In the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 issue of Dream of Italy, we write about our incredibly tasty experience joining a brand new, near daily four-hour food tour of Rome’s Testaccio neighborhood. The tour was memorable not just for the nine tastings of Roman delicacies but for the changes to meet the characters behind the food,"Rome’s unsung food heroes," our guide called them.
We met a handful of them at the 97-year-old covered Testaccio Market, including Carmelo, whose stand is devoted solely to selling 45 varieties of tomatoes and Alvaro, a flirtatious fishmonger who has been working at the market for over 70 years! Testaccio Market just might have the highest density of Italian culinary treasures of any place in Italy, but change is afoot…
In the spring of 2012, the historic Testaccio Market will close and will reopen in Nuovo Mercato Testaccio (pictured above) a 10,000-square-meter building off Via Galvini, a few blocks away from the current location. The new market will also be home to a modern shopping center and student residences. It hasn’t been determined what will be done with the current historic space.
The new market, which was spearheaded by the local government in order to attract greater private investment in the neighborhood, has been controversial in Testaccio, especially with the vendors. Rents will be double in the new facility. How will vendors make up the difference? If they pass along the costs to the customers, their prices will not be competitive with local supermarkets. The only hope is to increase sales volume. The new market will have underground parking and could attract customers from all over Rome.
So if you will be in Rome in the first half of 2012, get to the historic Testaccio Market before it closes forever OR be one of the first to visit the new Testaccio Market.
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