An hour from Rome, going southwards for around 70 kilometers is a particular location nestled between Lake Fogliano and the Tyrrhenian Sea housed inside Il Fogliano New Life Hotel, a modern 4-star hotel on the sandy shores of Lido di Latina. From its large glass windows, there’s a view of a limitless horizon where the blueness of the sky meets the sea lending orange streaks as the sun goes down, a kitchen where the bounties of the sea are given their rightful recognition in the hands of an illustrious chef, a selection of wine that boasts excellence, and an attentive service that embraces its clients.That’s the magic of dining at Il Vistamare Restaurant.
It is furnished with subdued colors reminiscent of the seascape in front like the seawater-colored velvet armchairs, handcrafted lacquered blonde wood tables evoking the golden beach while those in gray resin are like smooth stones and finally, the glazed marble recalls how water reflects what surrounds it. It’s a place with tranquil charm that leaves an enjoyment between the sea and the culinary offerings of the chef.
At Il Vistamare Restaurant, F&B Manager Gianmarco Laghi makes sure that every diner’s comfort is met as he coordinates and supervises the whole structure. Having had experience both nationally and internationally from a young age with a continuously growing curriculum, he had acquired important roles at the Sheraton, at the Parco dei Medici and at Palazzo Dama Rome, before arriving at the Il Fogliano New Life Hotel. Under the direction of the F&B Manager are Maître Sommelier Samantha Ceraldi Lando and Maître Angelo Petrongelli, both with a rich national and international working background as well. They give keen attention to detail as they welcome the guests with their characteristic unobtrusive and efficient service.
Running the kitchen since April 2021 is Chef Giovanni D’Ecclesiis, a native of Puglia, a southern Italian region of Italy known for its strong Mediterranean gastronomic culture. His cuisine is genuine and essential, clean and decisive in the palate with the strength of recognizable ingredients. He has brought forth a foundation of southern Italian cuisine rich in vegetables and created with a train of techniques to express a balanced cuisine of significant flavors. His passion for cooking was developed from a young age when he attended the hotel and culinary school in Matera. He went through a series of summer apprenticeships on the Riviera Romagnola in central Italy then he moved to Tuscany where he held roles in the kitchens of fine dining restaurants. The experiences in the kitchens alongside Massimiliano Blasone as Chef de Partie at Castello di Banfi in Montalcino, again, as Chef de Partie at Apsley’s of Heinz Beck in London, a five-year stay as Sous Chef at Rosewood Castiglione del Bosco in Montalcino and Executive Chef at Relais La Suvera in Casole d’Elsa had been pivotal in giving substance to his career with a specification on the world of luxury hotels. At the kitchen of Il Vistamare, he leads his brigade where he keeps a strong sense of belonging and to work as a team.
“Every now and then I happen to go out into the room and look at the sea. When I feel nostalgic and look at the horizon, I imagine something beyond that line, something that goes overseas,” reflects Giovanni. Thus, Crudo Vistamare, the 7-course voyage of various seafood creations came to life. It’s a result of utilizing various processes in attaining the expressions of flavors and aesthetic compositions all aimed at highlighting the iodized notes of the sea. One of the tasting courses is an ingenious creation, the Oyster with Margarita Foam and Citrus Granita, as well as the Culurgiones Dumpling with Smoked Carrot served in a small bamboo steamer. The Roasted Octopus with Hot BBQ Sauce and Scapece Aubergine is exceptionally tasty while the chef’s version of Babà Rhum with English Vanilla Cream, Pine Nut Ice Cream and Cervia Salt is highly recommended to conclude an excellent meal. What you see and taste at Il Vistamare is the result of constant work and continuous research in the kitchen that expresses the personality of the chef. It is a cuisine that aims to be unique and personalized but understandable, and innovative but without forgetting tradition. At the base of everything is a careful selection of the raw materials that respects seasonality, which changers the menu every two months. Some vegetables and aromatic herbs are home-grown at the garden of the hotel owners while local producers supply the other vegetables, fruit and fish. Companies of excellence such as Longino & Cardenal and Selecta guarantee the raw materials that allow D’Ecclesiis’ creativity to play with oriental and exotic influences and aromas. The restaurant offers an à la carte menu and two tasting itineraries: four-course Blu at €60 per person and a seven-course Oltremare at €90 per person. Appetizers are between €18 to €26 with a much more elaborate tasting course of raw dishes, Crudo Vistamare at €45, pasta and risotto entries between €18 to €22, main courses between €26 to €28, and desserts at around €12.
Il Fogliano New Life Hotel
Il Fogliano New Life Hotel is owned by Gianluca Boldreghini and his wife Roberta. The resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills of Gianluca Boldreghini (he opened his first Grancaffè Egidio in Latina at the age of eighteen) have given rise to a major restyling and reorganization project, the rebirth of Il Fogliano Hotel New Life. “This hotel has always had an irresistible charm on me, an enchanting place located within the Circeo National Park between the blue ‘Bandiera Blu 2021’ sea and Lake Fogliano,” enthusiastically says Boldreghini. “For me and my wife Roberta, companion of every life and work adventure, it was love at first sight and as soon as we entered the hotel, we realized that it was a unique place and in which we could give life to our dream of hospitality and catering. So a year ago, we began a long journey, which has excellence as its goal.”
The four-star boutique hotel has 19 rooms including two suites with jacuzzi on the terrace and overlooks the sea. It also has a beach establishment in front with 252 umbrellas and 119 cabins, as well as two lounge bars: Halto Roof and Halto Pool (equipped with two jacuzzis). In addition, there are two restaurants linked to the hotel: Il Bistrò open from 7.00 to 24.00 with adjoining bar and café; and the Jungle, a beach restaurant open for lunch and dinner which is guided by Chef Filippo Cassano. And of course, their fine-dining restaurant, Il Vistamare.