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COSTOZZA DI LONGARE, Italy — Luca Chemello admits that his restaurant isn’t exactly in a prime location when it comes to attracting the casual diner.

“We have to make it a destination,” he said of Ristorante Aeolia, located off the main streets in a village outside Vicenza. “They have to want to come here.”

And there are a variety of reasons for diners to do so.

First, there’s the place itself. The restaurant is built in a former way station that wealthy Italian families maintained between their villas. Guests would be refreshed in a room that now serves as an auxiliary dining room while their horses were cared for below. The guest room, featuring 16th century frescoes on the ceiling, is now used to entertain large groups. But it once served as a sleeping spot for such luminaries as famed local architect Palladio and famous astronomer Galileo.

Both men noted the unusual air conditioning device the facility employs. Tunnels built in the 1400s to connect various villas in the area can now be used to supply cold air to the buildings. Open the gate and the air gets colder. Close it and the flow stops.

Most guests will eat in the main dining area, which features dozens and dozens of copper pots and pans hanging from the ceiling.

The menu itself changes each month.

Chemello, whose family opened the restaurant in the early 1960s, said diners can choose from several local dishes to much more exotic fare. He said he convinced his father, Piero, to offer people choices they couldn’t normally get unless they travel abroad.

So this month, customers can choose to eat buffalo from North Dakota, beef from Ireland, ostrich from Zimbabwe, kangaroo from Australia, lamb from New Zealand or shrimp from Madagascar. There are also vegetarian options and several pasta and appetizer choices.

A selection of eight wines — most of them produced locally — also rotates. A set of four varieties bearing the Aeolia label can be bought for 25 euros.

Luca Chemello is one of three chefs who cook lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday. His mother, Agnese, is the restaurant hostess. His son, Sebastiano, represents the third generation of the family to work at Aeolia.

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to:

Ristorante Aeolia

Prices: Appetizers 4-6 euros, first courses 6-8.50 euros, second courses 8.50-16 euros, multi-course menus 14-27 euros, a glass of wine costs 2 euros.Specialty: Exotic meats from around the world, local pasta dishesEnglish menu: Yes. It changes monthly.Clientele: Italians from Vicenza and Padova with about one-third of the diners Americans on some nights.Location: Piazza Da Schio 1, Costozza di Longare. It’s about a mile past the U.S. facilities in Longare off the SS247. Take a right on Via Europa at the first stoplight after entering Costozza. Find a parking spot right after the road curves to the left.Phone: 0444-555036. Reservations recommended.Web Check out the Web cam monitoring the kitchen, read about the place, join a mailing list or make reservations.

Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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