Right across the street from Santa Maria Liberatrice in Testaccio, Pasticceria Linari welcomes the neighborhood in for a light snack and conversation. The day we discovered it was the feast day of the patron saint of the church and the place was buzzing with people who were pouring out of the church. Besides the religious holiday, this was a celebration day for the entire neighborhood of Testaccio. You could see the camaraderie of the patrons, they were people who knew one another.
With all the pastries on offer, it was difficult to make a purchase at the cash register without knowing the names of all the items, but a tourist could manage with a few Italian numbers and the word “paste” (pah stay) meaning pastries and the adjectives grande and piccolo. Once that was cleared up you had to fight your way to the bar where your order would be filled. There was definitely a lull at the moment this photo was taken, since I recall fighting my way through a line 3 people deep, similar in nature to a working man’s bar during the “last call”. People were placing their receipts down with a few coins on top to encourage service.
Here’s some of what you can expect to find (you can enlarge each photo by clicking on it):
If you’ve ever wanted to travel and live like the natives then a bakery like Linari is a good choice for your experiment. It’s located in a working class neighborhood that is not flooded with tourists and the items are made for the local taste and priced to be affordable. You pick up local customs if you pay attention, like offering a few coins with the receipt for faster service (although looking dazed and confused worked very well for me) and feel as though you could easily blend in if only you could keep your mouth shut! We were greeted by several locals who seemed slightly amused, but happy that we were able to see something of their daily routine. It was a win win situation and I look forward to going back ther on our next visit to Rome.
Linari like Bernini is also more than a bakery, it also serves gelato and sells other items including wine. Here are some photos of the gelato that are decorated with the main ingredient of each flavor. Cute idea, especially for children who cannot yet read.
And now for a little something different: