Between History & Legend
Crossing the threshold of the Restaurant Al Dragone, the mystic atmosphere of the limestone cave makes you feel like reliving the ancient life of the village.
The same cave along which the restaurant is developed is also the foundations of the Cathedral, that was completely rebuilt in the IX century. It is believed that the same church was built under the ruin of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Vesta. Could that have been the cave where there is the Restaurant Al Dragone nowadays? We don’t know.
But the name “Al Dragone” was inspired by other legends and historical events. It comes from a mixture of sacred and profane, religious and historical, symbol and character. The legend tells, indeed, that in this cave Saint Gorge, protector of the paradise, defeated the dragon-snake representation of the devil on the earth. While, the history brings us back to the 15th of July 1554, when Dragut Rais beheaded a large part of the village’s population on a stone called Chianca Amara located just 50 meters from the restaurant. From the symbolic assonance between ‘dragon’ and ‘Dragut’ the idea of naming the restaurant ‘Al Dragone’ was born.
Before the Restaurant
Although, the restaurant has been operating for the last 31 years, before that, the cave had gone through a few transformations which had reflected the change of the society in the small town of Vieste.
During the firat half of the century, the cave was a stable owned by a numerous local family to provided for their needs and those of a few neighbours.
The natural cave became an oil mill with Sr. Angeloantonio in the 60s, who would use the facility to transform its olives and those of other fellow villagers into oil. Today, through the use of more advanced methods, oil milling is still a common business in Vieste as well as in the entire region, which is recognised amongst the best producers of Italian extra virgin oil.
The cave was then acquired by Pasquale Troiano, who decided to turn it into a restaurant to enhance the uniqueness of the location by giving memorable experience through the good cuisine. Until today, the Restaurant Al Dragone has guested locals and especially visitors from all over the world from 1988.