Città dell'Altra Economia Biomarket



icona-alimentareicona abbigliamentoNow that the farmers’ market has moved to Passino road, the bio producers (certified) are the only ones remaining in the open area just in front of ‘Alternative Economy City’ at the former slaughter house at Testaccio, together with a number of craftsmen, selling their creations on week-ends. 

A walk through the stalls

04In this open area, where animals used to be sold, there are now a bio bar and restaurant, where you can have a drink or a delicious snack, a book store and several labs.
From September to June food and art craft live together, so you can find Amelia’s apples and cheeses next to Guglielmina’s wool and cotton creations; or cookies and other goodies next to Antonella’s bags and ribbon necklaces; or Sara’s multicolor ceramics next to strawberries and asparagus sold by Caramadre company from Fiumicino. 

Francesco from Caramadre explains “The bio strawberries, not treated with pesticides, have only one secret: they should be eaten a few hours after being picked. We have a big turnover, we supply schools, kinder gardens and corporate canteens, so we are allowed not to treat our strawberries, because we pick them in the morning and before the end of the day they have all been eaten”.
There is also a bio ice-cream stand (Carassale Naturale) which supplies kinder gardens and schools and runs a fresh 06pasta (strictly bio) lab in Pigneto neighborhood, on top of proposing cream flavors (chocolate, caramel cream, tirami giù – literally take me down, as opposite to ‘tiramisù’ which in Italian means take me up) and sorbets (apple, strawberry, lemon) to the market customers. A wide variety of people actually: young couples with kids, elder people, teen agers… and dogs of any race and size. For those without a home, there are these nice ladies from ‘Orme e Impronte’ (literally ‘paw prints’) volunteering association, who sell books and other things to raise funds to build a shelter for these “hairy friends”. This is just one of the many not for profit associations at the Biomarket, where there is a lot of room also for volunteering initiatives.

Alice’s wonderland

“At the recreation ground I like the slide, the swing and the merry-go-round. But what I like the most is the sand pit. I could stay there for days, with a shovel and a bucket (a classic), or with spoons, small plates and jars (to make sand cakes and ice cream, yummy!), or even with some boy’s cars and cranes, if he lends them to me.09

When I went at the Biomarket at Ex Mattatoio, I ran to the sand pit and stayed there all the time Mummy was shopping, talking with the producers and the craftsmen and taking them pictures. I even became friend with a boy, one with many cars and cranes who let me play all the time! 
From the sand (can you imagine my shoes and socks when I came out?!) I could even take a quick look at the market. Very nice, with all those white gazebos next to each other. Mummy said that during the summer the market moves to the coast and I really hope I’ll go too so I can play with sand… the real one!”

icone aliceALICE'S TIP

Next to the farmers and craftsmen's market, there is a very nice place, inside a big old building which used to be a slaughterhouse, where they used to kill some poor cows, as Mummy explained me.
You should really go there. It's called Tana liberi tutti, it's a bookshop for kids, but also a game area and a lab. Every Sunday morning there is a workshop, and maybe also some day during the week. You can color, cut, paste, make masks, houses, dinosaurs or even paper eggs for Easter.
Everytime I went, I brought home something really really nice. Not to talk about the books, which you can leaf through and then buy... there are some beautiful ones!


Just around the corner


The first interesting thing to look at if you go to the Biomarket in the former slaughterhouse is… the slaughterhouse! It’s one of the most impressive examples of Roman industrial archeology. It has been slaughtering and processing meat from 1890 to 1975, when it was actually closed. But the area has been used for different purposes since then: it has hosted – and sometimes still hosts – community centers, architecture classes, the ‘Alternative Economy City’ and the Gay Village of Rome.

A building that deserves a visit is the second site of the Contemporary Art Museum of Rome, called MACRO TESTACCIO. It is probably the only museum in town open every day (except on Mondays) from 4 pm to midnight. This makes Macro – now enriched by the exhibition area “La Pelanda” – one of spots of the lively nightlife of the neighborhood. In 2013, the new Photography Museum should be opened.


A little further, rises up the true symbol of the district, MONTE TESTACCIO, or “potsherd mountain”. Looking carefully, you can understand the reason of such a name: the ‘mountain’ is nothing but a dump of ancient Roman amphora, which potsherd have been piling up to 35 meters high. It is a nice place for a walk. On the top there is a cross, planted in 1914, which recalls the time when the mountain was the crossroad between holy and profane. Holy, because it represented the Golgotha, last station of the Cross on the Holy Friday at the time of Pope Paul II (1464-1471). Profane, because it hosted the crazy Carnival celebrations, including horse rides and bullfights. As of Seventeenth century, the profane nature took over: in the caves at the bottom of the hill were opened the first taverns and the area became the destination of the so-called ‘Roman October’. Romans used to celebrate grapes harvest drinking, dancing and competing on folk songs. The taverns in Monte Testaccio caves have lasted up to date, and with them the ‘drinking’ fame of the neighborhood.

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Sunday (occasionally on Saturday), h 9:00-17:00

PARCHEGGIO available on Lungo Tevere (paying on Saturday), free on Largo Frisullo

From Colosseo, Line 673
From Piazza Venezia, Line 781

METRO Line B, Piramide – distance 1,2 km
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