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In Italy, “insieme” means together…

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May 8, 2016 / Italian / By
Anna

Or, you can use the noun form of the word, l’insieme, to mean “togetherness”; that cosy, family feeling of shared interests and experiences. And if there’s one shared experience that all Italians love, it’s eating together in a group and sharing, not just the food, but the good feelings that food combined with family togetherness brings to all. Now, if this is beginning to sound a little uncomfortably “new-agey”, rest assured that as far as Italy and its inhabitants are concerned, it’s old, old, old.

Doing something together in a group and then finishing the experience over a good meal is quintessentially Italian. It would be quite unthinkable for the members of the group to just go their separate ways after the business of the day or morning was done. Eating together cements the good feelings in place and creates a desire to do it all again, sometime soon.

On this occasion, the “business” of the morning was a guided visit to a number of sites in Umbria’s lovely town of Spoleto, a town with a colorful Roman, medieval and renaissance past. Our guide was friend, professional art restorer and Spoletina, Annamaria. We started with a tour of Rocca di Spoleto, the rather forbidding looking fortress that dominates the town (until just a few years ago, a maximum security prison, despite its age). Now the Rocca is a museum to Spoleto’s Roman, Lombard and Papal States past; it contains artefacts and artworks that span 2000 years. We also visited the little church of Saints John and Paul, containing some rather lovely frescoes (sadly, not in great condition, due to earthquakes, neglect and having been plastered over during “renovations” in the last couple of hundred years.

And then, as it was after 1.00pm, lunchtime - or pranzo as the Italians call it. Now, Spoleto has some mighty fine restaurants and I have written about one of them here. I really should write about more, but for now, Cantina de' Corvi should be on your “must try” list, if you happen to find yourselves in Spoleto. It was Annamaria's choice and you should always trust local knowledge on these matters. She lives in Spoleto and in her time has tried plenty of the local eating places; faced with taking a group of friends to one of them, Cantina de Corvi was the one. It’s a bit out of the way, but that’s less and less of a problem now with phones and Satnav systems. Just locate it and follow the directions: you will not be disappointed, whether it’s a light lunch or a more substantial evening meal. And don’t forget Italian togetherness - take plenty of people with you. Be prepared to not hear any more than the conversation of your immediate neighbors - everyone in an Italian restaurant talks loudly and volubly; you might as well join in, because even if your group is quiet, all the other diners won’t be. There’s far too much to talk about and far too much “togetherness” to celebrate to worry about your conversation disturbing the other diners.

Lunch for me at Cantina de' Corvi consisted of black truffle-flavored Strangozzi al Tartufo as my pasta dish and girandole di maiale (oven-roasted pork steaks in a delicious sauce) with seasonal greens for my main.

If you think that strangozzi is just spaghetti by another name, fine, but keep it to yourself - strangozzi is probably the most Umbrian pasta you’ll meet in this region, and to suggest that it’s just spaghetti! Oh mamma mia!!!

 

Cantina de' Corvi

Country: Italy

Province/State: Umbria

City: Spoleto

Address: Piazzetta S.S. Giovanni e Paolo, 10/A

Zip/Post Code: 06049

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: (+39) 0743 420427

Website:No website, but has a Fac...

Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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