With the current situation that has turned activities upside down in Italy, the general motivation is to move forward, perhaps with a much more innovative approach but more importantly, with a renewed drive amelioration of what has once been to a succeeding greater project. Luce Experience, the new restaurant – pizzeria that opened in the Archeological Park of Appia Antica was conceptualized during the Covid-19 lockdown in Italy by Iolanda Ambrosini, proprietress of Villa dei Cesari and her family. Villa dei Cesari is a historical Roman residence in the Appian Way amongst the Catacombs of San Callisto which has been a popular location for big events given its considerable interior and exterior spaces. But one of the things that was put to a halt in the country after the lockdown is the big gatherings so a feasible diversion was much needed to keep the activity going.
Seeing that dining in open spaces is the best way in the current situation, Luce, meaning light, came up as a perfect solution and became even more important when fireflies, with their little lighted bodies, suddenly reappeared again at the villa after years of absence. An outdoor cocktail bar is placed at the corner of the sprawling garden. Highlighting the ample green lawn, large round juta carpets and teal throw pillows were strewn on the grass with low glass tables. Hanging lights around open igloo-shaped structures complete the splendid setting for cocktails while watching the sun go down. The cocktail station, supervised by Bar Manager Edoardo Mattarino, is active from 19:00 where classic cocktails, sushi, focaccia and a selection of finger food are available.
Flanked on the other part of the garden is the restaurant – pizzeria where white wooden tables and chairs are set for dining in open air. On one corner is the brick oven where pizzas are made and meat are grilled. The kitchen is coordinated by Mirko Pagani, a Roman chef with twenty years of experience. He customized the menu with the strong territorial qualities of Lazio region while inputting his creativity. Lazio’s regional gastronomic heritage has a lot of characteristics that can certainly be exalted and that’s what the chef is working on while he expresses himself to his dishes.
In the menu, you can find appetizers from supplì (€2.50) to crochette (€6 – €9), bruschette (€6), and to a number of creative proposals (€9 – €12). First dishes of pasta and risotto (€11 – €14) include Fusilloni alla Carbonara and a vegetarian version, the Spaghettoni alla Carbonara. The entries from the grill (€12 – €22) are different kinds of meat and can be one of the strong points of the kitchen like the Tagliata di Manzo Danese (Sliced Danish Steak) served with caramelized onions, Danish Fillet Steak, Cockerel cooked on low temperature in the oven then concluded in the grill served with potatoes and Chianina Hamburger. Pizzas are available with traditional and gourmet combinations (€7 – €15). And to conclude the meals, there are also proposals for dessert (€5 – €7). The drink list features wine labels from the local Lazio region as well as craft beers from the Fiorucci Brewery.
Via delle Sette Chiese, 293
00134 Rome, Italy
Parking: Via Ardeatina, 164
Tel: +39 338 8983667 / +39 06 5141199
Open daily for cocktails and dinner while lunch is only weekends