At 815 meters asl, the mountain town of Bellegra gives a splendid panorama of the valley below. Bellegra of the Lazio region, sits on Monte Celeste, between the valley of Aniene and Sacco Rivers. Monte Celeste is at the center of an immense amphitheater of mountains making it a predominantly hilly and mountainous territory. Bellegra is about 65 kilometers from Rome, taking about a traveling time of an hour and twenty minutes by car. And this small town, with a population of 3,000, has a little jewel of a place where you can get well-selected wine and particular ham and cheese products from Italian artisan producers, most especially from the Lazio region.
Salotto Retrò, now on its 4th year, is owned by locals of the town, Giulio Ficorella and Francesco Coculo. Giulio is very passionate about the real meaning of quality, naturalness, and genuineness. At the wine bar, you can only find natural wines obtained from organically and biodynamically cultivated grapes produced by various producers of Italy as well as cheese and ham products obtained from free-range animals.
I had the pleasure to join him and his friends over glasses of wine by small producers and platters of ham and cheese. On the platter were black pig mortadella with orapi (local mountain spinach), black pig lombo and bull bresaola. The selection of cheese is quite fascinating starting with the products of Casa Lawrence of Val Comino; the Marzollino of Slow Food and Pecorino di Picinisco DOP then there is the Conciato di San Vittore, a cheese protected by seasonal spontaneous herbs that DOL (From Lazio Origin) founder Vincenzo Mancini saved from complete extinction; Formaggio di Fossa and Blue Cheese from sheep’s milk. The strong cheese are accompanied with a thick honey produced by a local woman from the nearby town, Olevano Romano.
It is currently open only from early evening until late in the evening during weekdays and also for lunch on weekends. With Giulio at the wine bar, you will surely find a lot of interesting things to speak about with his amiable and generous nature to share his knowledge about the products and producers that he carries in his place.
Via Padre Giuseppe Spoletini, 27
00030 Bellegra (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 338 1804917