shelley are buried. Take a look at Testaccio and you will see a large hill. This is a pile of ancient amphorae (ceramic vessels) left as trash in antiquity. Now known as Monte Testaccio, this pile can be visited by appointment only. Located in a former butcher’s arena is MACRO Pelandia, the experimental wing to Rome’s MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art Roma. There are many more sites to see, if only from a distance including the post office and Ostiense train station, both beautiful examples of Fascist-era architecture.

    Eating out

    Testaccio has a great selection of dining opportunities. For pizza lovers, 00100, da Remo and Il Trapizzino are considered the very best in the city. Foodie fanatics will love Felice al Testaccio, da Buccatino, Checchino dall 1887 and Flavio al Velavevodetto - showing off the very best Roman cuisine. Looking to take something home? Gastronomia Volpetti is recognised citywide for its excellent cured meats, cheeses, pastas and wines. Always review ParlaFood and Elizabeth Minchilli for current reports on Testaccio’s food scene.


    Testaccio is the crossroads for all Roman nightlife, in particular dancing and nightclubs. Unlike Aventine, the area surrounding Monte Testaccio is jammed with partygoers from 11pm to early morning, hoping for a bit of salsa, rock, reggae and house music. To find the clubs, head to Via Galvani and follow the music. Discos cover all genres and all walks of life. Some of Testaccio’s staples include Caffe Latino, Radio Londra, Joia and Ketumbar. However, take note - most clubs close for the summer as they set up pop-up parties on the beaches of Fregene, Maccarese and Ostia.

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