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Italy's 'pasta capital' Amatrice destroyed in earthquake

(AGI) Rome, Aug 24 - The earthquake that devastated central Italy and killed mor...

Italy's 'pasta capital' Amatrice destroyed in earthquake
Amatrice Hotel Roma distrutto

(AGI) Rome, Aug 24 - The earthquake that devastated central Italy and killed more than 240 people razed one of the nation's culinary capitals, Amatrice. The city, located in the Lazio region and largely destroyed by the quake, is renowned for its "spaghetti all'amatriciana", a famous recipe with tomato sauce and "guanciale" (pork cheek, a typical Italian bacon), widely mistaken to have originated in Rome. Amatrice is also a popular spot for weekend layovers or vacations due to the appeal of its landscape, setting, history, and culture. Enclosed within the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, Amatrice is located in a verdant valley at an altitude of 1000 metres in a strategic transit area between Italy's eastern and western coast that straddles the Lazio, Abruzzo, Umbria, and Marche regions. The earthquake destroyed Amatrice's most well-known hotel, the Hotel Roma, which rose to prominence over the years thanks to the "pasta all'amatriciana" served in its restaurant, which connoisseurs considered to be unrivalled. The hotel is already marked as "permanently closed" on Google. At least 80 people were lodging at the hotel at the time of the earthquake, mainly tourists who were in town for the 50th Spaghetti all'Amatriciana Festival scheduled for the weekend. Numerous bodies were recovered from its ruins. It was opened as a restaurant by Antonio Bucci and Maria Gianni in 1897, and remained family-run when it was converted into a hotel 50 years ago. Guests could enjoy a breathtaking view of the Laga and Sibillini hills from their rooms and the large windows in the hotel's dining hall. The Hotel Roma's Chef had the honour of cooking for Pope John Paul II, and from then on the "risotto papale" (Papal risotto), made with the cheese produced by the shepherds of the Monti della Laga hills, was added to the menu on top of its classical "gricia" and amatriciana pasta dishes, grilled meats, and cold cuts. (AGI). .