Tossicia’s tiny antique church of S.Antonio Abate (St Anthony Abbot) may be small but it is like stumbling upon a chest of hidden treasure when you visit. Its beauty lies in having one of Italy’s finest examples of a Romanesque portal (1471) that once you start photographing you can’t stop.
The portal is carved from local stone by the extremely talented sculptor Andrea Lombardo, whose work this is all sadly that is left standing. 3 concentric round arches literally team with life & expressions that change throughout the day as the shadows play on the faces of its inhabitants.
Inside metopes, 8 putti play harps, lutes and flutes and they lead they eye up to the apex where St Anthony sits serenely. Below them giving the feeling they are supporting the fascia is a parade of 8 of Tossicia’s faces from the past, cut so flamboyantly that their personalities still are visible today after 500 years of weathering.
St Anthony Abbot is the patron saint of piggies and their keepers so if you do make a visit with kiddies do ask them to try and find how many carved pigs they can find in the portal.
Chiesa S.Antonio Abate in Tossicia is a remarkable place to wander off the beaten track to in Abruzzo for a quick visit especially if you are feeling peckish as there is a great little taverna next door, ‘Ristorante La Nuova Taverna’ which creates the best ever Amatrice pasta.
Their rich Amatrice is beautifully made from smoked pancetta, in which you do find delicate morsels of ‘meat’ rather than the cubes of fat that some establishments believe is an amatrice. It is a stunning sauce in which you can almost taste the summer sun from their home-bottled passata soaking up the smokiness of the locally air dried pancetta. No doubt this sounds a little bit far fetched, especially to inhabitants of Lazio where the dish originates, but even though small & a quirky establishment by Abruzzo standards this little taverna is the truly the place to go to experience this simple but sublime dish.
La Nouva Taverna owner’s brother is an Abruzzo artist and you will see his sketches & paintings hung hickledy pickledy through the little dining room. Also hanging up is testimony to the greatness of this little restaurant from the legendary Abruzzi winemaker Roberto Zaccagnini, who heard about this ‘locally famous’ restaurant by word of mouth and came down and tasted it for himself and sent them a note to them to continue the good work. What is good enough for one of Abruzzo’s great Montepulciano winemakers is definitely good enough for us…
Other specialities include Funghi(mushrooms), Tartufi (truffles – see above), Arrosticini, Selvaggina (game).
Quality of Food: 8.5/10
Value for Money: 8/10
Cost: 32 euros for 2 people including house wine
Address: Piazza S.Antonio 1, Tossicia, 64049, Teramo
Tel: 0861 698011
No official website or email address
Closed: All day Wednesday
Always phone to book in the evening as this is their busiest time!