An unexpected feast with a view

It was our last full day in Italy and we wanted a memorable lunch. The place I had in mind, Pirio, on top of a hill with a spectacular view over towards the lagoon and Venice, turned out to be closed, but Italians never like the idea that you might go away hungry. A young man in a van outside the restaurant suggested we wait for his friend the chef. At first I thought he might open up just for us, but no, the chef appeared in full lycra ready for an afternoon of cycling. They asked us what kind of place we wanted.

You’d have thought I had difficult reqirements: great locally produced food, outdoor tables and a fantastic view, but they came up with a shortlist of three, and rang each in turn. Satisfied with their research, they gave us directions to Il Rifugio Monte Rua which I’d never heard of let alone seen, yet it’s only about 5 miles from my flat (along a cart track which doesn’t look as if it goes anywhere.) The staff were expecting us when we arrived, and waved us to the best central table. Even better, fried flowers were on the menu!

You’ll not only never starve in Italy, you’ll often have a banquet when you least expect it!

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