Down the gravel road a smidge from the Villa dei Misteri, we find a wonderfully colorful and eclectic restaurant and bar called Bacco e Arianna (translated: Bacchus and Ariadne). Bacchus is the name Romans used in reference to the super fun wino party God, Dionysus. Ariadne is the famous Cretan princess who helped Theseus escape the Minotaur’s labyrinth only to be abandoned by him on the island of Naxos. Thankfully, super fun wino party God Dionysus showed up with some cheetahs, satyrs and snakes. The two fell in love at first sight, got married, and he turned her into a constellation (the Corona Borealis).
So, if the name holds up, this should be a fun and romantic spot to have drinks in.
First reaction, “Perfetto!” “Yep, pretty much.”
We get led over to a nice table in some shade. The server girl grabs two cats from the ground as we walk over and smushes them together, saying something in cute Italian cat voice. It’s adorable, hearts are melted, potential tip percentage on the rise. She hands us some menus and we instantly ask for a couple of beer. “Due Peroni, grazie.” She nods with a smile.
The decor of the place is great with lots of found items and knock-off statues and busts filling in every available nook. Strings of international flags hanging everywhere overtop lots of homemade art pieces, like lights made from beer bottles. It’s a random assortment of fun shit that adds the kind of whimsy and charm that Bacchus himself would surely approve of.
Mini-God, Narcopiggy, gets in on the action
Our server brings over two large frosty Peronis and takes our order. “Didn’t know we were getting the big bottles.” “Even better.”
On the way back she takes some left overs from a nearby table and bends down to see if the cats are interested. A big piece of prosciutto and some penne. The cats sniff it out for a moment and verify that it’s undeniably scarfable.
Ahhh this is a nice break from traipsing around those insanely cool ancient ruins. Give the legs a break and cool off a bit.
In fact, the break is so nice and the beer so refreshing that within minutes we’re flagging Cat Girl down for another round of giant Peroni.
We’re just getting into silly mode when the food comes. A couple of basic pasta dishes of ravioli and gnocchi that we won’t be writing home about, but fall into the just right category of our current moods. Definitely goes well with the beers.
Beer consumption escalates quickly, as is known to happen with MacKay and I even without the influence of Dionysus. Soon we’re on our forth round of tall boys and silly mode morphs into giddy guffaw times at our lovely, shaded corner table.
Between laughing at the barrage of stories, travel adventures, and groan-worthy puns, James takes note of a carving behind my head and starts snickering.
I turn to see what he’s looking at…
“That guy is totally fucking that sheep!” “Ahhhh hahaha what the hell! Yes. Ahh yes, he is.” “That’s exactly what’s happening there, right?” “Seems so. With a little assistance.” “I’ll hold it here. Brah, get your rubber boots on!” (This is in reference to an age old tale… actually let’s skip that reference..) We break into a knee-slapping, table-pounding ruckus, rattling the bottles we’ve accumulated and tilting our heads to launch laughter at the Gods.
This silliness goes on for several minutes until finally MacKay has to shift his seat to get it out of eyeline, “I can’t.. I can’t look at it any more, man.” During this time a family sits behind us at the next table. It’s a father and two teens, guy and girl.
We’re still giggling when the father just glances over at our table full of empty beers and sizes us up. The result is one long, drawn out and filthy sneer that reads, ‘Asshole American Tourists!’. Our eyes lock while he’s logging this obvious disgust and my reaction when I see his expression is to just start laughing again, which in turn makes him furious.
He grabs the kids by their arms and says what I’m assuming is the Italian equivalent of “We’re moving!!” and they all stand up quickly to escape. Then they awkwardly bump into one another as they all turn in opposite directions during their hurried get away and have that confused ‘I’m going this way, which way are you going?’ moment. Unfortunately, it’s so unnecessary and absurd looking that MacKay and I are both just laughing at it all even more, further exasperating the judgmental father who is now beet red with embarrassment. They scurry off to another table on the opposite side of the universe.
“Well… I don’t think they appreciate our candor.” “…and table of beers.” “Too bad. I was about to point out the sheep fucker right behind him.” “Ya! They missed the cultural highlight of the whole restaurant.” “Maybe in all of Pompeii.” “Hahah. Agnello amoooooore!”
We finish things up and leave a whopper of a tip for Cat Girl. It basically breaks down like this: You were cool, funny and chill + The whole cat thing was adorable + Sorry we were ‘those guys’ + Thanks for also thinking that whole debacle was funny while watching from a safe distance (we noticed) = Generous tip.
“Four beers in is when the real adventure detection window opens.” “Agreed, back to it?” “Yep. So, apparently Regio 5 is where some new shit is.” “Hopefully it’s new enough to have gone under the tourist radar.” “It’s not even on these maps yet so could be good.” “Let’s hop to it. Later Sheep Fucker.”
Bacco e Arianna, perfect location for a midday break and some mild shenanigans.
Great day so far. Explored half the ruins. Got some pints. Time to get back to the investigation: Regio 5