Every Wednesday and Saturday, Piazza Garibaldi, the central square in the small Italian town of Sulmona, fills up with stands selling fresh farm produce, antiques, flowers, kitchen wear, baskets, clothes and artisan furniture. The setting of the weekly market is stunning: A large Baroque fountain in the middle of the old square, ancient noble palaces around it, the 12th-century medieval aqueduct and the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. I feel lucky to live near Sulmona and visit it as often as I can.
The other day I brought a visiting friend to a local restaurant, Il Tholos, in the small mountain village where I live in Abruzzo. It’s renowned for its excellent food made with locally grown ingredients from the owners’ farm. We ordered a degustation menu to sample all the typical dishes of the area. After getting through seven appetizers, we were faced with a generously piled up serving plate of pasta alla chitarra. “Is this just for the two of us?” gasped my friend sipping excellent local red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which paired perfectly with the robust hearty food.