The spring has been so strange, with thunderstorms and freezing winds marking the first day of June. So you’ll just have to trust me when I say that sometimes when the weather is hot you get a nagging urge to leave Rome for the day.
One such place to skip off to is the ancient volcanic rock town of Calcata.
When Calcata’s cliffs began crumbling in the 1930s, the village was condemned and abandoned. Slowly but surely, in the 1960s and 70s, hippies and artists began to reclaim the hilltop town. The squatters revitalized the village and the city eventually reversed the condemnation order.
Today, the quiet piazze are the perfect place to lunch outside of the city.
And the best lunch to be had is at La Piazzetta (in other words, aptly named: The Little Piazza).
Lunch at La Piazzetta was the most delicious food I have had in quite some time. We were spoiled by Gianluca, his wife and daughter (caught in the picture above). At the popular family-run restaurant we feasted on a Roman speciality- cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper). The dish was made of strangozzi fatto a mano (hade made pasta), a dish made senza uova (without eggs- just flour and water).
As a secondo, we dined on sausages made by the restaurant owners themselves, served grilled to perfection and topped with fennel.
The zero KM restaurant (meaning it serves hyper-local foods), was constantly turning guests away. Best to call ahead for a reservation and request a table outside if the weather is nice.
After lunch, we happily continued exploring the narrow streets of the small town. In addition to artists, Calcata is famous for it’s cats.
You arrive in Calcata after exiting the autostrada and continuing on for 20 minutes of winding roads through a lush green valley. It’s about 40 km north of Rome and accessible by car. Calcata is an easy day trip from Rome, and well worth the short drive to have lunch in this ancient town of artists.
I wouldn’t have discovered Calcata without the lovely Laura who organized a tour Scoprire La Tuscia– a trip designed to discover the ancient land of the Etruscans. I’ll have more on the trip soon!
For lunch in Calcata:
Via San Giovanni, 47
0761.588078 or 335.6682776
Closed Wednesday and Thursday