Markleeville couple opens Friday-night pizzeria |

Markleeville couple opens Friday-night pizzeria

Provided to the Tribune

Last week Markleeville’s Villa Gigli Trattoria on Hot Springs Road was transformed into a Tuscan Pizzeria on Friday nights only. Owner-chef Ruggero Gigli, born in Italy and head baker at Forno Sartoni in Florence until he immigrated to the United States at age 26, has just returned from a vacation in Italy with his artist-wife Gina.

While visiting family and friends in Tuscany, he noticed “most country restaurants now double as pizzerias, and I think it makes absolute sense.” Encouraged by local residents who crave Ruggero’s unique handmade pizzas, but lacking the space for a dual-duty restaurant, the couple came up with a timing solution.

“Our usual fixed-price four-course pasta dinners will be served on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with reservations recommended,” said hostess Gina, “but on Pizza Night we’ll have a first come, first served policy.”

Describing the ambience of Villa Gigli, author Rebecca Poole Foree in her book, “Best Places Northern California,” writes:

“Every Saturday and Sunday morning Ruggero, who was raised in a small town in the hills of Tuscany, rolls pasta dough, bakes bread, and stuffs cannelloni in preparation for his two dozen or so nightly guests, most of whom have traveled hours to get here and made reservations weeks in advance – it’s that special. To find out what’s on the menu before you arrive, just give him a call. Prices are surprisingly low. An entrée with a bottle of the house red costs about half as much as you’d pay in other three-star establishments in the Sierra Nevada.”

Villa Gigli Trattoria re-opened for the season this week, and by way of celebration, George Hanepen was strumming his original jazz renditions on his guitar and new artwork will be hanging on the walls. For further information e-mail or phone (530) 694-2253.