03 November 2017

2016 ITALY Tivoli 21 - Lunch at Sibilla

Back in the van and back on the road, we continued a short distance to our lunch spot. Still in Tivoli, we were dropped off a bit away from Ristorante Sibilla. The name is an offshoot of the word sybil. Sybils were women that ancient Greeks believed to be oracles or wise, insightful counselors.

This is the view from the parking lot. Before us was a deep canyon sloping down into the Aniene River. The hillsides were terraced with green gardens and numerous waterfalls. Ancient buildings rimmed the edge. 
Lovely and refreshing! 

We ambled along narrow street paths to the other side of the canyon where the restaurant was located. 

Even though it sits at the foot of the Acropolis of Tiber (more later), its location is inconspicuous. It is not a place you would just happen across. You have to seek it out. Thank goodness Chef John found it through research or word of mouth.

Sibilla opened in 1720, if you can believe it! It serves classic country food, is vegetarian friendly, and although not a Michelin star restaurant, it gets a mention in their listings.

Throughout its long history many "celebrities" have dined here. Per their website, they include Pope Leo XII (in office 1823-1829), Frederick William III King of Prussia (reigned 1797-1840), Prince Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte (youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte I), Gabriele D'Annunzio (Italian author / playwright), and Pietro Mascagni (Italian composer). 

More "recent" visitors include "vice-presidents of the USA," Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Princess Margaret of England, singer Yoko Ono, and first man on the moon Neil Armstrong

The walls here are covered, inside and out, with plaques that document dates and names of famous people who dined here throughout the restaurant's long history. 
We would eat in good company, although I doubt our names will be honored on the wall !!

Before eating, we had time to wander and view the Acropolis of Tiber ruins on the neighboring property. This area includes the Temples of Vesta (round) and Sybil (rectangular), which date back to the early first century BC.

There are at least four guesses as to whom the temples honor--Hercules (protector god of Tiber), Albunea (the Tiburtine sybil), Tiburnus (hero of the city), or Vesta herself (the virgin goddess).

We also saw the canyon from the restaurant side. We drooled over the villas across the way.

We were seated al fresco (outside), under the shade of wisteria vines. Luscious and cool on this warm day. An outdoor grill sizzled in the background.

The food presented to us was simply fabulous in presentation and taste!

A kitty said goodbye as we ambled our way back to the van.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.