I doubt that either one of them is interested in recalling when they met. It was certainly a long time ago, and by that I mean way back when, to woo a girl, you’d would go to the florist rather than the hardware store.
Then they became friends, some say intentionally while other say it happened without them even realising, on some date they forgot to jot down in the pages of the disorderly dairies of their respective lives. In their friendship, marked by only a few “buts”, a sprinkling of “ifs” and the right dose of “anyways”, there was never room for the double entries of “debits and credits” or for the bookkeeping of affection. Indeed, it was an understanding seasoned with ingredients that are hard to find at the hurried and superficial counters of today’s supermarkets of acquaintances.
They care about each other without every having said so and they put up with each other, saying so every day, authorised by the complicity that requires that everything be stated here and now, leaving it up to the patient justice of the peace of indulgence rather than the inflexible special court of grudges to establish right and wrong.
With the instinctive enthusiasm they share, they threw themselves into an undertaking about which neither one knew a thing. And it is precisely because they “are not from the trade” that Dune is more than just a restaurant where you eat well spending less than you’d expect. It is a special place that people don’t patronise simply to enjoy Spanish charcuterie, gnocchi with gorgonzola and pears, and filet of beef à la Dune (and plenty of other specialities): they come here with the devotion of those who haunt an exclusive club in which rituality always elicits excitement and wonder, while yawns are left on the pavement outside the restaurant, vainly awaiting their turn to enter.
Naturally, at an uncommon venue the waiters are also exceptional. In fact, I think that defining them as “waiters” would be an oversimplification. When asked, they discreetly offer their opinions about the latest concert performances of Vasco Rossi and the Rolling Stones, recommend good jazz clubs and offer valuable information about the upcoming theatre season.
I have made it a habit to get there well ahead of the time I reserved so that I can enjoy the atmosphere of a craftsman’s shop where the workers trickle in, talking about things that are never commonplace or listening if you have a story to tell.
When I was asked to take pictures of Rome for Dune, I did it willingly and without asking for anything in return, considering it an insignificant contribution to make up for all the times that, at 11 a.m. or 6 p.m., when I just “happened” to be in the neighbourhood, I dined for free with Claudio and Piero before embarking in serious, half-serious or delightfully carefree conversations with them. Because life is a serious thing, as long as you don’t take it seriously.

Francesco de Marzio