ALL IN A DAY’S WORK

Two and a half years out of a perfectly wonderful career at Procter & Gamble, I still find myself mildly unsettled without a real job description (let alone quarterly goals, success measures, and annual reviews) for my work at Rocca di Benano. If I had one, it would include something along these lines:

Accelerate guests’ enjoyment of rural Italy by providing them ample recommendations for day trips, activities, restaurants, etc.

All of which is to say that my afternoon in Bolsena was a business trip. It was my job to make the 25-minute drive down to this beautiful medieval town situated on Europe’s largest volcanic lake on a spectacular Spring day.

I had to have lunch at Trattoria Picchietto, a lovely restaurant that we recommend to our guests. I had a delicious Minestra di Tinca, or spicy fish soup, and field-fresh salad. Other diners in the courtyard were so friendly that those at the next table poured me a glass of the wine from their bottle when they saw I was alone — and wineless. But these were merely fringe benefits of my work. My objective was to optimize the relevance of the consumer-facing copy I produce for guests. Simply put, I was efforting to gather value-added learnings that will take my material to the next level. (See? I still have it.)

My after-lunch stop didn’t go according to the work-plan. (Note to self: will you ever learn to anticipate afternoon closures in Italy?) I had about an hour to kill, so I did what any self-respecting business traveller would do: I stopped in on Bella Pizza, one of the best pizza a taglio (pizza by the slice) places in the area, and bought a couple of slices for my dinner. And I still had time to walk down the broad boulevard to Lake Bolsena, which sparkled in the afternoon sun. In true corporate fashion, I squeezed in a coffee break, too.

Finally, I was able to fulfill my final objective for the visit (I am nothing if not diligent): I sampled the highly touted (and deservedly so) gelateria just off the main town square. It’s a friendly, surprisingly small shop, and the gelato (I had ricotta/cinnamon and chocolate) is exquisite.

The particulars:

The restaurant: Trattoria Tipica da Picchietto, Via Porta Fiorentiana, 15, Phone: (0761) 799158. Closed Mondays.

The pizza: Bella Pizza, Via G. Marconi, 10, Phone: (0761) 799904

The gelato: Gelateria Santa Cristina, Corso della Repubblica 8, Phone: (0761) 798758

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