Ariccia may be our favorite town in the Colli Albani. The entrance to it is simply spectacular: over
an elegant and long bridge, spanning a deep gorge, the city center just at the end, magnificent views of the coastal plain and the Mediterranean beyond.
The tranquil main square, with a bar and exterior seating, is the perfect place for a morning coffee.
Around the corner is "main street," narrow and inviting, shops and bars, locals sitting--and trimming green beans.
Then there's a whole "other" Ariccia, just through the town and down left: a spilling semicircle with perhaps a dozen restaurants and cafes, all featuring some version of pork, most with some sort of pig logo out front. (The bridge to the right of the photo on the right is the same one pictured in the older photo, below.)
|Today, the restaurant area is to the right, and down. View looking north/northwest.|
And trucks delivering Ariccia pig meat going by.
One time we chose Osteria del Borgo and pappardelle with...pork (wild boar)! And a plateful of porchetta (photos above and left). All pork all the time (we first wrote about Ariccia's porchetta in 2011). On another visit we discovered a street of restaurants heading up the hill alongside the Parco dei Chigi. Men and women hawking their restaurants even crossed the street to accost us. Nonetheless, we chose one - Osteria da Angelo (da 1920, "hand made pasta" - those factors attracted us), and had a terrific porchetta "starter" followed by that pasta. We've now discovered the difference between dry and moist porchetta. You definitely want the latter. And, you need to eat it with some of the crispy skin and fat for flavor. Just do it.
|View of "lower" Ariccia (the dome of Bernini's church is visible), part of the immense park, and, beyond, the Mediterranean. The nets at the side of the bridge are there to catch would-be suicides.|
|Chigi Pope Alexander VII (we think), eyed by Dianne.|
It was a setting for the 1963 Luchino Visconti film, Il Gattopardo ("The Leopard"), starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, and now hosts exhibitions and events.
|From the terrace.|
The rather plain facade belies a complex and rich decorated interior. A balcony/deck overlooks the gorge and park below--what used to be Chigi property - and fascinating enough to us that Dianne is writing it up as a separate post (all Ariccia all the time!).
In the Palazzo Savelli Chigi, we especially enjoyed the "admissions" room, with a ceiling delightfully painted in birds--and an animal we couldn't identify, devouring a mouse. So don't forget to look up!