At Magia, an enoteca (specialty wine shop) on Via Raffaello in Urbino, up the hill from the main piazza, bottles of wine are stacked on the shelves top to bottom. The place smells like hay and stone, and the gray-haired Italian men with their thin figures and wrinkled skin stand with wine glasses in hand, chuckling at the miniature bar the size of a four-person table.
Shop owner Balducci Lidiano laughs with the old men who take sips of his red wine. He also offers them slices of cresce, a flaky local flatbread, cut up on a plate. It is 11 a.m. He’s standing inside his shop, which is the size of a small dorm room, with hundreds of bottles of white and red wines stacked on shelves taller than a doorway and placed on tables on the left as you walk into the shop. The shop is dark, in a building that is probably 400 years old, located on a street that climbs up a steep 70-degree angle leading to the town’s statue of Raffaello.
Despite drinking at an early hour, Lidiano is a gentlemen. He owned a restaurant in Urbino until 1995 when he opened up his wine store which, he says, is more profitable. He sells wines from all over Europe, including Italy, France and Spain. The most popular from Le Marche are Rosso Conero (red) and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (white). Each run about 12 euro a bottle, although he has cheaper bottles from 3 euro to 5 euro.
Because economic times are tough, discount wines are popular these days. Through an interpreter he said, “I have felt the economic crisis because sales are down.” He looked distressed as he explained the situation.
Lidiano is the type of shop keeper that keeps you smiling as you walk out the door, an example of the friendliness of Urbino.