Shopping, cafes, bars & restaurants
The best place to enjoy the Palazzo Cesi is from Caffé La Piazza or Bar Loreti, both favourite local spots, both have tables and chairs set out during the summer months and there is a nice buzz with families and kids playing and the locals discussing the never-ending debates/arguments that all Italians seem to be constantly having! You can sit outside and enjoy a coffee or a beer in the newly restored piazza, which up until 2005 was actually used as a car park! Both bars are relaxed and friendly and you will always find the local men huddled over a game of cards inside. They also serve light snacks and great ice cream. Caffé La Piazza is closed on Mondays and Bar Loreti is closed Tuesday.
Further up heading out of the town on Corso Dei Lincei you have Bar Il Corso, newly restored in 2009. They have tables outside during the summer months and serve light snacks, beer and nice wines by the glass. There is a Rocchi Pizza on Via Stelluti offering inexpensive pizza slices to take away and lunch dishes, they have a few tables inside too. Open Tuesday – Saturday 8.20am-13.30pm and again from 15.40 – 20.30. It also opens on Sunday afternoon from 15.40 – 20.30.
Places to eat
Also in the town is another larger Pizzeria, Bella Italia. They serve wood-fired pizza and also have a full menu, antipasto, pasta, meat, etc. They have a small balcony open in the summer months. There are a couple of small restaurants in the town, Borgo 900 MicroRistorante just a few minutes walk from Casa Lilla. The owners Chiara and Gianni open from Thursday – Sunday and serve ‘Cucina Umbra’ cuisine. Not far from there is another tiny Osteria owned and run by our local butcher and salami maker, it is opposite his shop and has a few tables, he and his wife serve very local food, both places are recommended, you need to make reservations for both places. We also have another place for more Pizza and Pasta and the best (we think) ‘Gelato’ in the town at Bar Lince, they make great pizza and can deliver too. The owner makes the Ice cream on site and we love it!
Pub al 55 is just 2 mins walk from Casa Lilla and they open about 9 pm till late but are closed on Sundays, the owners, Vincenzo and Patrizia are very nice and tell them you are staying at Casa Lilla and they will look after you. They have a nice seated area outside under a large canopy which is great for the long summer nights. Vincenzo is a very good cook and they serve a full menu of food as well, also light snacks and antipasto dishes, he does and great burger too. They usually have live music on Saturdays upstairs. Just watch out for the Belgium beer, though, it is very strong!
One of our favourite places for takeaway pizza is ‘Acquas Partas’ Pizzeria & Foccaceria which is on the main road as you are coming into the town on the left-hand side. Here you can find pizza slices, panini, focaccia bread as well as a large and inexpensive takeaway menu, the main pizza menu is on the wall behind the counter. It’s a great place to buy some munchies for a picnic, they are closed on Wednesday.
Just down the road opposite our nearest supermarket is L’Oste Mangiafuoco restaurant, they specialise in grilled meats and typical pasta dishes.
The next closest restaurant from us is called ‘Old Passion’. They are a 2-minute drive, again a typical Umbrian menu and good pizzas, they have a large seating area outside for summer nights and safe for kids to run around. Another favourite of ours is a very short drive away, 5 minutes up the road is La Casina Di Furapane, it just looks like a truck stop, well that is what it is but they do make very good pizza and their meat is always excellent, the venue does not look like much but they do good food and very resonable.
Outside of Acquasparta, a short drive away is Il Vecchio Mulino agriturismo. On leaving Acquasparta, take a left before the station heading towards Massa Martana. The farm is well signposted taking a right turn at the first junction. Is a friendly family run business offering truly local cuisine, most of which they produce on their own farm. There are no menus here and a typical meal consists of local antipasto, two pasta dishes and a selection of meats cooked over the fire, followed by salad and or vegetables, desert, grappa, limoncello and coffee! Also included are wine and water. It is incredibly good value and we would advise on booking beforehand, especially for Sunday lunch.
There are more restaurants and Agriturismo in Portaria which is only a few minutes drive from Acquasparta.
In the centre of Portaria centro storico, there is a traditional trattoria called Due Sorelle, serving very authentic Umbrian fare. They have a big fire in the restaurant which they use to cook the meats. The food here is inexpensive, homely and during the summer you can sit outside in the little piazza, a good place for kids too. One of our favourites, no-nonsense, simple, traditional, rustic food.
This next recommendation is one of the Best! It is another Agriturismo called La Fontana, it is in a tiny town in the mountains called Macerino, about 25min drive away past Portaria, a bit of a hike but well worth it. They have no menu, and you must book. We are avid cooks and lovers of Italian food, I can honestly say that the food here is the best traditional rustic Umbrian food we have had, and we have tried lots! Be Hungry and expect to be there for about 4 hours or more! You will be served multiple antipasto dishes, multiple pasta dishes, multiple meat dishes, vegetables, salad, multiple desserts, wine, water, coffee and liquors. All prepared with local produce. Their speciality is truffles, and by God, they know how to use them, in pasta and antipasto. It is a set price per person; I don’t know how they do it but it is only €25.00 a head. If you want to experience the best in rustic Umbrian fare I urge you to give it a try, must be booked in advance.
Supermarkets & Bakeries
There are three main supermarkets in Acquasparta. Superconti supermarket is on your left as you are driving into the town or just at the bottom of our road, Via 4 Novembre, across the street. The deli counter here is good, of course, the best place to buy salami and cheeses is ‘Tradizione Umbre’ our local salami shop, the owner Marina and her husband are very friendly and they make a lot of the produce themselves, it is all the best we have tasted and we highly recommend them. There is a Tabaccheria were you can buy rail tickets beside the Superconti supermarket.
Further, up the hill take the first left turn just opposite the newspaper Kiosk you will find the Conad on the left. This is the better supermarket to buy meat. Close to the Conad, you have Aldo and Ilaria’s fruit and veg shop Mondo frutta, it is the best place to buy your fruit and veg. They also supply local wines and pasta and one of their specialities is fresh buffalo Mozzarella from Campagna, really delicious. At the top of the hill when you pass the little bunch of shops and the pharmacy on the left you will see another supermarket, Emi. If you want to buy meats or bread from the deli counters in the supermarkets take a ticket and wait for your number, again just point if you don’t know how to ask in Italian. Our favourite bakery is on the road behind the Conad supermarket, but you need to get there early cause by afternoon they never have much left!
This is a big morning for the town and very busy. It is a good idea to walk as it is impossible to park anywhere and also the main town is closed off to traffic. You will find the best fish available from the fish man who is parked opposite the Conad supermarket. Take a ticket from the end of his van and keep an eye out for your number on the little clock. It doesn’t matter if you can’t ask for what you want in Italian just point! He will dangle the fish in front of you to make sure; he also guts it and may even give you instructions on how to cook it! We love the gamberi, lovely big king prawns, which are really sweet, lovely tossed in pasta with some fresh tomato, chilli and rocket. There are also a couple of “Porchetta” vans selling pork panini. If you don’t want any fat just ask for one “magro”. All shops are also open on Thursday but close at 1 / 1.30pm for half day.
Please remember most shops close from 1 pm until 4 / 4.30pm every day. Supermarkets then stay open until 8 pm at night. The Conad and Superconti supermarkets now stay open during lunchtime, except on Thursdays, and both the superconti and conad supermarkets open on Sunday mornings during the summer months, July and August only, from 9 – 1 pm.
Acquasparta Pool Complex
The pool complex is about a 15 min walk or 2 min drive from Casa Lilla. It is open from mid-June through August every day of the week. It has 2 large pools and lots of lounge areas as well as a kids’ pool and a bar/snack shop. If you go after lunch the entry fee is cheaper.