“You must try fario!” our host exclaimed. “Brown trout love our Amiene River,” he continued, “and they thrive only in such pure waters as these.” Alberto Foppoli, director of the Parco Naturale Regionale dei Monti Simbruini near Subiaco, told our group of walkers that the river’s pristine qualities are typical—and important—characteristics for the region’s flora and fauna, and for the food Lazio produces.
The park director and several rangers joined us at Nero’s Villa in Subiaco, where the Caminno di San Benedetto hugs the Amiene, and walked with us for a morning. It was one of many opportunities to spend time with locals as we passed through the Lazio countryside on our journey with Italian Wonder Ways. Our walk also took us into hilltop villages, introducing us not only to the flavors of the region, but also many of the people who prepared and served our meals along the way.
Welcome to Lazio!
On the Lazio menu
Central Italy favors simple pasta sauces, roast meats and pork products. Along the Cammino, we were sustained by hearty staples, such as ample antipasti, pasta dishes, soups and meaty main courses. Porchetta, prosciutto, salumi and mortadella graced practically every table, along with a variety of cheeses.
Starters such as the simple-but-sublime cacio e pepe, and savory soups pairing broken pasta and beans or chickpeas, called maltagliati hereabouts, hit just the right note for hungry walkers.
Before we visited sacred sites near Veroli, luncheon at the Hotel Relais Filonardi featured a three-course meal from the kitchen of Mario Quattrociocchi (pictured above).
In Trevi nel Lazio, a buffet lunch in Castello Caetani featured a copious spread of antipasti, cured meats and cheeses. In Roccasecca, the mother-and-son team of La Locanda del Castello toured us through the restored castle and served up a fortifying buffet that included several Lazio standards, made in local style. The final meal of our trip was a fine dinner sponsored by the four regions launching Italian Wonder Ways. Lazio’s contribution honored the town of Amatriciana, so badly hit in the earthquakes of August 2016.
Lazio is known for its white wines, and we enjoyed several fine whites from Frascati and sunny nearby hills. However, for me the most memorable wines along the Cammino were reds, and the best of these was DOCG Cesanese del Piglio. The wine formulation dates back to the days of medieval popes, and the grapes themselves were known to the Romans(!). We were first served a rustic cesanese at a trailside lunch stop in the Parco Naturale Regionale dei Monti Simbruini. A few days later in Veroli, the bitter finish of Cesanese del Piglio was perfect with our main course of lamb chops scottadito (“burned fingers” lamb chops).
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Grazie mille di tutto, Visit Lazio , and the cooks and servers who welcomed us to meal after wonderful meal on the Cammino di San Benedetto. Thank you to Simone Frignani, for developing this Wonder Way and for being a great guide and companion!
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Shortly after our walk along the Cammino, the Apennines suffered a second earthquake. This one heavily damaged Norcia, Saint Benedict’s birthplace and the starting point for the Cammino di San Benedetto. Efforts to build new pilgrim accommodation in Norcia are underway. You can support this initiative by donating to the building fund.