La Frateria di Padre Eligio was created from the ruins of the 13th century monastery of St. Francis, the first convent to be constructed as a place of encounter and worship for the minor friars, built in 1212, just five years after the Saint’s conversion. The renovated structure is a faithful restoration of medieval monastic architecture. A community of young men and women who live and work here in fellowship as they overcome drug addiction, alcohol abuse or other spiritual crises, are responsible for this initiative, created by Padre Eligio, a Franciscan priest. Energetic and caring, Padre Eligio established Mondo X in answer to the growing need for recovery and renewal for the troubled youth of today. The restoration of the convent and the extensive gardens took over fifteen years to complete. In the process of rebuilding a convent, more than just stones were brought back to life. The community is a beautiful reflection of traditional convent life as modeled by Italy’s beloved patron Saint over eight centuries ago.
Guests who have the good fortune to dine at La Frateria are indeed blessed. Walter Tripodi, the head chef, has been in the kitchen for three decades. Trained by excellent chefs brought in by Padre Eligio, Walter has added to and refined his cuisine to exceptional standards and subsequently has gone on to train many other young chefs. The dining room is intimate and simply elegant – beautiful religious art, fine linens, brass chargers, fresh flowers and hand-written menus. The tasting menu started with a lovely glass of the sparkling wine, made from their vintage of Chardonnay and Pinot grapes. This accompanied an antipasto of their cured meats, olive and caper pastes, and homemade breads. Each one of the six courses that followed surprised and delighted us, as Walter presented his unique combinations and artful presentations of dishes made with ingredients cultivated on the land surrounding the convent.