The bar and restaurant il Ponte di Ceserana, situated just beyond the level crossing as you turn right to go to Fosciandora on the road from Gallicano to Castelnuovo di Garfagnana is an absolute must if you wish to be transported back to a time-warp circa 1950’s.
The bar gives already you a taste of a by-gone Italy. Its décor must have been untouched since the days of the first old Fiat Cinquina and Claudio Villa’s greatest hits.
The dining area is similarly charmingly retro without any intention.
However, as with cakes, the proof of the place is in the eating. The restaurant’s wife reeled off what was on offer with a rapid patter in the absence of any written menu but I managed to hear farfalle with cream, speck and ham which I ordered for my primo.
The dish was delivered beautifully al dente and was delicious.
I was a bit worried by the large bottle of wine placed on my table. I asked the hostess that I didn’t think I would be able to drink it all. ‘Just drink as much as you want’, she answered. It turned out, in fact to be a very good house wine. (I promise you I only took two glasses).
I thought the local wholemeal bread was very good too.
For secondo there was a delicious local sausage with definitely some Cinghiale (wild boar) in it smothered with beans and sauce.
The hearty meal was rounded off by some excellent caffé macchiato.
I shared my dining room with some council road workers and an avvocato with his partner. Later a family with small kid entered. This is the beauty of so many Italian restaurants: they are a melting pot of Italian society. I would hate to have to eat in ‘celebrity’ restaurants or places where children are discouraged or where the only patrons are either scaffolders or film starlets.
This rustic milieu pleased me with a sincere meal and all for just ten euros.
There are of course slightly more expensive speciality evenings here too. I noted this fish meal on Fridays.
Car parking is just on the other side of the road
and if you’ve got time do take the trouble to see Ceserana fortress town which is just one of the several fascinating places in this forgotten corner of yet another forgotten corner of the Garfagnana.