In 1980 when my uncle and father started to renovate the rooms which were destined to become “Il Caminetto” little did I imagine what it would lead to. Not only did old walls and ancient foundations come to light but a part of my own family’s history was also revealed. I discovered that my passion for cooking came down to me through my father and grandfather, as it turned out those walls were once the setting for the homely dishes prepared by my great-grandfather Giuseppe, or “Pepin”as he was known, who ran his own tavern here up to the 1930’s. His portrait is hanging on the wall of the upper dining area alongside that of his beloved wife, Celeste.

Pepin’s more modest establishment consisted of the area from the present-day entrance up to the pillar, while a stone wall separated it from the cow stalls, which I vividly remember. This wall was removed to enlarge the room and replaced by the granite pillar which now forms an attractive feature in the middle of the dining area. Where the bar is now located was once the old chimney where Pepin used to cook polenta and pork chops and where the humble clients, warmed by its friendly blaze and with the help of a glass of home-made wine and some friendly chat, banished for a short while the miseries of a life of hardship and privation. Who knows what stories these walls have heard and which village events originated or finished here in the Gittana tavern! Perhaps it’s only a bit of romance, but I find satisfaction in the thought that another couple, of my own flesh and blood, once offered hospitality in this very place to those who sought it.

At the end of the renovations, the heart of the “Caminetto” began to beat once more. The business passed through various vicissitudes involving many family members, even changing hands, before reaching this point which I would call its final form. Having worked for ten years in Milan in order to gain more experience, my wife Rossella and I became the owners of “Il Caminetto” in 1994.
And so this story, woven as it is with the threads of people’s lives and hard work, of business and of sentiments such as generosity and kindness, will perhaps bring a smile to your lips but could well be described as a genuine Italian recipe.
Ristorante Il Caminetto - viale Progresso 4 - 23828 Gittana di Perledo (Lc) - Tel. +39 0341 815225 / 0341 815127 - P.IVA 01212600132
Open from March 1st to December 19th.