At least I think it’s your birthday. We spent the day celebrating your birth by driving in a new direction from Narni under gloriously blue skies.
I had read a little e-newsletter about a very humble restaurant near Ponzano Romano and Michael and I decided that heading in that direction with a mind to lunching there was as good a plan as any. To get there our navigation system took us on some new back roads out of Narni, which were delightful.
We drove through Nepi, parked to admire the section of aquaduct that runs through part of the town and then headed off by the big Borgia Castello, which looks quite formidable and will make a good destination for another trip.
From Nepi it was a relatively short drive to Sutri, which was our prime intermediate destination. Our little guide booklet said that Sutri is a “pleasant little town most visited for its Roman ruins including a large amphitheater carved entirely out of an outcrop of tufa rock.” We didn’t make it into the pleasant little town but we spent a considerable time in the amphitheater (we were the only ones there) and then in the little church (Madonna of Birth), which is also carved out of the same tufa outcropping . . . along with a bunch of Roman tombs, which were repurposed over the millennia (the amphitheater is thought to have been constructed around the first century BCE) as stables and living places. The little church, which is still consecrated, was a repurposing of an ancient place of worship. The wall art in the church is pretty phenomenal. Very vivid. I particularly liked the painting and relief of The Archangel Michael to whom the church was originally dedicated.
Amazingly enough, after our bit of sightseeing, we not only found the restaurant that was the original motivation for our outing but found it open for lunch. It is very local. We began with a fried pizza (this seems to be a recurring theme). It was scrumptious. It was very Italian flaggy, with stripes of green (chard), white (lardo), and red (prosciutto). It was crispy, crumbly goodness. We each then had a fettuccine dish because the fettuccine is made in house. Also delectable. Contrary to what the photos below show, we didn’t have a secondo (I have conflated several meals in the photos) but jumped right in to the dessert featured in the photo at the top. Cream and merengue and mixed berries . . . sounds a lot like Eton Mess but here it was called Sbriciolata (or something like that). Another successful overeating experience.
And speaking of overeating, the final four food photos are from our dinner last night. We actually ventured out after dark in the car along narrow country lanes to get to the Trattoria da Sara. Everything is made in house and has been since 1927 if the sign is to be believed. Not many people in the restaurant on a Monday night but the table with the three Dutch guys was very happy and, when their gargantuan starter plates were served and my jaw hit the table with such force that they looked up and saw me, they even let me take a photo. They followed the starters with the chicken diavolo for two of them and a roasted pigeon for the other. Also on the menu were guinea fowl, dove, thrush on a skewer (if available) and other, what I would call more normal, things. Michael and I shared a plate of gnocchi with a four cheese sauce and then had the grilled lamb riblets. Definitely finger food. The panna cotta for dessert was the best I have had so far . . . and I’ve had more that I care to mention.
Anyway, happy birthday, honorary lady. Hope your day was as pleasant as was ours.