For the Etruscans lying down on the table to eat was like participating in a scared ritual: food had a noble and cathartical function, it could even gain immortality. The same exhibitionistic poses were inherited by the Romans with the ideal of creativity and arrogance that continued in the medieval obsession of the food orgy: with the symbols of abundance the famine always at the door was exorcised. Moreover there was the desire to return, even at the table, to the classic world, to imperial Rome, to the mad banquets of Nero and Elagabalus, to the performances of Satyricon by Petronius. "Nunc vino pellite curas", "and now, drive your bad thoughts away with wine", Horace used to say.
In a more "intense" manner the poet Gioacchino Belli, in bar-type reasoning if wine or water were better, proposed a decisive argument: which one could become the blood of Christ? The taverns of the Castelli, in the province of Rome, and the restaurants that in the North of the Ciociaria rise along the wine roads, between Paliano, Serrone and Piglio are the witnesses of this subtle "theology". In this area the red and full-bodied Cesanese is not only at home, but some years ago became an extraordinary controlled denomination of origin together with another 23 Lazio wines.
And if spiritual perfection passes through fasting, a taste of the white beef of the Central Apennines (which is also produced in Lazio with the Pgi label) is a sin of greed that no longer appears so frightening on second thought. Up to the year 1000 the diet of the monasteries - as the film "the name of the Rose" filmed by Annaud at Cinecittà demonstrates - was limited to bread and pulses with eggs and cheese (perhaps the strong and fragrant Roman pecorino) and, some seasonal fruit. From Charlemagne on, the problem of reconciling the Roman gluttony with the privations of the Christian ascetics was resolved: fasting and abstinence were alternated with feast days on which the varied and abundant meal was due to God as a form of respect and prayer also for the religious authorities.
A devotion that the Romans and populations of Lazio have "practised" throughout the centuries with delicious vegetable-based soups, composed of four fundamental elements: homemade bread (such as Genzano Pgi), wild vegetables, first of which chicory (with potatoes, tomatoes and onion), pennyroyal, which gives them the characteristic fragrance of the earth, and naturally extra virgin olive oil (such as Canino or Sabina, both Pdo oils) added at the time of serving. Virginia Wolf wrote that one cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one hasn't eaten well...and the populations of Lazio have put this to practise.