Travel Story: Free Meal in Italy

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We were exploring the small town of Locorotondo in southern Italy and looking for a place for lunch. We came across a restaurant with a sign that said “typical home cooking” above the door. The door was open, but had a bead curtain at the door way.

We made our way inside to find an empty restaurant, but an old lady quickly came out of the back and we told her we were looking for some lunch. She just said “OK, sit, I’ll make pasta”. My wife and I looked at each other, decided what the hell, and took a seat at one of the empty tables.


A short while later the lady emerged from the kitchen with two bowls of orecchiette pasta. She delivered them and then headed back into the kitchen. The pasta was kind of run of the mill, but the situation was kind of interesting and we were just enjoying what was happening.

Shortly a guy, maybe early-30s, comes into the restaurant though the front door carrying some bags of groceries. He looked confusingly at us and we explain that the old lady had made us some pasta. He explains that the restaurant had not opened yet, but apparently his mom didn’t want to turn us away. We all laughed at the situation and started talking about our adventures in southern Italy. His English was pretty good, but hers was very basic.


The mom brought us some tiramisu after we finished the pasta, and that was amazing. After we finished, we asked for the check and they said no need and they were happy to make us lunch. We insisted, but he insisted we were not actually customers as they were not even open.

While far from the best food I’ve had, it was one of my most memorable meals. My spuse and I love Italy, and I think most people don’t go to southern Italy, but it was an amazing time.

Tell me your favourite best or worst travel story.

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