Antiques are all relative, aren’t they? When I moved from California to Ohio, a friend reminded me that “things sold here as antiques are, further east, just old things left behind.”
Paul and I just visited a store full of old things the Romans left behind. The store — rather, the beautiful showroom/warehouse — also carries things that people from the Middle Ages, like those who first inhabited our house, left behind. It’s called Lacole, and it defies an American’s concept of an antique store. They have things like the stone trim around old church windows, well tops (we saw one with the grooves from the ropes clearly evident), tiles, and stone sink basins. They also make authentic-looking new furniture out of beautiful old wood. Where better to look for some of the finishing touches for our renovation? This was the real Restoration Hardware.
If you have 2 minutes to watch their YouTube video, you’ll understand why Italians probably think our “antiques” are a little quaint.
Lacole is a bit north of Perugia, Umbria’s capital, so we made a nice day trip out of our shopping expedition and stopped for lunch in Perugia. It’s about an
hour and a half from Benano and makes a very delicious destination. (Does “Perugina chocolate” ring a bell?) There’s also a large international university there, and a lively spirit. (And did I mention the chocolate?) A friend from Seattle, Perugia’s sister city, once gave me a list of restaurant recommendations she read off a Perugia/Seattle calendar. We’re working our way through that list, which is copied below for anyone interested in the details.
We considered stopping in Todi for dinner on our way home from Lacole, but chose instead to come home and eat at our version of “Cheers” in this area – Ristorante Nuovo Castello in Torre Alfina. Connie’s simple but delicious spaghetti alla cippolla never disappoints, and it was good to see our friends there again.
Over dinner, we agreed that the highlight of the day might have been when the owner of Lacole, the antique store to end all antique stores, acknowledged the steep price of one item with an almost apologetic, “It’s Roman.”