La Locanda dal Barba
A place of solidarity and locally sourced produce
A new world, a more ethical world, is the one behind the doors of Locanda del Barba, a community restaurant in Villa Lagarina, in South Trentino. Here, the aim is not to profit, rather to fulfil a greater project worth its own story.
Through upcycling and restoration, everything inside the restaurant, tables, chairs and furnishings are the labour of love of sixteen staff members, aged between 18 and 48, with physical disabilities and vulnerable social backgrounds. They carry out various duties, from cooking in the kitchen, serving food, to room cleaning and growing their own vegetables. The project gives young people the opportunity to build work experience, find cultural interests and develop social relationships.
In the kitchen, the chef, assisted by three young helpers, prepares dishes made with produce grown on the restaurant’s estate, hence everything is consciously sourced locally. Tortel di patate (potato fritters) strangolapreti alla trentina (herbs gnocchi), canederli (bread dumplings), also meat on skewers, goulash, polenta and panna cotta - all home-made - are just a few of the traditional delicacies you can taste at Locanda del Barba. Taking a seat at these tables means eating wholesome food, but most of all, proactively supporting an important social initiative.
Rachele Gottardi, project coordinator, tells us that, thanks to this project, there have been noticeable improvements in behaviour: “People are happier, they have a much improved sense of self-worth and are finding it easier to relate to others. The key is to keep them busy.”
You can reach the inn by car, campervan, but, best of all, by bicycle. The restaurant is indeed bike-friendly: pumps, bike cleaning equipment and repair tools are all complementary. After dinner, you can stay overnight with five bedrooms at your disposal, each with an en-suite.
The inn was first opened three years ago as part of the co-op La Ruota; since then a new co-op, named del Barba, has been founded. The initiative has gone from strength to strength with a new coffee-shop offering locally sourced produce, Osteria Numero Uno, expected to open this November in Rovereto. “The target is to open a shop in every valley so people facing this kind of adversities can find work near home”, says Rachele.
Address: Viale Pesenti, 1, 38060 Villa Lagarina (TN)
How to get there: from the A22 Brennero motorway, in both directions, take the exit for Rovereto North, enter Via 25 Aprile and then turn right onto SP20. Continue straight along Viale Pesenti (the inn, at number 1, is on the right)
Opening hours: the kitchen is open every day from 12 pm to 2 pm
Find more information here: http://www.locandadalbarba.it/