Before you leave for a few days on paradiso, aka the island of Ventotene, you’ll probably want to jot down a list of what to take: sunscreen, mask and snorkel, swimsuits, towel, good walking shoes, books, books and more books (this is a “literary island”, after all).
And take note, too, of “not-to-miss experiences” while you’re there:
– drop in at the Forno Aiello frequently enough to taste all the goodness: tiella alla scarola (escarole focaccia, the bakery specialty), all the varieties of ricotta-filled pastries, the eggplant polpette, the filled pizzas, the arancini (rice balls)… to name a few.
-work off the Aiello goodness with strolls along the ramparts flanked with stuccoed pastel-tinted houses and long daily swims in the turquoise waters off the jutting lavic rocks below the lighthouse.
-in the evening, join sea-saturated vacationers browsing in Fabio’s bookstore just opposite the 18th century municipio (city hall) on Piazza Castello. It’s the island cultural heart.
– take a boat over to the small island of Santo Stefano for Salvatore’s intriguing guided tour of the former prison there, unique in its structure, unique in its implementation of innovative prison reforms (ask Fabio for books on the subject).
– take the evening guided walk with Silvana through the labyrinthine Roman cisterns (turned into a prison in the 18th century)
-join Elena’s fascinating sunset guided tour of the ruins of the Villa Giulia where Augustus exiled his daughter in the 1st c. AD (and she’ll tell you the whole story of why…)
– sip your morning espresso at the outdoor tables of Bar/Ristorante Da Verde under a canopy of vines, and you can line up with other vacationers for the newspaper around 11 a.m at the newsstand next door (the ferry comes in about then, bringing the papers).
– stay on Ventotene long enough to savor the tasty seafood at the various dockside cafes (and more than once, as you’ll have favorites).
-don’t miss the 3-hour giro dell’isola (trip around the island) on a small boat with others (not more than ten usually in a boat), with stops to swim in the translucent water of hidden coves (reachable only by boat). If you can, book Gianmarco as his passione for his island’s Roman (and not only) history is contagious.
To give you an idea:
Another one of Anne’s notes on Ventotene, the island of exile.
..and the Forno Aiello.
… the Bar/Ristorante Da Verde.
… and the tasty seafood at the dockside cafes.