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The slum-ridden Casilino-Mandrione neighborhood was once home to a bedraggled collection of gypsies, prostitutes, and violent criminals. It was such a zone of desperation that Pasolini turned to Madrione when he wanted to capture utter squalor. These days, the ‘hood is on the upswing. While (gratefully) far from any sort of SoHo makover, Mandrione has developed into a vibrant working-class area. It’s solidly Roman—dialect included—with the Felice Acqueduct (see above) running straight down its middle for extra authenticity.
At local restaurant Betto e Mary (Via dei Savorgnan, 99. Tel. 0645421780) you’ll find it next to impossible to spend over €15. No ties are allowed; in fact, all ties are confiscated at the door. The friendly waiters have a penchant for cows, and jokingly alert customers to the use of Mucca Pazza (mad cow) meat on the premises. Enjoy heaping piles of grilled meat of all kinds, pasta trios, and classic Roman cuisine at prices you’ll swear they’ve miscalculated.
Betto e Mary is definitely worth the trek. Booking is essential.