In 2005 I bought a bar in the heart of Rome. A small place near the Trevi Fountain. It would
become my new restaurant.
It was important to me that this new restaurant provide the best traditions of the Roman trattorias. Homemade pasta with traditional sauces. Fantastic pizza. Signature dishes. Perfect wines.
But even more so, I wanted to provide a particular atmosphere. Service that made people feel good. A place full of warmth, life, and friends.
I needed a name for my restaurant, and it came to me one day while On a boat in the sea near Castiglione della Pescala in Tuscany.
The water caught the sunrays and tossed them like diamonds on ice. l'd set aside my thoughts on the restaurant and withdrawn into the rhythm of classic tunes from the fifties and sixties.
Dean Martin crooned through my headphones.
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine, that's amore...
Music inspires me. Opens my mind to creative ideas. In that moment I had a name and a vision for my restaurant. The walls of That's Amore would feature photos of classic Hollywood celebrities eating, drinking, posing with their loves. People famous for amore in film and in life. In fact, the restaurant would embody all the great loves of Italy: food, wine, beautiful women, elegant men, passion, sophistication, emotion.
It worked. It works still. The staff is cheerful and the cooks prepare all dishes with enthusiasm. People come to my restaurant from all over the world, and today it's nearly impossible to be seated without a reservation.
The restaurant eventually spawned another vision: cooking classes. I wanted to immerse travelers in one of the most important cultural aspects of my country and my city, and so I began these hands-on courses. They've met with great success. Now you can take a pizza-making class at That's Amore, but there are four other cooking venues in unique locations around Rome. It's a great joy for me.
That's Amore has lived up to its name.
Chef Fabio Bongianni
Fabio Bongianni was born in Rome in 1961, a Roman of Romans. Exceptionally well-traveled, Rome still remains Fabio's home.
Before finishing law school he realized his true passion is cooking. Fabio pursued his dream by attending Ritz Escoffier cooking school in Paris then created and managed the most successful line of American steak houses in Rome -- in fact, the first in Italy -- T-Bone Station.
In 2004 he opened That's Amore restaurant in the center of Rome near the Trevi fountain.
Returning to his first love, cooking, he transformed his property in the medieval town of Mazzano-Romano into a cooking school. Now the class is offered in five unique venues, including a pizza-making course in the restaurant. The goal: to give his clients an exceptional hands-on experiencelearning to cook in historic Rome. He has combined both his passions, cooking and teaching, to offer an unforgettable dav.
His school has had great success for many reasons including the way he and his team of chefs teach Italian cuisine, leading students on a true culinary journey through the real Rome. The English-speaking native Italians are professional, engaging, and authentic. Students feel like friends, not just tourists.