Monte Testaccio

Monte Testaccio

Interesting and exclusive tour of Monte Testaccio, an artificial hill over 50 meters high built on the left bank of the Tiber River, downstream of the Forum Boario and the Tiberina island. It was a real dump of antiquity, composed of the remains of vases from the end of the Second Punic War and the imperial oil transported to Rome (in ancient Rome, oil was used for cooking as well as for lighting and massage in the spa).


The amphorae were loaded for trade in the origin territories, They were placed on large vessels that reached the port of Ostia. From there, they were transferred to smaller barges, which travelled back to the Tiber with the haulage technique (ie using ropes pulled by oxen) and dumped into the large port of Ripa Grande (the Emporium).

Archaeologists have recovered a lot of information by studying the chemical composition of the amphorae and studying the red inscriptions which were placed between the loops. These inscriptions were a real quality control and they indicated, a little as in our days, the origin of the oil (So we know it came mainly from Betica, corresponding to today's Andalusia), the producer, the buyer, the weight and even the year of production (indicated by the names of the consuls in office).

We shall be less ambitious than the archaeologists and we will content ourselves, so to speak, with a sensorial journey. So, once we cross the gate entrance, it is impressive to see the expanse of amphora of sight all around us and especially to hear the cracking of the fragments under our feet as we climb the hill to the summit. From here, we enjoy an unusual view of Rome today, our imagination will go to the Rome of 2000 years ago. Back to life on this extraordinary hill, the proliferation of businesses and people, slaves and livestock, the purchase and sale of oil and the bustle of carts carrying this old landfill, ready to be sealed with layers of limestone, the remains of amphorae impregnated with oil and unusable.



duration 1,5 hours
type archaeological area
entrance ticket not included entrance ticket not included
special opening special opening (please let me know a few days in advance, because we need to ask for a special permission to the superintendence)



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