Monte Testaccio

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One of the most peculiar places of interest in Rome is the archeological site of Monte Testaccio, literally the “Potsherd mountain”, where you can also spend a nice evening thanks to the several restaurants and pubs that were dug right on the side of the hill.

As the name suggests, the unique artificial hill is constituted by shards of amphoras made of terracotta that could not be used anymore and therefore were thrown on the top of the pile which, as the time passed, reached 54 metres height and 1 kilometre circumference.

The site is famous for its archeological value, but also to be a center of activity in the past. In the 15th century for example the area was one of the set for the celebration of Carnival (a catholic festive season that takes place usually around February), remarkable for the cruel games that were played. One of them was the “Ludus Testaccie” in which livestock was thrown off the slope and had to be killed and collected by the participants.

After the Carnival was moved by Paolo II in the early 16th century, the mountain was chosen to represent Mount Calvary as the final step of the live recreation of the Station of the Cross led by the Pope, as recalled by the cross that was put on top.

In the 17th century the area was transformed by two entrepreneurs of the time. They realized that the caves that were carved out of the hill could serve as excellent cellars, since terracotta provided good isolation and the lime that was used to avoid deterioration of the oil leftovers contained by the amphoras assured stability, so they turned them in taverns and inns. Still today the area stands out for its great nightlife.



Keep Connected


Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.


Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 21:22 on Nov 1, 15 by Utrecht. No articles link to this page.

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