The Mound of the Shards and the Emporium of Ancient Rome

Monte Testaccio

Since the republican age the Emporium was the landing point of goods and raw materials (marble, corn, wine and oil ) which arrived by sea to the port of Ostia and went up the river on barges towed  by buffalos to reach the great port of Rome with its endless lines of warehouses. Over the centuries, the pieces of the oil jars that, due to the type of food contained, could not be reused, were neatly stacked , piece by piece, to form an artificial mound behind the port: the Mons Testaceus, known by the Romans as mound of the shards . 35 meters of broken amphorae, mostly from Spain, accumulated over the centuries. Climbing the hill of Testaccio  literally means walking on shards: loops, edges and bottoms are clearly identifiable so as the layers are clearly visible on the sides of the hill. A walk along the trail of the ancient Horrea (warehouses ) will lead us from Mount Testaccio to the ruins of the Roman port on the Tiber.