Ventotene Checklist

October 9, 2014 / Places
Ventotene, Lazio

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.

Gioacchino Aniello, one of three bakers putting out hte goodness

-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).

Salvatore fascinates all while telling us the history of the Santo Stefano prison
Santo Stefano prison at sunset

– take the evening guided walk with Silvana through the labyrinthine Roman cisterns (turned into a prison in the 18th century)

Into the Roman cisterns we head with guide, Silvan
Roman cistern guided walk with Silvana
Silvana explains the drawings of 18th c prisoners in the cisterns

-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…)

Villa Giulia, once a place of exile
Elena, appasioned guide at Villa Giulia

– 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).

Dockside cafe
Pasta allo scoglio - DA VERDE
Melanzane parmigiano with codfish pasta
Spaghetti alle vongole
Spagthetti al granchio - Venotene goodness
Seafood salad
Tonia serves up the seafood goodness at La Lampara
Pasta with barracuda, olives, island capers, fresh tomato
Mimmo cleans the anchovies for lunchtime, Ristorante Da Verde
Cartocci filled with calamari and shrimp

-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:

Boat pulls out for the giro
Gianmarco talks about the Roman port warehouses as we pass them
Mediterranean splendor of Ventotene seas
Water, are of former Roman fish hatchery
Splendid waters of the one beach, S. Stefano

Another one of Anne’s notes on Ventotene, the island of exile.

..and the Forno Aiello.

..literary island.

… the Bar/Ristorante Da Verde.

… and the tasty seafood at the dockside cafes.

Anne Robichaud

by Anne Robichaud

An authorized Umbrian tour guide, Anne and her husband Pino worked the land for many years in the 1970’s so rural life, rural people, rural cuisine are una passione for her. See Umbria from “the inside”: join her May 2017 ten-day tour centered on discovering Umbria, Anne’s Umbria.

See for more on her Umbria tours. Do see for news on the Assisi apartment – and Assisi countryside guest house – she and Pino now rent out.

Anne writes frequently on Umbria and other areas of Italy. Read about her annual U.S. Feb/Mar cooking classes and lectures, as well as her numerous Italy insights on her blog.

19 Responses to “Ventotene Checklist”

  1. Janet Eidem

    Once again Anne you serve up a delicious gem. Thinking of you this time of year especially.

  2. Rosemary

    Incredibile! I’d never heard of this place but your photos make me want to book the next flight directly there!! Grazie!

  3. Jack Litewka

    I thought I knew most of the places that I have not yet visited in Italy…and want to. Now I have to add Ventotene to my list.

  4. As usual, your descriptions and food pictures make us want to add this place to our list of places we MUST see in italia. Grazie mille!

    • Joseph DeRuyter

      Great article! I have placed this beautiful location on my list of “must-visits.”

  5. Anstell Ricossa

    What a GEM ! Unfortunately have never heard of Ventotene, but it is certainly on my “bucket list” ! Wow ! and your fotos of the delicious foods, make my mouth water ! Grazie Mille.

  6. D. Mardi

    Anne, Thanks for the article on Ventotene with the accommodating pix, especially the food. I haven’t had dinner yet and just want to reach out for one on those seafood dishes. Mmmm! Grazie.

  7. Sarah Walters

    Oh, Annie, I haven’t had breakfast yet and here I am pining for coffee and a pastry on Ventotene!!!! You and I (and Pino) must go there together! Sal

  8. Mary Cappiello

    Wow! It was 80 degrees in San Francisco yesterday, and Ventotene would have been the perfect place to be! Your great pictures make your readers yearn to be with you in Italy. Right now!

  9. Lorraine

    I must go immediately!! How can there be so many places in one country that are all so deliciously appealing and beautiful?

  10. Looks like another “under the radar” must see for me! I’d never heard of it! Great to always hear of new places and get the need to know info all in one article! With great photos as an added bonus! Thanks!!

  11. Jennifer Erdmanis

    What a terrific article and photos. Have just returned from a fab trip to Italy. Touring with you Anne in Umbria over 2 days definetly a highlight!!. Makes me want to go right back. Thank you,Hope to see you again.

  12. Jenny Hannan

    Annie – just love the idea of a bookshop being the cultural heart of this amazing place. Heading to Italy in a week, and this certainly is a must!! Keep well!

  13. Annie — thanks again for providing an “insider’s scoop” for those of us who enjoy traveling to places that only the locals know about! As always, we are in your debt for the best information and insights.

  14. Patrizia Carroll

    I want some arancini! This looks like a great place to spend a few days.


    Tutto cio, questa e’ un isola mervigliosa. Io ci la voglio vedere alla prossima visita in Italia. However , I would need directions to the ferry from Roma. Allen


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