An intimate dinner with the one you love is a typical description for the perfect date night. Candlelight, excellent service and a delicious meal in a cozy corner of your favorite restaurant are the makings of a movie romance. But, one restaurant, Solo Per Due, took this romantic idea to the next level by creating the smallest restaurant in the world that serves just two people at a time.
The History and Inspiration
Created 26 years ago, Solo Per Due opened in Vacone, Italy as a restaurant dedicated exclusively to the "celebration dinner of love." Wanting to give couples a unique dining experience void of any distractions in typical restaurants, the owners developed a concept centered on only two guests for the evening, a beautiful table, the best waiter, and in a setting of maximum romance. "In a restaurant the idea is to serve multiple tables," says Giovanni Di Claudio, co-owner. "This results in the loss of attention to the central event of the two lovers."
To find a property to best suit the mission of these romantic restaurateurs, it seems appropriate they would choose the grounds once home to Horace, a leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. "The actual building dates from the nineteenth century and is situated in a historical location that has remains of a Roman villa," says Giovanni. "As well as admiring the mosaic floors and the portico of the villa, you can also visit the nearby Bandusia Fountain, close to the ruins, to which Horace dedicated one of his most celebrated poems."
If the idea of a private dinner in the middle of Italy isn't enough to make you swoon, the description of an evening at the restaurant reads like a scene out of a fairy tale. "It starts with the guests' arrival," says Giovanni. "They cross the entrance gate to the center of the park square surrounded by torches and palm trees. Then they follow a path of torches that also illuminates the archaeological ruins of the villa before reaching the fireplace."
This romantic setting is all purposely created to set the mood for the evening before ever setting foot in the actual restaurant. Once inside, there is the libro dei pensieri, the book of thoughts, where lovers from all over the world have recorded their stories. But, of course, you have come for the meal. When that time comes the lights go down and you can summon the waiter whenever you're ready with a silver bell.
Like most upscale restaurants, the menu is based on the use of fresh ingredients, chosen each day according to the season. "Guest tell us their preferences and restrictions, but in general the menu consist of traditional Italian dishes," says Giovanni. "You can also choose from 10 different types of wine, sip on Prosecco and enjoy aperitifs. All of the details are decided before your arrival to ensure the perfect meal." For 250 euros per person you not only get a personalized meal, but also flowers, a custom pie and most beverages as well.
For those who truly want to go over the top, Solo Per Due offer add-ons like fireworks, personalized transportation, musicians and floral decorations. But, why not carry the one-of-a-kind night through until the morning? Guests have the option of spending the night at the property at La Casetta for 90 euros per person a night. "The old typical little Italian house was built in stone dating back to before 1700," says Giovanni. "It is located one minute away on a hill filled with hundreds of centuries-old olive trees and has magnificent views of the Sabine mountains." After sleeping on an original wrought iron bed from the 1800s, wake up to a wicker basket on your veranda filled with croissants.
Though pricey, this is an experience for a serious romantic.