We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We stumbled onto this joint last week while taking a flyer down local roads en route from Bevegna to Spoleto. Wonderful drive on narrow winding roads through olive orchards, vineyards, small farms with patches of wheat, fava bean, and lentil, and tiny antique villages. But, of course, in Italy, when you stop for a coffee, a "coffee" means a 1/2 inch of intense espresso at the bottom of a tiny cup. A delicious half-mouthful if you add a bit of sugar, but nothing to linger over or to put in your car's cup holder.
If you request a cafe Americano, they just add some hot water to it.
This roadside charmer, like most such places in Italy, offers Italian pastries, beer, wine, cocktails, breads, sandwiches made to order, rustic pizzas, etc., to go or to eat there on plastic chairs in the A/C. Yes, you can have a smoke inside. Everybody does. Often, the serving people fix up your order with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths like the good old days, and I do not think they care deeply about what the EU or anybody else thinks about that.
Dunkin Donuts does not offer beer or wine, and you cannot smoke in there. We stopped for some water (water with "gas" - always - that evil CO2) and a quick cafe.
Never order pizza in Italy - it's terrible stuff. It was the Neapolitan immigrants to America who made it into a tasty treat - and the Italians have little interest in learning about the gastronomic arts from Americans.
I would remind the Italians of these facts: Tomato, from the New World. Potato, from the New World. Squash, from the New World. Polenta, from the New World. Pasta, from China. Risotto, from China. What did they eat before all of that?
We have a similar shop in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta but they've worked hard to make their strip mall location of similar size to look old world rustic where this shop in the rustic old world looks shiny and new. My favorite places are the authentically old and rustic cafe's, shops and pubs that look like and probably have been around for ever like you'll find in San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, London, etc. Love those places.
HAh! My local hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in the suburbs of New Haven, CT exports frozen pizza to people in a city in Calabria. Seriously, they can't go back to visit relatives unless they bring boxes of their pizza (frozen) with them! The relatives came over to the States for a visit a few years ago, and the standing order keeps growing, and growing . . .
Well never order a slice of pizza, or any pizza at lunch in Italy. The good stuff is served for dinner with a knife and fork, not cheap, and the best of it is better than anything generally available here. The really good places are not always on the beaten path. The secret to good Italian pizza is 00 flour ("doppio zero" - highly milled, high protein) and not piling the pie high with moist, limp stuff.
Well, ordering pizza at a shop like that is a bit like ordering a sandwich at Cumberland Farms and then declaring that it's impossible to get a decent sandwich in America. Even an ignorant peasant in Podunk such as myself knows that pizza in Italy is not convenience food. When it is available as a convenience item, it is like manufactured processed food products anywhere.