The Garibaldi Caffè e Enoteca is another of my favorite little places in L’Aquila. It’s a neighborhood all-hours place kind of like the Bar Pasquino under my apartment in Rome. In other words, cappuccino, brioche and newspapers (in Italian only) in the morning, wine and spirits from aperitivo time until after midnight. Both have pannini and other simple but delectable food at lunchtime, but I’m always somewhere else then.
The place was tiny when I first stumbled in 10 years ago. The walls were lined with bottles, boutique chocolates and fake masterpieces up to the arched ceiling and stacked along a wall like in an art counterfitter’s hideaway. Davide and Daniele the two friendly and attentive young brothers who own and run the place also have a gallery that sells professional fakes of famous paintings. As I write this I have two enormous scenes of venice above me (Tintoretto, I believe) Klimt, Hopper, and Van Gogh above the wall of white wines and grappas in front of me, Renoir, Modigliani, Monet and Bottero to my left. When I first stumbled in back then were the model sailing ships among the wooden chess sets and humidors filling the windows. They also have a small but interesting selection of cigars and a nice little bench on the cobblestone street outside - no smoking in bars in Italy anymore.
Despite being on a medieval street 2000 feet up in the mountains the boats fit in because the place was tiny, lined with dark hardwood, the bathroom was tiny like those on sailboats and after a few glasses of wine the world might start to pleasantly sway. They have added another room since I first started coming here, but the lived in, slightly cluttered atmosphere is the same.
This evening as I’m killing time before I meet up with my eleven year old daughter who hanging out with friends in the main square (I’m sometimes jealous of kids growing up in Italy. Just me, a notebook, and a plate of olives, mixed cold cuts and taralli (crispy dried bread in bite sized curls) meant to dampen the effects of a glass of Pecorino, white wine from varietal native to Abruzzo that is undergoing a sort of Renaissance here. The music goes back and forth between Spanish jazz and Astor Piazzola inspired lounge.
The only thing missing is dinner, but recently Davide and Daniele opened up the Punto G - Piacere della Griglia grill (literally “G Spot - Pleasures from the Grill”) across the street. Strictly carnivores only.
But that’s another post.