After we bought our porchetta at Bernabei in Marino, we of course wanted to eat it right away. The problem was, where to do it? There is a little park behind the shop, that has benches and an amazing view out over the plains below. But it was freezing, and starting to drizzle.
So we decided to take a walk through town, which pretty much consisted of walking over to the whacky and seemingly politically incorrect fountain. The fountain is actually a commemoration of the the 16th century victory of the the battle of Lepanto over the Turks. So those bound Mori you see are actually defeated Turks. And the fountain itself is in fact a replica of the original which was destroyed during the war.
But the real important fact about this fountain? On the first Sunday of every October, during the sagra del vino, the fountain runs with wine instead of water. Sadly we were about a month too late to fill our cups. So we continued our thirsty wandering.
When I first spotted the ‘VINO’ sign, I wasn’t quite sure it was for real. I peered in to the dim interior, and it looked more like a private circolo, or club, than a place to buy wine. But it was, in fact, a fraschetta. A real, honest to goodness fraschetta,
There are fraschette all over the Castelli, The term originally referred to places that served the famous local wine, at long wooden tables. Food was not served, you had to bring your own. Or not.
These days pretty much all fraschette make their big bucks by laying out multi course, fixed priced menus of everything from prosciutto and porchetta to pasta and grilled lamb spiedini. They are certainly not places where you can unwrap your own greasy package of pork.
But this place was still the real thing. The room was lit by a couple of flourescent bulbs, and the plastic coated tables stretched the length of the room. Wooden shelves sagged under the weight of glasses and carafes, and the main decorative elements were outdated calendars and photos of Alberto Sordi. At the very far end were two huge tanks, with spigots, full of wine.
As Gino filled our glasses to the brim, we took a seat and finally got a chance to dig into our porchetta. While the the 50 cent glass of wine was certainly nothing to write home about, it went kind of perfectly with the porchetta.