In the small town of Palazzolo sull’Oglio, Osteria della Villetta has preserved the history and traditions of the place for over 100 years, straddling the wine culture of Franciacorta and the philosophical culture of the "Third Paradise".
It was 1900 when Maurizio’s great-grandparents, Giacomo and Margherita Rossi, built a tavern with rooms, in the Art Nouveau style of the time, on the Imperial-Regia Privilegiata Strada Ferrata Ferdinandea Lombardo-Veneta, the first Venice-Milan railway, near the romantic train station of Palazzolo.
Today Maurizio, the fourth generation of the Rossi family, and his wife Grazia carry on the tradition of this place which, thanks to their sensitivity, has also become a cultural circle since the 1960s and has seen the collaboration of many artists, who have become clients and friends, such as Mark Kostabi, Alessandro Mendini, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Renzo Restani, Mimmo Rotella.
For four generations, the Osteria has represented our origins, a concrete testimony of history, culture and traditions to be preserved according to the values of hospitality, conviviality and sociability.
(Maurizio e Grazia, owners)
Between original furnishings and deco touches, the Osteria contains, in fact, a small world of works of art, evidence of the dense cultural crossroad that goes from Milan to Franciacorta to Lake Iseo.
Starting with the placemats framed with drawings and dedications by many artists and writers such as Emilio Tadini, Agostino Bonalumi or Pierre Restany of the Nouveau Réalisme, to the many author’s photos hanging on the walls. Like that of the Rossi family shot by Oliviero Toscani to those of Steve McCurry, another loyal customer, up to collaborations with important fashion and design brands such as the advertising campaign of the Alessi’s tableware shot by Jasper Morrison or that of Juergen Teller for the Gucci Fall Winter 2016 collection.
But the most representative work is definitely the one created in 2009 by the artist Michelangelo Pistoletto on an ancient mirror that belonged to Maurizio’s great-grandparents, entitled Terzo Paradiso (Third Paradise), a symbol of the fusion between the first and second paradise, the one in which human beings are totally integrated into nature.
A philosophy also fully embraced by the Rossi family who called their vegetable garden, located on the hills of Franciacorta in Saline di Adro, Orto del Terzo Paradiso. Created to always have fresh, healthy and natural products, since 2013 it has supplied all the vegetables for the cuisine of the Osteria.
The menu is based on the seasonality of the raw materials that come, as well as from their garden, from the Ventighe farm, which is located in the same neighborhood, from the Brescia lakes and local butchers, as well as from Slow Food presidia from all over Italy.
The recipes are the traditional family ones such as the Santo Stefano di Sessanio lentil soup or the Grumolo delle Abbadesse rice stir-fried with sausage and vegetables, the classic dish of the Osteria based on meatball, cabbage roll, beef cheek sauce green or the meatballs in red sauce with Biancoperla corn polenta. The desserts are all of their production with a special mention for the Love Difference custard and halva ice cream created by Michelangelo Pistoletto for the homonymous project launched during the 51st Venice Biennale.
The wine list, with about 50 labels, obviously focuses on the nearby Franciacorta both with its most famous and small producers – first of all the Franciacorta Blanc de Noir Saline produced by the Rossi family – up to embracing the best Barolos and Barbareschi labels.
Osteria della Villetta was one of the places in the heart of the great chef Gualtiero Marchesi who defined it as his “favorite tavern in Franciacorta”, a precious culinary expression “of families who cook well”.