This restaurant belongs to the elegant Orto degli Angeli, an elegant “Residenza d’Epoca” in the heart of Bevagna. It is situated in the cavernous remains of the curved, barrel-vaulted ambulatory that once supported the cavea of the ancient Roman amphitheater, dating to the 1st century A.D. The food is extremely good, yet simple fare, as the chef adheres as faithfully as possible to recipes that date back to medieval times. I chose a tasting menu that followed family recipes, originally created by the Mongalli family’s nonna. These dishes, with an emphasis on the freshest vegetables and herbs, demonstrate how simple ingredients, when placed in the right hands, can be turned into recipes worth repeating and recording. Thank goodness, grandma did. Indeed, Julien, our waiter explained, using no more than four ingredients is the key to the success of these cherished recipes.
Although there are remains of ancient Roman amphitheaters in many parts of the world, in Bevagna, these intact stone galleries are incorporated into the medieval dwellings and are still “lived in” today, something that occurs nowhere else in the world. So to sit at table in this 2000 year-old stone corridor, where the music is soft and the food simply good is a once- in-a-lifetime experience. The Latin name, “Redibis,” however, wishes otherwise, as it means, “You will be back.” I certainly hope so.