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Testaccio & Ostiense, Rome

Italy's insider take:

Built at the end of the 19th century around the Mattatoio—the municipal slaughterhouse—the Testaccio neighborhood has grown ever trendier over the past couple of decades. At its produce market in Piazza Testaccio (Monday through Saturday mornings), locals elbow their way between clued-in shoe-seekers who know that this is where last season's models and this season's samples end up, at ridiculously cheap prices. Dug into the sides of Monte Testaccio—a hill made of broken amphorae deposited here in ancient times from the nearby river port—are some of the city's smartest clubs and discos, such as Akab (69 Via di Monte Testaccio; 39-06-57-250-585; and Caruso (36 Via di Monte Testaccio; 39-06-574-5019; For more venues, see Nightlife. Part of the former Mattatoio hosts exciting exhibits organized by MACRO, Rome's contemporary art museum (54 Via Reggio Emilia; 39-06-6710-70-400;

South of Testaccio, the Ostiense district is now what Testaccio was 15 years ago: definitely not gentrified but appreciated by the cognoscenti. It is coming into its own with the completion of the first stage of a makeover of the former wholesale fruit and vegetable market—to a design by Dutch superstar architect Rem Koolhaas. In the meantime, Ostiense is home to the coolest of clubs, such as Classico Village, Goa, and La Saponeria (in Via Libetta and Via degli Argonauti), and to the Centrale Montemartini. Perhaps Rome's most striking museum, the Centrale features ancient statues in a restored power station (106 Via Ostiense; 39-06-574-8030;; Tues.–Sun. 9:30 am–7 pm).

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