Tucked away in a rural corner in the tiny Italian province of Rieti is a small restaurant. It’s very special. To reserve your table, you must book at least seven days in advance. You can personalise your menu, choose your background music, and they’ll even bake you a heart-shaped cake. If you arrive at the restaurant after dark, the driveway will be lit with candles.
You’d think a restaurant like this would be bursting at the seams every night, wouldn’t you? That you’d be eating elbow-to-elbow with the occupants of the table next to yours, constantly having to pull in your chair as other customers squeeze past – because, of course, in a special place like this, every inch of floor space is taken up with dining furniture and service trolleys. Every evening will find a party in one corner or another, the loud buzz of jolly conversation, maybe even a burst of song or two.
Not here. For this is Solo Per Due, and the name tells you exactly who you’ll find there. No-one but you and that someone special. For this restaurant is Only For Two.
Imagine! A restaurant where the only customers are you and your loved one. One table, two chairs, and that’s it. No-one else, save for a discreet waiter whom you summon with a silver bell when you’re ready to eat, or when the level of your champagne glasses drops dangerously low. Perhaps you’ll join the lovers from all over the world who have recorded their stories in the restaurant’s libro dei pensieri, the 'book of thoughts.'
How romantic. I’ve never been, but I’d love to. Maybe one day, my travels will take me there, together, of course, with the man I love. We’ve had romantic meals together, but nothing quite like what you'd find at Solo Per Due.
But you know, I don’t think you actually have to travel far to have the most romantic of meals. Sharing a sandwich and coffee in the local park as the autumn leaves fall is romance, for me. Or cooking in the kitchen together, him opening the wine and me at the stove cooking something really simple like an omelette. The salad, of course, we’ll fix together. We won’t bother leaving the kitchen to eat, just pull a couple of tall stools up to the counter and eat and chat, maybe with the radio playing quietly in the background.
No, you don’t have to travel far for a romantic dinner. But if we had to, I think I know where I’d like to go. And no - we won't see you there!