Day-trip: Frascati

Monday was one of those overcast-but-warm days when you can really smell spring in the damp air. It was also my day off of work, so my sister-in-law invited me to join her for lunch in the Castelli Romani.

The Castelli Romani are the old hilltop towns to the southeast of the city. They’re great for mini day-trips, but the main reason I go is — of course — the food. The area is known for a type of eatery called a fraschetta. They serve local cured meats, cheeses, porchetta, pastas, veggies, sausages, steaks and wine, usually cafeteria-style. You might end up sharing one of the long, picnic-like tables with fellow diners, but it’s cheap and it’s good.

We ended up in the town of Frascati: known for its white wine and cookies in the shape of a three-breasted woman. Being a Monday, most of the restaurants were closed, but after a stroll through the main piazza and down the winding streets, we happened upon Cantina il Pergolato on Via del Castello. It was a typical fraschetta. With our plastic trays in hand we chose from the large glass display: artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, peas, mozzarella, porchetta, olives and fresh bread. And wine. We had every intention of ordering a hot dish afterwards (like a pasta or meat) but we were too full.

Instead we decided to take a walk along the edge of the old town and take in the panoramic views. Later in the afternoon, we ended up at Bar degli Specchi — or Bar of the Mirrors — for a coffee and amaro (a bitter digestive). With our stomachs full and our taste buds satisfied, we headed home.

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