After nearly eight years in Italy, I have had some impressive dining experiences but Ristorante Sibilla in Tivoli still managed to steal a piece of my heart with its incredible atmosphere and delightful dishes.
I cannot believe it has taken me so long to visit Tivoli, which is only a 30 minute trip from Rome if you manage to catch the fast train (and an hour if you find yourself on the slow version). The little Lazio town is beyond charming and full of both history, stunning gardens, and gorgeous natural vistas.
Most dreamy of all might really be Ristorante Sibilla which dates back to 1720. The restaurant is perched on a cliff next to the entrance to the Villa Gregorio reserve and literally up against the Temple of Sibilla.
It was Alessandra, the owner of the sweet Torre Sant’Antonio hotel in Tivoli, that told me I really had to have lunch here.
She was so right.
I was sold as soon as I saw Ristorante Sibilla across the gorge, but what really did it for me was stepping foot into their outdoor dining area. A pergola like that does not just happen, people.
Throw in some white tables cloths and a temple and you have a truly impressive setting.
I was dining alone with the baby and they could not have been more gracious about it. A high chair arrived, and so did flatbread straight from their woodfire oven.
As soon as I saw the oven and the roasting racks waiting next to it, I knew I wanted to get something grilled. However, the waiter gently talked me out of it by explaining that I was already ordering too much food for one person.
Taking his advice, I stuck with their specialty to start: fiori di zucca.
This is a typical Italian dish but at Sibilla, they are served deconstructed: with the fried zucchini blossoms served atop fresh mozzarella di bufala with the anchovies on the side. I liked being able to control the level of brininess from the fish and the creaminess of the cheese with each bite. (And there was also a red pepper sorbetto but I didn’t really understand why).
My main course was homemade gnocchi with tomatoes, pecorino cheese, and Bronte pistachios served atop a pesto.
I settled back to finish my wine and watch the speckles sun sneak through the grape leaves, all the while planning my next trip.
Via della Sibilla, 50
Tivoli, Italy (Lazio)
+39 0774 335281
Open: Tuesday – Saturday from 12:30 – 3 pm and 7:30 pm – 11 pm. Sunday lunch only. Closed Monday.