The American: Review By Rule-Breaking Filice

Hi Everybody,

A couple of days ago, I saw a preview of the new George Clooney film The American. The movie is filmed in Abruzzo, and of course I couldn’t wait to see it! Abruzzo is unusually atmospheric and beautiful, with the sophistication and Baroque elegance of L’Aquila at its center. Like the film’s setting, the recipes in my book Breaking Bread in L’Aquila are both classic and contemporary.

The scenes in Abruzzo, such as when the main character Jack (played by Clooney) makes his temporary home in Castel del Monte, brought back a lot of memories. I remember visiting a lot of the small villages nestled in Abruzzo’s Gran Sasso mountain, a medieval hill town. At its opposite side stands Rocca Calascio, high up in the mountains. It was on my first visit there that I was accused by my late husband of eating the rest of his prescutto sandwich while he was taking a quick power nap after our romantic picnic, overseeing the sky, clouds, and stars. The truth is that I did eat what was left from “our shared sandwich.” Shortly afterwards, we had our own prescutto sandwiches. A girl’s gotta eat too!

The scenery throughout the movie left me thinking about my memories over the last few days. Bittersweet, but how lucky I was to explore the nooks and crannies of this beautiful region with my love!

In one of the scenes, where Jack and his girlfriend met for dinner, they ordered a bottle of Montepulcano. If you’re not familiar with Montepulcano, it comes in two main styles of red wines. The first is young, fresh-tasting, robust, fruity, and uncomplicated. The second style has more intensity of fruit, and is it more concentrated and often oak-aged.

My guess is that they ordered the second style, as the scene was pretty intense. I certainly would have ordered the second one if I were having dinner with George (where was I?). I didn’t see food on the table, but what did they order? Might they have had pasta alla chitarra, Abruzzo’s famous pasta, for primi? This dish is made with a pasta guitar (it looks like a harp) to produce squarish-shaped spaghetti. Or perhaps they ate the grilled lamb chops that I have on the website? Of course, I’m sure that food was the last thing they were thinking about (if you know what I mean).

The village procession reminded me of the one I attended in the town of Celano, la Festa Santa Martiri. It takes place on the last weekend of August. What’s fantastic about this festival is that everybody gets involved. Procession during the day, and music and dancing at night with the stars (the ones above). The town overlooks Lago Celano, which was drained in the late 19th century and then named conca fucino. Can you imagine?

If you’re a Clooney fan with a taste for beauty and thrillers, go see this movie! To view the three regional recipes that I contributed to the article “The Cuisine of Abruzzo,” please visit the Focus Features website at

a presto,


1 comment to The American: Review By Rule-Breaking Filice

  • carbonara

    I love the descriptions here – and I can’t wait to see the movie too. A first trip to Rocca Calascio seems to create memories for everyone (it was featured in another movie, Ladyhawke, a good old swords and romance movie).

Leave a Reply