OLIVES, ETRUSCANS, AND PAUL
Paul is here! This will be way too long if I describe how happy I am to be with him again. Longer still if I describe my race to the airport to be there on time. Daylight Savings Time arriving in Italy this weekend… who knew? Everything worked out, and it was a wonderful reunion.
We took a very slightly longer but much more scenic drive home. Rather taking the freeway, we drove up the coast, then through olive country, and finally around the rim of Lake Bolsena. The difference in time is a little under two hours by freeway and about 2-1/4 hours by the coast. I will never recommend the freeway route again.
The coastal route was easy to access from the airport, and the first half was very standard highway driving along the Mediterranean coast. It’s no California Highway 1, though — one hardly ever sees the water. A bit past Cittavecchia (a port that may be familiar because cruise ships dock there for their Rome stops), the road changed to 2 lanes and got much more interesting. It also headed inland, so the beautiful scenery was countryside rather than coast. And unlike the freeway route, we had our choice of several inviting stops along the way.
Our first stop was the Vulci Archeological Park, which features the ruins of an Etruscan metropolis dating from, oh, 1,000 – 900 B.C. No, really. It was very interesting, the day was beautiful, and the countryside serene. And Paul was exhausted. He pulled an all-nighter the night before his departure, so it wasn’t just the jet lag. We strolled through the ruins of the clever defensive structures and aristocrat’s residence then walked out to the riverbank. Paul was fading fast (I think the term “death march” came up), so we took a shortcut back. Oops. We didn’t stop for the photo until there was a fence separating us from these fellas.
Our next stop was much more delicious. The area around Canino is known for its olives, and that was obvious from the scenery. A frantoio is an olive oil production facility, and our friends told us that Frantoio Arturo Archibusacci is the best in the region. They also said there’s a good restaurant. We found only a minor point of disagreement: it’s a great restaurant!
Paul forgot his reading glasses in the car, then it became obvious that he didn’t have to retrieve them because there was no menu to read. After a brief discussion with the waiter, we selected bruschetta (one with good olive oil and salt, the other with a sublime olive tapenade) and an unbelievable antipasto feast. We each had a primo — I had an asparagus lasagne and Paul had the pappardelle cinghiale. We never made it to the “main course” (secondo piatto), and Paul was asleep in the front seat before we left the parking lot.
He has only my word for it, but the rest of the drive home was beautiful. The back road route took us up in the hills above Lake Bolsena and provided breathtaking views and easy driving.
For anyone keeping track of such things, the restaurant is called Ristorante La Bruschetteria di Arturo and the address is Via di Corneto, snc – 01011, Canino (VT). Phone: 0761 437202. I had the feeling we were lucky to get in on a weekend without a reservation, so I will definitely call ahead next time. It’s closed on Mondays. “Reservation” is prenotazione, “lunch” is pranzo, and “dinner” is cena. And, this being Italy, there are plenty of words for “delicious.”
And Daylight Savings Time always begins in Italy on the last weekend of March and ends the last weekend of October. Good to know.