Testaccio: Unexpected Rome


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A quick presentation of one of Rome's most unusual neighborhoods

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Testaccio: Unexpected Rome

  1. 1. Testaccio: Not the Usual Romesabato 31 marzo 2012
  2. 2. The name Testaccio comes from “mons testaceus”, the mountain of pottery sherds (Testae), the amphorae, about 25 millions of them, that arrived at the nearby port on the river Tiber and were eventually emptied, broken and orderly stacked to form a real hill in the middle of the citysabato 31 marzo 2012
  3. 3. 1) New Market (replaced plein air stalls, not interesting) 2) River Port 3) Porticus Aemiliae (Old Wharehouse) 4) “mount Testaccio”, the hill made of old amphorae 5) Former abattoire (now Museum Contemporary Art 6) housing projects 7) Non-catholic cemetery 8) Aurelian Walls 9) S Maria Liberatrice 10) A.S. Roma first football field 11) fire brigade buildingsabato 31 marzo 2012
  4. 4. Summary Testaccio started in roman times as an industrial area adjacent to the city: arrival terminal of grains, oil, wine and marble that was towed up the river from the port of Ostia. In the many centuries of decline that followed the fall of the empire, Testaccio was “countryside”, a place where romans went to enjoy the outdoors. This until 1870 when a new city plan restored its industrial role with the building of the city abattoire, wholesale market, gas plant, railway terminal. Residential areas were also built for the workers, making it the first (and only) area in Rome of planned urbanization. In the late XXth century, now completely urbanized but with no industrial activity left, the area is again the center of entertainment for the romans who patronize the many taverns and bars and attend the events at the Museum of Contemporary Art (in the buildings of the former abattoire)sabato 31 marzo 2012
  5. 5. To fully understand the evolution of the City, you need to know the evolution of its demographics 56(7"8(+()9(#%:0;%#(<&-=,.>0 Ceasar is killed &!!!" 378: Battle of Adrianopoli lost to Visigotes %#!!" Growth begins again !"#$%&()*+,-$./-+/012223 Punic Wars against Carthago with XVI Century %!!!" XXth Century Explosion $#!!" $!!!" Imperial Rome Centuries of Abandonment #!!" (population between 30 and 50,000) !" (!!" $!!" )!!" *!!" $)!!" $*!!" 4%-&sabato 31 marzo 2012
  6. 6. The “dump” was in use probably since the 1st century BC. Most findings examined date from 140 to 270 AC. After that date the oil trade moved to the coast and evenutally declined with the fall of the empire. From the inscriptions, most of the oil was imported from Spain (Baetica), with a minority coming from Lybia and Tunisia.sabato 31 marzo 2012
  7. 7. The pieces were orderly stacked to give the hill stability. Each layer was sprayed with quicklime (cal) to neutralize fermentation of organic residues.sabato 31 marzo 2012
  8. 8. The “cocci” tells a lot to historianssabato 31 marzo 2012
  9. 9. Most pieces in the dump are from the “round” part, the most difficult to use in other ways (e.g. construction)sabato 31 marzo 2012
  10. 10. Recently, excavations began to reveal the river port infrastructures along the Tiber, the Emporium, built after the 2nd Punic War to serve the needs of a growing Romesabato 31 marzo 2012
  11. 11. This included the main wharehouse ( Horrea Galbae) just besides Monte Testacciosabato 31 marzo 2012
  12. 12. Nearby Porticus Aemilia, 460X60 meters with 50 aisles, parts of which are still visible, was according to some another wharehouse and to others a naval shipyardsabato 31 marzo 2012
  13. 13. The construction of the “mura Aureliane”, included Testaccio in the city of Rome, but severed its link with the river Docks (dates coincide with the end of accumulation on the hill)sabato 31 marzo 2012
  14. 14. For many centuries after the fall of the Empire, Testaccio, while within the city walls, became “countryside”, home of tournaments, carnival games and religious ceremonies (Via Crucis) A print from 1661, showing an empty and isolated Testacciosabato 31 marzo 2012
  15. 15. Testaccio Games (1570)sabato 31 marzo 2012
  16. 16. In the XVIIth century “caves” started to be dug into Testaccio to keep wine, leveraging the good thermic insulation of the clay and the vineards that have been planted on the areasabato 31 marzo 2012
  17. 17. “Hosterias” made Testaccio the destination for “wine making fest” and pic nics with high alchool ratessabato 31 marzo 2012
  18. 18. Many of the “caves” are now restaurants and bars, making Testaccio one of the most popular night spots in Romesabato 31 marzo 2012
  19. 19. With the 1870 city plan, Testaccio became again an “industrial” area of Rome and homes for workers were built in a planned waysabato 31 marzo 2012
  20. 20. The former city abattoire now hosts the Museum of Contemporary Artsabato 31 marzo 2012
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  25. 25. Free riders (called in Rome “portoghesi”, see on the last page why) would go to the top of Monte Testaccio to watch the game of AS Roma without paying. From there you had a perfect view of the old field where the Roma team was bornsabato 31 marzo 2012
  26. 26. Testaccio is still today the center of AS Roma hard core fanssabato 31 marzo 2012
  27. 27. The Non Catholic Cemetery hosts many notable graves: Keats, Shelley,Von Humbolt, Gramsci Non catholics could not lay on consacrated land so began to be inhumated outside or close to the city wallssabato 31 marzo 2012
  28. 28. Testaccio is waiting!sabato 31 marzo 2012
  29. 29. Why “free riders” were called, in Rome and eventually in Italy, “portugueses”? In the XVIII Century the Ambassador of Portugal in Rome (then Vatican State) organized a show at Teatro Argentina. To get in for free, all it was needed was to state at the door to be a citizen of Portugal. Obviously many romans tried to pass as portuguese to avoid paying the ticket. From that the expression “non fare il portoghese” when someone tries to sneak into a show, party etc. without paying or being entitled. The episode is also recalled in the portuguese book “O Barco Pescarejo” by Josè Coutinhassabato 31 marzo 2012