Santa Lucia Maccarese is undeniably one of the best destinations for a hidden tranquil paradise at the doorstep of Rome. Perhaps the best way that can perfectly describe it is detach. Santa Lucia was born from the idea of proprietor Raffaello Coletta by conceptualizing a place with an intimate and suspended atmosphere through which you can savor the pleasure of country life and get in touch with the nature through the five senses. Not new to the hospitality business, as he already co-owns Controvento, a well-known restaurant along the beach of nearby Fregene, Santa Lucia instead is a self-sustainable resort that is surrounded by gardens and trees with 8 rooms (3 of which are suites), salted-water swimming pools (one heated for the colder months) and a restaurant that gets its raw ingredients from their own vegetable gardens.
Its proximity to the capital makes it an ideal place to spend some time away from the fast pace of the city. At the end of via della Luna, a quiet residential road where the typical red houses of the area are lined up, you go through the surreptitiously plant-covered entrance of Santa Lucia Maccarese as it opens its visibility to a splendid structure facing the garden and swimming pool. If you don’t have a car, it’s just a 10-minute train ride from Roma San Pietro Station (Vatican) to the Maccarese – Fregene Station and a 2-kilometer distance from the Maccarese Station to the structure, 15 kilometers from Fiumicino Airport and 2 kilometers from the Fregene Beach.
Formerly a sheep barn, Raffaello made sure that the elements of the original structure were respected and that the identity of the building was enhanced. Elegance is ensured by the neutral and sober colors, by the linear and no-frills furnishings in linden and elm wood, designed by a local artisan carpentry. White-stained walls and wooden ceilings take a step back to help accentuate the few design elements of the structure. With keen attention to details, all the materials are made with natural components such as cotton fabrics, straw baskets, jute rugs, wicker lamp shades. It’s a world of natural country chic design!
With the same attention and sense of responsibility towards the environment and the future generations, Santa Lucia has approached a renewable energy with the use of photovoltaic panels that can produce their own energy in the whole structure. There is also a charging station for electric vehicles in the car park. With other small but important gestures, Santa Lucia expresses its eco-friendly spirit like the use of salt water in the pools resulting in the reduction of chemicals, as well as with utilization of proper kitchen and garden waste management for the production of compost used as fertilizer in the organic garden.
The Vegetable Garden
Santa Lucia belongs to the organic farm Azienda Agricola Tenuta Terre dell’Agro. A few steps from structure is the “Orti Santa Lucia” which is about 6000 square meters of land organized according to production of crops. From this organic production, the supply of raw materials such as vegetables, aromatic herbs and spices are largely destined for the kitchens of the Santa Lucia and their other restaurant in Fregene, Controvento. They also produce their own honey, limoncello (lemon liqueur), mirto (myrtle liqueur), gin, amaro, and extra virgin olive oil (olive trees are in their orchard in Rieti). The products of the garden can also be purchased at the shop of the structure or by ordering the bio-box.
The restaurant is spread out in various environments of the structure, from the internal room to the large veranda facing the main swimming pool and garden, and thirdly, on the other side of the building, a more intimate veranda facing the smaller swimming pool with a whirlpool and water blade waterfall among the aromatic plants, a perfect ambience for cocktails. There is also a special area for grilling where the chef grills the food directly in front of the guests in the sunken seats next to the pool.
The cuisine is genuine and natural based on tradition, with territorial flavors and carefully made with contemporary and precise techniques. The aim of the kitchen is to enhance each product in the best possible way by narrating the territory, and the small artisan producers that supply the raw materials. Pasta, bread and leavened products are homemade using organic eggs and Senatore Cappelli wheat and multigrain flours, while the meat is sourced from the neighboring cooperative Testa di Lepre, and the cheeses and cured meats come from Tuscia.
The menu is based on the seasonal crops from the vegetable garden and locally-sourced meat starting from the Appetizers (€12 to €32) which are categorized to Crops (€12 to €15); Raw Meat (€14 to €32), the most expensive of which is large platter of Gran Crudo, and Cheese and Cured Meat Platter (€19); Pasta and Risotto (€14 to €17) with classics such as Spaghettone alla Carbonara and Papardelle with Lamb Ragù; Main Courses (€17 to €32) with the exceptional Rollè of Rabbit and Chard; and Homemade Desserts (€6 to €9). The wine cellar, handled by Sommelier Cristiano Sabatini, has a rich selection of wines with special emphasis on the the local region of Lazio and excellent small producers.
Breakfasts with rich selections of sweet and savory treats of homemade cakes and croissants, fresh fruits of the season, dairy products, and selections of artisan cheese and cured meats can also be enjoyed by guests who are not staying at the the structure (by reservation only) between 9:00 to 11:30 at around €15. Classic cocktail drinks between €7 to €12 are available and can be accompanied by a platter of finger food at €15.
In the kitchen are Executive Chef Daniele Iubei who seeks consistency and authenticity in his cuisine and a fundamental experience at the starred kitchen of Cristina Bowerman in Rome. Among his brigade is Head Chef Alessandro Squiqquero who, like Daniele, has worked in the kitchen of Romeo Chef and Baker of Bowerman. Domenico Villani, the Sous Chef has the strong influence of the kitchen of his grandmothers and after an experience in a starred restaurant in London, also worked with Daniele and Alessandro in the kitchen of Romeo Chef and Baker. Pastry Chef Alessandra Gravarelli is entrusted with all the desserts of Santa Lucia. After several internships between Lyon and Padova, she also had the experience at the kitchen of the Michelin-starred Glass Osteria, also of Bowerman. Completing the team is the youngest, Commis Matteo De Stefano.
In addition, the guests can also get to know the other gastronomic soul of Executive Chef Daniele Iubei who alternates the land and meat cuisine of the Santa Lucia with that of the sea with the Controvento, their beachfront restaurant in Fregene.