After many announcements and denials, discussions and debates, finally the farmers’ market at Ex-Mattatoio at Testaccio (slaughterhouse until 1975, then transformed into a cultural center) has moved away on April 13, 2013. Approximately 30 sellers have moved their stalls to the covered market in Passino road (Garbatella area), closed for over ten years for renovation, where the local sellers – now in Santa Galla road – don’t want to go back as there is no parking nor a lot of people passing by.
A walk through the stalls
“We would have preferred to stay where we were – explains the miller Giulio who comes from a village near L’Aquila to present his spelt flour products, made in a mill which survived to the last earthquake – it was a better place for a farmers’ market as ours. The customers were different, it hardly ever happened that someone asked me to decrease the price and then there is the parking issue. Now they are telling us they will give us the parking of a school nearby, but as of now parking remains an issue”.
With the slogan ‘seasonal and local’ farmers and local producers are still the same, coming from the whole Lazio region and even further to sell their goodies. Next to the traditional fruit and vegetable stalls, where the queues grow longer and longer, there are a lot of other products, such as sauces, vegetable purees, juices, pate, honey, jams and desserts such as those by a small bio company (Naturalita) which uses chocolate, honey, jams prepared by Trappist monks and self-made ones.
You can’t miss ‘porchetta’ (roasted pork) stalls, pork and beef meat stalls as well as cold cuts stands (such as Dany’s one, from Veroli): ham, bologna, salami, cheek lard and bacon, directly from Amatriciana homeland.
Then, many stalls offer chestnuts, walnuts, nuts or nut flours, while if you fancy brightening up your home with a splash of colour, look out for Angelo’s flower and herb stall, who also sells some vegs, such as fresh onions.
“The first time I went to the farmers’ market at the ex Mattatoio at Testaccio, I was only three weeks old. I didn’t know anything about the world, but I went to the market. Mummy and Daddy put me up on a flower stall and took a picture. I was pretending to sleep, but I was actually taking it all in.
I came back several times. I went from the buggy to the baby band, from the baby band to the pushchair and finally walking by myself.
In Campo Boario court there is a playground. Last time I went I climbed up on a hobbyhorse and I thought I was riding. When the sun is shining, it’s a very nice place.
Then one day Mummy told me: ‘the farmers’ market has moved’ and she took me to the new one. In the meanwhile, I got a shopping trolley as a present, it’s a toy but it works very well so I carried it all over the market, and I even put in it some pizza bianca (literally, white pizza – which is pizza dough without any sauce) and spelt bread. I don’t know if the farmers are happy, but I liked the new market because it’s so bright. Well, I couldn’t ride on the hobbyhorse anymore.”
At Aminternum stall – Giulio Pace’s company – you can buy fresh tagliatelle or the flour to make them on your own.
For six people: sift 200g of spelt flour and 200g of white flour, arrange it as a ‘vulcan’ on a cutting board and leave a hole in the middle. Put in the hole 4 eggs, 2 spoons of olive oil and two spoons of warm water, then knead until the dough becomes smooth and soft. To stretch and cut the tagliatelle, you can use a rolling pin and knife or, if you have it, the pasta making machine. Sauce suggested by season: asparagus cream in spring, zucchini cream in summer, pumpkin cream in autumn/winter.
Just around the corner
Passino road market is located in the heart of one of most loved neighborhood in town and one of the most seen in movies: Garbatella. A neighborhood with a strong identity, that we can sum up in a few words: working-class, anti-fascist and ‘romanista’ (meaning fan of Roma soccer team, versus Lazio). And also – as the name recalls – a “female” neighborhood.
The story tells that GARBATELLA was the owner of a tavern to refresh pilgrims along the Seven Churches path, created by St. Filippo Neri in ‘500. According to the legend, the ‘kindness’ she showed towards customers was not limited to table service, but included the satisfaction of other ‘appetites’. That might be the reason why the female bust leaning from a building in Piazza Bonomelli – and that everyone in the neighborhood identifies with the "gentle host" – shows her naked breasts to anyone passing occasionally.
Some sources actually claim to reveal the host’s first name: Carlotta. Although historians don’t confirm, the inhabitants have named without hesitation one of the symbols of the neighborhood, FONTANA CARLOTTA, otherwise known as the "lovers" fountain. With its girl face with loose hair, from whose mouth fresh water comes out, this refreshment monument in Ricoldo from Montecroce square, is the second female ‘milestone’ in Garbatella.
After suggesting these two things to see, our advice is to just walk around and get lost in the streets and internal courts, typical of the early ‘900’s buildings hosting working-class families, sort of replicating the English ‘garden city’ model, with a style called “barocchetto”. The best example is the 13 cottages at Lotto nr. 24, between via delle Sette Chiese and via Borri, but it’s also interesting to see the ‘suburban hotels’ in Michele da Carbonara square, presented to the first Rational Architecture exhibition in 1928: among them, the one catching attention is the so called ALBERGO ROSSO (red hotel). Walking around, you will have the feeling of being in a small town into town, and you will understand why many things are called with a diminutive: St. Isidoro and Eurosia church (where St. Filippo Neri and St. Carlo Borromeo met in 1575) is called “Chiesoletta” (literally, little church), the kindergarten Children’s Home is known as “Scoletta” (little school), the former Fascist House and later seat of the Communist party is called “Villetta” (little villa) and the viewpoint at Brin square – where in 1920 King Vittorio Emanuele III put the district foundation stone – has been named “Pincetto (little Pincio) of Garbatella”, affectionate comparison with Pincio terrace, facing on the central piazza del Popolo.
While walking around, you will get an image for each of the adjectives describing Garbatella:
anti-fascist (the working-class origin of its inhabitants has made it a stronghold during Resistence time; today’s fights are shown by the graffiti, whose forefather is the red writing “Vote Garibaldi List nr. 1” embeded on a wall in Brollo road in 1948), romanista (the Roma club is one of the most popular in town, also thanks to a TV series, and in these streets was born and grew up Agostino Di Bartolomei, “the captain” for a whole generation of soccer fans before Totti’s era) and cinematographic (Nanni Moretti crosses it by Vespa in “Caro Diario” (in english Dear Diary) and places his teacher “Bianca”, in “Cesare Battisti” school at Sauli square; this is the neighborhood in which a young Alberto Sordi has lived for 13 years, and where many other actors representing Roman style were born, such as Maurizio Arena, Gigi Proietti, Enrico Montesano and Valerio Mastandrea; and then the Lazio Region Palace at the district boundary hosts the office of the Fantozzi, another popular Italian character).
Saturday, h 8:30 – 18:00 and Sunday , h 8:30 – 14:30 (closed in August)
|metro||Line B, Garbatella|