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Del Posto Voted the Best Italian Restaurant in New York and America

Del Posto Voted the Best Italian Restaurant in New York and America

For our most-recent ranking, our panel of culinary experts chose Del Posto as the best place for Italian food in America

Del Posto took the top spot on our list of the best Italian restaurants in the country.

What makes a great Italian restaurant? For some it may be the antipasti, while for others it’s the quality of the wines and pastas that’s the sure-fire test. Octopus? Lasagna? Cacio e pepe? Which one dish should be the barometer of a great Italian restaurant?

The steps we took to compile our most-recent ranking were as thorough and comprehensive as possible: we looked at restaurants that made it to our 101 Best Restaurants in America; we also recruited an illustrious panel of judges that included some of the country’s top food writers, critics, and bloggers to submit their suggestions, which we supplemented with our own choices, including previous years’ rankings as well as lauded newcomers. This list of hundreds of restaurants was then built into a survey that was sent out to more than 100 panelists, who voted for their favorites. The final ranking included a significant number of Italian restaurants, and to create this list we supplemented the Italian restaurants that made it into our final list of 101 with those that came in as runners-up and those that were featured on this year's list of the country's 50 best casual restaurants. Turns out there are many Italian restaurants worthy of renown in America, and seven reside in Manhattan.

Del Posto is the result of a collaboration between Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, and Mario Batali. With these three big names banding together, the result is “the ultimate expression of what an Italian restaurant should be.” As a relative newcomer to the fine dining scene, Del Posto opened in 2010 in the Meatpacking District, and received a coveted four-star review from The New York Times, the first Italian restaurant to do so in nearly four decades. Enjoy modern gourmet twists on Italian classics like truffled carne cruda with grana padano, and watercress buds; ricotta and egg yolk gnudi with black truffle; and the restaurant's famous 100-layer lasagna (less expensive and a bit easier to experience during lunch), before ending your meal with a chocolate ricotta tortina.

Del Post took the very top spot on our list, making it the best Italian restaurant in America, according to our panel of experts. Six other restaurants on the island were recognized – Babbo (#2), ll Buco Alimentari & Vineria (#5), Marea (#6), Carbone (#10), Torrisi (#11), and Motorino (#40) – but since Batali and the Bastianichs’ eatery topped them all, Del Posto gets the bragging rights to also being named the best Italian restaurant in Manhattan, and in all of New York City.

Del Posto Is ​America's​ High Church of Pasta

The linguine alla scampi at Del Posto, Manhattan's grand theatre of Italian dining, looks like a version you'd get at one of those New York institutions straight out of The Godfather: ribbons of flat noodles snaring crustaceans in a buttery gloss. From the first twirled forkful, though, it's clear that Mark Ladner, Del Posto's executive chef, has transformed the classic dish from the inside out. He's a watchmaker who disassembled a Timex, and somehow rebuilt it into a Rolex.

Ladner uses langoustines — actual scampi — rather than the shrimp that have become an adaptive standard in this country. He blanches the lanky critters in broth with wine and aromatics, removes them in order to separate out the meat, and then chucks the shells back in the pot to reinforce the stock. Linguine, freshly pulled from boiling water, is tossed in this amped-up liquid, building an echo of briny sweetness between the pasta and the seafood. An emulsion of butter and olive oil varnishes the langoustine tail meat, which register as remarkably supple (but not at all mushy) against the al dente strands. The finishing accents of Calabrian chile flakes and Sorrento lemon from the Amalfi coast may be imported directly from Italy, but the scampi's righteous gusto and its melding with comforting noodles distinctly invoke the big-hearted spirit of Italian-American cooking.

The effect is entirely by design. Del Posto is a restaurant whose name translates to of the place, and the sense of place in question spans continents. The kitchen treats the Italian-American lexicon as one of the great regional cuisines of Italy, presenting lobster Caesar salads and chicken alla scarpariello right alongside Livornese seafood stew and pastas in endlessly varying patterns and extrusions.

No matter the dishes' origins, it's the molecular-level consideration that Ladner lavishes on their recipes that makes eating here, at the country's most opulent Italian tasting-menu restaurant, still a thrillingly relevant experience even eleven years after its opening.

Of course, a mixing of true-minded and transformed Italian dishes fuels the playbook for many of the dozen-plus restaurants run by Del Posto's famed principals: Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich. But here, at their most elegant and exorbitant venture, a broadly enticing formula is particularly vital. The 11,000-square foot dining space has scores of seats to fill, as well as ferocious, continually evolving competition from which to set itself apart.

Del Posto opened at the end of 2005 as the pinnacle of Batali and Joe Bastianich's Manhattan restaurant empire, a sweeping, two-story statement in marble and mahogany that culminated the successes they'd had with raucous Babbo, Roman osteria Lupa (where Ladner, a partner in Del Posto, cooked previously), seafood tour de force Esca, and others. After swinging open Del Posto's doors, the pair would go on to expand to Las Vegas and, with Nancy Silverton, launch the wonderful Mozza restaurants in Los Angeles and eventually beyond.

It feels like an ageless oasis, an elegant extrication from the always-rushed dailiness of life.

Earlier this year Batali and Bastianich circled back to New York with the shiny, always-packed La Sirena in the Maritime Hotel a block away from Del Posto. The meal I had recently at La Sirena (barring Michael Laiskonis's exquisite desserts) had a detached quality — indifferently seasoned pastas, an under-dressed salad — that served to highlight how many better, bolder, more exhilarating Italian-American restaurants have opened in New York in the last decade. (Major Food Group's genre benders like Carbone and Santina, and Brooklyn's pizza-and-so-much-more haven Roberta's stand out among many examples.)

Del Posto, undeniably the finest among Batali and Bastianich's New York restaurants, has always differentiated itself through utter luxury. Some of the splendor feels timeless: the starched linens and crystal candle globes a musician caressing the keys of a grand piano, which sits by a lit staircase that leads to second-floor tables overlooking the dining room like boxes at the opera. To some it comes off as gimmicky to me, it feels like an ageless oasis, an elegant extrication from the always-rushed dailiness of life.

Other extravagances roll subtly with the times. A baguette appears with a sphere of whipped crème fraîche and cultured cream that is burrata's cumulus cousin. Both lunch and dinner at the restaurant begin with a progression of assaggi, or tastings. They include fritters suffused with pecorino and black pepper — cacio e pepe, the dynamic flavor duo of the moment. One bite delivers the combination's umami jolt, and it's really all you need. The showstopper is a small teacup half-full of the most intense, concentrated chicken soup in the galaxy. Ladner and his crew spend three days and use 90 birds in succession, 30 at a time, producing this liquid. It arrives bobbing with a matzo ball-like dumpling made with corn flour, and a sip warms you like the blessings of a thousand grandmothers. It's a nod to the current popularity of Ashkenazi Jewish foods in America's restaurant culture, a testament to the universality of chicken soup, and an opening salvo announcing Ladner's mastery.

Mark Ladner is a watchmaker who disassembled a Timex, and somehow rebuilt it into a Rolex.

Astonishments like that soup also help justify the cost of admission. Dinner comes in two prix fixe formats: $149 for five courses in which diners choose each of their dishes (several options come with $10-$20 upcharges), or $179 for an eight-course tasting menu with choices already set, of which there is also a vegan version. The three-course lunch, formerly heralded as one of the city's great bargains at $29, has slid up to a still-reasonable $49. While individual prices are not listed, everything on the menu can also be ordered a la carte, an especially welcome possibility while sipping a barrel-aged Negroni or a Nebbiolo at the restaurant's sumptuous bar.

However you choose to construct your meal, keep in mind that the pastas will serve as your meal's spiritual anchor, and the simpler the dish sounds, the more stunning it is likely to be. Someone at the table should opt for the agnolotti dal plin, a Del Posto favorite of fluted, rectangular ravioli stuffed with a smooth mix of pork, veal, and mortadella, the dumplings lolling in Parmigiano-Reggiano butter. Even dreamier are bauletti, larger bundles gushing sheep's milk ricotta and sauced in a brilliantly understated black truffle butter. (If you prefer your truffle flavoring more emphatic, start with the carne cruda, Ladner's aged-ribeye version of beef tartare.) I love that the sausage in the classic trio of ear-shaped orecchiette and broccoli rabe is made using lamb neck, an ingenious way to introduce more people to that velvety, under-appreciated cut of meat.

These highs soar so effortlessly that the restaurant's occasional misses have the same jarring effect as airplane turbulence. The sauce under veal alla Saltimbocca goes through a similarly slow fortifying process as the chicken soup and scampi broth — rich veal scraps and vegetables are added repeatedly to an ever-developing brodo, which is finished with Marsala — but the final effect is oddly flat and salty, with none of the wondrous nuance I'd hoped for. A gorgeously seared rib eye crowned with a charred onion salad came with a side of eggplant alla pizzaiola that turned out to be a tough, hardened puck. A tiny misstep, to be sure, but in this palace of perfectionism, such gaffes stick out.

Del Posto has always differentiated itself through utter luxury some of the splendor feels timeless.

As do the occasional service blunders. There is the expected whirl of choreographed graciousness — smiles at the coat check and the host stand, chairs pulled out and plates placed in synchronized motions — though the seams may show when a staffer is asked to deviate from the script. At lunch, for example, my tablemate required a spoon. I caught the eye of a food runner, who, rather than asking what we might need, instead turned to our server (both were in a corner under the stairs) and wordlessly nudged him, pointing his forefinger at us. Awkward.

Desserts allayed any modest slips. Brooks Headley, Del Posto's wunderkind pastry chef, left the restaurant last year to run his East Village smash hit Superiority Burger. Justine MacNeil, a protégé of Headley's (she was his sous chef), took over the sweets department and has winningly made it her own, serving desserts more soulful and rustic than her predecessor's.

MacNeil’s pastry kitchen has dispensed with unnecessary frippery, allowing seasonal fruits in particular to trumpet their purity. A panzerotto fritto, a fried hand pie, brimmed with a marmalade of quince, blood orange, and Meyer lemon in ideal, tart-sweet proportions. Red wine and yogurt played off one another in beguiling ways to accent a rhubarb crostata. Panna cotta, scented with a grappa that reminded me of Cognac, landed lightly at the end of a long lunch.

Overkill is often the downfall of desserts in upscale restaurants, but MacNeil’s handiworks beautifully mirror Ladner’s pastas — directly, deeply satisfying, and deceptive in their technical prowess. That ultimately is the truest joy in dining here at Del Posto. Cerebral precision drives the cooking what arrives in front of you, though, still conveys the emotive essence of Italian cuisine. Warm, flaky pie. Slippery noodles that yield to the teeth with just the right snap. Beyond the elegance and escapism, it’s Ladner’s exacting grasp of heart-and-mind pleasures that presages another decade of triumph for this remarkable restaurant.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified Abruzzo as a city, not a region.

Bill Addison is Eater's restaurant editor, roving the country in search of America's best restaurants. See all his columns in the archive.

Del Posto's Best Recipe Isn't on the Menu—In Fact, It Never Even Leaves the Basement

One: Call your mom. Often. If you need a few days to go visit her, no problem—I will cover your shift. When was the last time you called your mom? Call your mother, okay?

Rosa is the master of the basement at DP, which is not nearly as brutal as it sounds. The basement houses the prep kitchen below the main dining room, is nicer than most professional kitchens, and is well equipped with all kinds of beautiful appliances. Rosa rules that roost. I suppose an org chart somewhere says that I’m in charge, but that is the most shameless sham: Rosa is the boss .

Rosa started at DP in 2005, the year it opened. Initially, she was the “linen lady,” meaning she’d iron tablecloths during the day and clean the bathrooms at night. There are a lot of bathrooms to clean, and tons of linens, too—it’s a crappy job. The pastry chefs before me had declined Rosa’s many requests to move into the kitchen. Why would I hire someone with no experience?

It is a perfectly reasonable question.

When I started at DP, I was absolutely desperate for staff. No one wanted to work for me. I was a chucklehead, a beefsteak Charlie, a total loser. I was new to town and didn’t have any connections. So one super-depressing day, a day when I was particularly forlorn, a day yanked straight from W. Somerset Maugham that “broke gray and dull,” when “the clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow,” the banquet manager asked, “Hey, do you need people? I can transfer Rosa to pastry.”

I said yes and Rosa started working with me. This was in early 2008.

Rosa is from El Salvador. She came to New York to earn money to help her family back home. She lives at the northernmost tip of Manhattan—beyond Harlem, almost in the Bronx, some street in the 200s. Her palate is impeccable. She balances salt and acid seamlessly and perfectly, like an art cultivated in the womb. She just knows.

One gnarly March day a few years ago, the morning prep team called in sick. All of them.

Except Rosa. She showed up. Rosa always shows up. Always.

When I arrived at 11 a.m. after a stressful and slow-moving L train voyage from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the prep list was almost done, and Rosa had no fewer than five massive projects going simultaneously. I was floored. Her commitment to getting the job done, no matter what, is baffling. She consistently schools CIA grads and sous-chefs. Everyone who works at DP loves her to death, and she loves them back.

We don’t serve this recipe at the restaurant, which doesn’t make much sense because it’s probably the best one. For staff meal, Rosa’s biscuits are a contorni to Meatloaf Day, Fried Chicken Day, even Veal-Scrap Curry Day. They defy gravity, light and delicious but somehow still hearty. I feel about these biscuits the way I feel about Black Sabbath, Vol. 4, and Jim Lahey ’s pizza bianca at Sullivan Street Bakery .

But there’s a higher compliment. A few years back, one of the restaurant’s Italian managers— very Italian, very hard to please—grabbed a couple biscuits off the family meal table, took a bite, and said the most beautiful thing I have almost ever heard within the walls of Del Posto, flakes of biscuit guano spewing from his mouth and in the best Italianate English: “This is the best thing I have ever eaten in America.”

Get the recipe: [Rosa's Biscuits

[#### Learn even more about Rosa

This essay is excerpted from Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts, out October 20.

Diners at Roberta&rsquos can choose between eight different gourmet pizza options, like the Rosso (tomato, oregano and garlic) or the Beastmaster (tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pork sausage, onion, capers and jalapeños), or build their own with classic Italian toppings like soppressata, anchovy, mushrooms or pancetta.
Photo courtesy of Roberta's

Opened in 2012, Pizzeria Posto has quickly gained acclaim for its excellent wood-fired pizzas topped with classic Italian ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fragrant basil, fennel sausage, soppressata, Gaeta olives and Grana Padano cheese.
Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Posto / Facebook

Who is Lidia Bastianich?

World-renowned chef Lidia Bastianich is known especially for her Italian food. She's the host of "Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen" on PBS, as well as "Lidia's Family Table" and "Lidia's Italy." She's written four cookbooks and is part of the team that opened Eataly in New York and several other cities. She has her own line of pastas and sauces available in select grocery stores called, naturally, LIDIA'S.

Lidia Bastianich owns five restaurants. She lives in New York City and three of her restaurants are located there. If you're dining anywhere in New York City, this guide to tipping will come in handy.

21. Uncle Steve’s

Uncle Steve is Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri on “The Sopranos.’'

What the label says: “Growing up in Brooklyn, Sunday morning was the day you would wake up to the aroma of tomatoes, garlic and olive oil simmering on mom’s stove as she prepared the sauce for dinner.’'

Organic arrabiata: not as spicy nor as good as Batali’s, but decent enough.

Arrabiata: Almost twice as much sodium as the organic arrabiata, maybe a smidge spicier.

Dave's Gourmet Wild Mushroom and Organic Red Heirloom sauces

The 50 best restaurants in America

A great meal at an outstanding restaurant can be a life-changing experience. But with new places popping up every day, it can be difficult to decide which spots are worth your time — and hard-earned cash.

We combined six noteworthy lists compiled by food critics, experts, and diners to come up with a definitive ranking of the best restaurants in the country.

We gave each restaurant a numerical rating based on how many lists the restaurant appeared on and how high it appeared on lists that were ranked. Restaurants that appeared on multiple lists ranked higher on our list, while restaurants that ranked on only one of these lists ended up closer to the bottom. For restaurants that tied, we broke down the rankings based on reviews, price, and our own editorial discretion. Read the complete breakdown of the methodology here.

The 15 Best Southern and Soul Food Restaurants in New York City

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/> Vivian Vo: Fried chicken biscuit sandwich (the honey one) and Bloody Mary = perfection

/> People: Check out what Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale ordered during a recent trip to Jacob's Pickles! Read more.

/> Serious Eats: Comfortable southern and soul food restaurant with good pickles, biscuit sandwiches, and beer.

/> Jamal Jones: Some really awesome vegetable and fruit choices at the buffet. Perfect for a vegetarian/vegan tryna get there munch on!

/> The Corcoran Group: Awesome soul food packing tons of flavor served buffet style. If they have it, get the Curry Goat, or just go with the fried chicken and any sides!

/> Ms. Dee Bell: Best soul food buffet in Harlem. Much better than Manna. Clean and pleasant.

/> Dan Chen: CORN BREAD, lobster mac and greens, yard bird, shrimp grits!

/> Food Network: Red Rooster celebrates the vibrant culture of Harlem!

/> Thrillist: Head to "midnight brunch" between 12am- 4am for a killer burger, steak and eggs, or the Bob Harris Ramen with spicy beef and miso broth. Read more.

/> Tiah: Had the chicken and waffles with the cranberry lemonade. Was really good! Dope spot!

/> Angus: Be sure to type NYC when searching for their webpage or you will be redirected to a porno site!

/> Ranjan Roy: I consider myself a fried chicken connoisseur. This place is legit.

/> Angela: Catfish, mac & cheese, sautéed spinach, white sangria . basically the entire menu is amazing

/> Nabeel: Chicken and waffles are pretty good. Make sure to get the white meat (not dark meat).

/> Herman Riley: The best catfish I've ever had.

/> Honghui Yu: Hands down best fried chicken and grits I've ever eaten, and there are $6 glasses of wine!!

/> Staff Picks: Craving chicken & waffles? Head to Root & Bone for chicken brined in sweet tea. We recommend the chicken & waffle sandwich or the shrimp & grits! Read more.

/> Eater: Get the fried chicken, biscuits, pork chop, shrimp and grits, & meatloaf- a shredded, $24 square of short rib disguised as brownie. Finish off with banana cream pie or mint chocolate cake. Read more.

/> Enn Ess: Try the Dr. Walter Delph Fisherman’s Platter (Fried Shrimp, Catfish & Crab Cake)

/> The Wall Street Journal: The claims to fame here are The Rev. Al Sharpton and The Tommy Tomita, pairings of juicy chicken and fluffy waffles. Read more.

/> Travel Channel: Home of Harlem’s best chicken and waffles. As seen on Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation.

/> James Neal: Pancakes w/ blueberries are amazing! Bacon was overcooked :/ Overall good experience and great drinks. especially during Covid

/> Adaeze Udoji: New location for one of my favorite spots in Harlem. You MUST make a reservation unless you want to play yourself and wait 90 mins. The food is so good and the service is superb.

/> OJS: Blvd Bistro has transformed itself from one of the most charming, delightful & relaxing restaurants in Harlem into yet another mass market, low quality food & uninspiring establishment. What a shame!

The People's Best New Chef: Mid-Atlantic Contenders

At F&W, we name America&rsquos 10 most brilliant up-and-coming chefs every year. Now we want to know who you think is the most talented new chef in America.

At F&W, we name America’s 10 most brilliant up-and-coming chefs every year. Now we want to know who you think is the most talented new chef in America.

Joe Cicala

Restaurant: Le Virtù (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because he&aposs reviving old-school and even ancient recipes from Abruzzo using ingredients from Philly and Italy𠅊nd the results are incredibly delicious.

Culinary School: Self-taught

background: New Heights, Café Milano (/sites/default/files/ashington, DC) Del Posto (New York City)
More on Joe Cicala

Mike Friedman

Restaurant: The Red Hen (Read a review)

Location: Washington, DC

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because he&aposs applying his top-of-his-culinary-class know-how to simple yet soul–satisfying Italian classics, like fried brussels sprouts with dill and anchovy aioli.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

background: Proof, Zaytinya, Jaleo (/sites/default/files/ashington, DC)
More on Mike Friedman

Christopher Kearse

Restaurant: Will (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because he is cooking deeply personal and gorgeous high-end French cuisine.

Culinary School: The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College (Philadelphia)

background: Tru (/sites/default/files/hicago) Lacroix at the Rittenhouse Hotel, Pumpkin (Philadelphia) Blackfish (Conshohocken, PA)
More on Christopher Kearse

Eli Kulp

Restaurant: Fork (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because he&aposs masterfully taken over Philly&aposs much-lauded, 16-year-old Fork with inventive dishes such as crab-apple soup with peekytoe crab and bay leaf powder.

Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

background: Torrisi Italian Specialties, Casa Lever, La Fonda del Sol, Del Posto (/sites/default/files/ew York City)
More on Eli Kulp

Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Restaurant: Ripple (Read a review)

Location: Washington, DC

Why She&aposs Amazing: Because her enthusiasm for food and the knowledge she gained cooking with Thomas Keller and Marcus Samuelsson are evident in her exquisite, hyperseasonal dishes.

Culinary School: The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College (Philadelphia)

background: Graffiato, Zaytinya (/sites/default/files/ashington, DC) Per Se (New York City) Bouchon (Yountville, CA) The Rittenhouse Hotel (Philadelphia)
More on Marjorie Meek-Bradley

Kevin Sbraga

Restaurant: Sbraga, The Fat Ham (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because the Top Chef winner combines global influences in unexpected ways with spectacular results, as in his Greek red wine𠄻raised octopus with African piri piri pepper sauce.

Culinary School: Johnson & Wales University (North Miami)

background: The Ritz-Carlton (/sites/default/files/aples, FL) Pano&aposs & Paul&aposs (Atlanta) Washington Square, The Ritz-Carlton, Garces Group (Philadelphia) Rat&aposs Restaurant (Hamilton, NJ)
More on Kevin Sbraga

Peter Serpico

Restaurant: Serpico (Read a review)

Location: Philadelphia

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because while the menu at his eponymous restaurant includes nods to his days with David Chang (e.g., the pork bun–style deep𠄿ried duck leg sandwich with hoisin and pickles), Serpico&aposs food is wildly inventive and all his own.

Culinary School: Baltimore International College (Baltimore)

background: Momofuku Ko, Ssäm Bar, Noodle Bar, Jovia, Sumile, 5 Ninth, Bouley (/sites/default/files/ew York City)
More on Peter Serpico

Justin Severino

Restaurant: Cure (Read a review)

Location: Pittsburgh

Why He&aposs Amazing: Because he closed a successful butcher shop in California to open a meat-centric restaurant in Pittsburgh where he butchers and cures everything himself and educates eaters about the provenance of their food.

Culinary School: Pennsylvania Culinary Institute (Pittsburgh)

background: Elements, Eleven (/sites/default/files/ittsburgh) Manresa (Los Gatos, CA) Bouchພ Restaurant and Wine Bar (Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA)
More on Justin Severino

Caleb Shriver & Phillip Perrow

Restaurant: Dutch & Co. (Read a review)

Location: Richmond, VA

Why They&aposre Amazing: Because they&aposre enlivening Richmond&aposs food scene with unexpected ingredient combinations like spiced pork rillettes with honey-roasted nuts, pig&aposs skin corn bread and pickled squash.

Culinary School: Shriver: apprenticeship program at the Coach House (Oklahoma City) Perrow: Johnson & Wales University (Charleston, SC)

background: Shriver: Aziza&aposs (/sites/default/files/ichmond), SugarToad (Naperville, IL), Otom (Chicago), Metro (Oklahoma City) Perrow: Aziza&aposs, Acacia (Richmond)

Watch the video: All Together Now - Luca - Bella senzanima (January 2022).