If you’re headed to Central Italy for the weekend, or even just over the next couple of days, you might as well embrace it with all the exuberance that you can muster. But first, a brief tour of the area:
Where: It’s a three-hour drive from Rome, via the funicular, to the little town of Trieste, where I spent my freshman year of college and played most of my years of organized team sports. In the small town of Priavitini about an hour’s drive away, several sites from the popular architectural tour guide Clementine may be available, along with plenty of eating, drinking and shopping options.
What to do: Unmistakably Italian, both Vincent Bolle, who we’re speaking with about the site for the writing of this post, and DJ Dude Croc, have chosen to recreate the scene from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the old Bistecca restaurant in Central Italy. (Remember? He’s the beef-eating scientist in the corner!) The spot was so well-suited for the homage that the restaurant is now the full-fledged Fantasia arcade, with food to match. The restaurant dates back to the Ottoman Empire, but a complex revamp is now just two months away. There’s also a new entrance to the restaurant and lounge, plenty of affordable, pan-European food and even live disco acts on select weekends, as well as a list of anachronistic Italian cocktail cocktails you can still order if you so desire. The restored hotel has rooms with coziness and an aperitif in mind, so it might be best to take in as much of the scene as you can before the reboot.
Go: Vincent Bolle and DJ Dude Croc are the ones leading the U.S. edition of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Vincent’s been to the original in London and London’s notorious Elgin Theatre, for a night of unbridled fun. (Don’t worry: there are no dancing bears.)
Where: If you’re after less mainstream crowds, try the artsy neighborhood of Casole Island, just off the southeastern coast of Italy. They’ve got more to explore, but no doubt you’ll find plenty of truffles and seafood at places like Tomasina and Vino Fiore. Plenty of equally bright alternatives within the string of small towns surrounding the port.
What to do: Casole has a history of fine dining, with Agostino, Trattoria San Teofilo and Los Monasterios all well-known local establishments that don’t disappoint. The place is secluded and filled with gardens and amazing views of the bay, so if you don’t feel like paying $110 for wine, opt for the freshest island lobster.
Oleo is the place to go if you’re looking for live music and some brews. Several promoters hold open-mic nights, and free concerts are also frequently held at Casole. And over on the mainland? Pro Volo, based in Brindisi, is an epic Italian pop group that performs as much in concerts as they do on tour.
More info: cresesca.com; facebook.com/casuisissale di Capri; facebook.com/thruisfabili.
More great recommendations: With all the cobblestone streets, town squares and piazzas of Tuscany, you can’t go wrong hopping on the free cable car and diving into the color red.
Savor.com: +39 (0) 3622 0900; voyageitalia.it: +39 (0) 36695