Spoleto, widely known as one of Umbria’s most famous towns occupies an elevated hillside position at the foot of Montelucco, and has many striking monuments and sites that attract tourists from around the world. Strolling through Spoleto you can visit Piazza del Mercato (famous square known to be the oldest section of Spoleto), La Rocca (military fortress) and of course the town’s cathedral, a superb example of Umbrian Romanesque design. Touring the beautiful Umbrian town of Spoleto can certainly work up an appetite and because of that there is one other stop I highly recommend in Spoleto and that is L’Osteria del Matto.
This small family run osteria is tucked away just off the market square and is always an adventure in Italian family style dining. Filippo Proietti runs the small dining room, while Mama and his sister Alessia work the tiny kitchen. The restaurant only seats 25, so it may be necessary to share tables at times but the atmosphere in the dining room overseen by the jovial Filippo is such that you really do not mind. When you first enter the restaurant you may wonder what you are walking into as the decor in L’Osteria del Matto is certainly eclectic bordering on cluttered. Pinocchios of every size and description adorn every wall along with some other unusual very colorful “artwork”, but somehow it really does seem to add to the family ambience rather than distract from it. There is a set price for dining at lunch or dinner at L’Osteria del Matto, and the offerings depend on what Filippo and Mama have bought fresh that morning in the local markets. You are brought plate after plate of antipasti to be shared family style that often include local cured meats, aged cheese, fried zucchini flowers, fried ricotta fritters, sausages, a farro or rice dish to name just a few of the items we have sampled on some of our trips there. After what seems like an endless number of appetizers, just when you think you cannot take another bite, Filipoo or Mama will come around and ask if you’d like “a little pasta made fresh that morning”. On our first trip to L’osteria del Matto, Mama came out of the kitchen to ask us personally if we wanted some pasta and not knowing if we were expected to say yes, or no that we absolutely couldn’t, we smiled and nodded our agreement wondering just how we could possible eat another thing. Mama climbed down the stairs to the lower level, and came back through with a can of tomatoes under one arm and a tray of homemade pasta in the other. In what seemed like mere minutes, Mama was sending out plates of steaming pasta (Stringozzi alla Spoletina) to be served to everyone in the dining room. Of course the pasta was delicious and somehow we managed to clean our plates yet again.
Dining at L’osteria del Matto is probably not for you if you are in a rush, or expect to simply grab a quick bite and run. It may also not be for those looking for fancy, expensive, artfully displayed plates of food you can no longer even recognize. It is real food …… simple Italian home cooking at it’s very best. The kind of food from my Mother-In-Law’s kitchen, and probably every other Italian Nonna that has spent their lives cooking for their families. It is an Italian family type of experience where nothing is rushed and you are expected to relax, drink some wine, enjoy the company you are with, and simply wait for the next surprise to appear from Mama’s kitchen. Filippo often moves from table to table entertaining the guests as well as checking to see if every detail is in order at each table, and he seems to become more animated the busier the dining room becomes. During some of our visits to the osteria, when the restaurant was more quiet, Mama too came out to join the fun even bringing Matteo, Filippo’s little son out with her. We love our trips to Spoleto, and dining at L’Osteria del Matto is the highlight of each and every visit. For us, every time we dine there it feels like a visit to our Italian family back home and always includes an abundance of good, simple Italian food served with love from Mama Proietti’s kitchen, in a fun, cozy environment carefully watched over by Filippo.
Filippo Visiting Our Table
The Lovely Spoleto Duomo
Mama Working Her Magic In Her Tiny Kitchen
Myself, Filippo & Mama
L’Osteria del Matto
vicolo del mercato 3
Phone: +39 0743 225 506