Where Wine Tasting is a Mystical Experience

What seems like an ordinary wine tasting room hides a secret cellar.  Cantina del Notaio has a strong reputation for making excellent wines in the volcanic soil of Mt. Vulture.  Its wine shop is on the main street in Rionero and looks like any ordinary storefront.  But go down to see the barrels and you find yourself below the streets of town in old chambers of stone and brick, the ideal temperature and humidity for wine storage. Read more

My Go-To Roman Restaurant

In a city where restaurants come and go, it’s nice to have an “old dependable”-a place that doesn’t change with the trends and is a comfortingly consistent presence.

That’s what Trattoria Sant’Andrea is for me.  Located in the upscale area of the Spanish Steps, this is a district where new eateries crop up with carefully constructed “Contemporary Style” and “Trendy Furnishings” to attract wannabe fashionistas but, too often, offer mediocre food of miniscule portions at elevated prices, because it’s all about “The Atmosphere” and “The Concept”.  You might have a good meal at those places, but then the next time it will be dull, and, honestly, usually the service pretty much sucks. Read more

Spaghetti City: Amatrice

Spaghetti City: Amatrice

The compact, picturesque stone and stucco town of Amatrice rests just off the ancient via Salaria, in western Lazio where it nearly kisses Abruzzo. Here the mountains loom larger and the landscape grows more intensely rugged. Driving along the lovely valley you skirt a small lake. The setting alone is worth the trip to Amatrice, its pastoral position seems to sit just below the clouds. Read more