Anne's Blog

Coming Home to Ventotene

Date: August 16, 2016 - categories: , - Leave your thoughts

Returning to the tiny island of Ventotene – off the coast, just south of Rome – is always a bit like coming home. I feel it as soon as we stepped off the hydrofoil at Ventotene’s port yesterday evening. Pino just ahead of me, pulling our small suitcase,
At the port in veiled evening light, anchored boats rocked, the tiny island of Santo Stefano (once a prison) rising out of the sea off in the distance.

to-home

porto

First stop? Our favorite, Ristorante Da Verde, for dinner. Pino started with steamed mussels, naturalmente, while I experimented a new antipasto, smoked swordfish in a tasty island apricot sauce, sprinkled with poppy seeds. On to grilled seafood for Pino – and a “black” pasta dish for me: string-thin taglierini in a sauce of swordfish, baby tomatoes, eggplants, basil – and cuttlefish ink.
Che buono!

mussels-for-pino-at-our-first-dinner

Pino always opts for mussels

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My smoked swordfish in apricot sauce, topped with poppy seeds

taglierini-in-seppia-ink-and-swordfish

“Black” pasta for me

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Grilled seafood for Pino (zucchini on the side)

Lunch here today before heading to the sea. Young owner, Francesca, greeted Pino with the good news that the TV inside would show the Motorcycle Gran Premio at 2 pm: better than any dessert for Pino. Antipasto today: for Pino, smoked swordfish marinated in citrus fruits with arugula pesto and for me, a delicate codfish/mozzarella flan. Hesitant about my choice but….. mmmmmmmmm!

codfish-an-dmozzarella-flan

Codfish/mozzarella flan for me

Surrounded by vacationing families at all the outdoor tables, I enjoyed my seafood/zucchiini pasta and brought Pino’s mixed grill (island endive with pinenuts, raisins as a side dish) into the bar: knew it would be cold by the time he detached from Gran Premio TV coverage. (Valentino Rossi disappointed today but the Ducati victories was some consolation).

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At the outdoor tables, families gather for local goodness at Ristorante Da Verde

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to-restaurant

restaurant

our-lunch

me

My seafood pasta with delicate fried zucchini strips

fish-for-pino

Grilled seafood for Pino

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Endive with pinenuts and raisins as side dish for Pino

pino-lunch

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Pino watches Motorcycle Gran Prix as he munches his seafood

pino-and-moto-gp

Francesca brought us refreshing sorbetti di limone. Espressi, next…

sorbetto-limone

Smiling Francesca with our sorbetti di limone

Tables filled up, tables emptied and we sat and read for hours. Fabio’s bookshop, Ultima Spiaggia, flanks Ristorante Da Verde and we’ll head there when reading material runs out.

ultima-spiaggia-nearby

Ultima Spiaggia bookstore flanks the outdoor tables of our restaurant

Across the square, the twenty-eight flags of the European Community flutter gently before the crenellated ochre city hall; after all, here on Ventotene the European Union was born. Set out while imprisoned by the Fascist regime, Alfiero Spinelli’s Manifesto di Ventotene (1941- 1944), proposec a Federalist union for the European countries in order to restore peace on the Continent.

palazzo-comunale

The European flags flutter before the city hall of Ventotene

And on August 22nd, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meets here on Ventotene with Angela Merkel and François Holland to discuss European union critical issues: Brexit consequences, immigration explosion, terrorism threats and Turkey’s current foment.

We hear we won’t see any of the leaders. They’ll stop at Spinelli’s tomb to pay tribute at the cemetery – and then fly in helicopters to the smaller island of Santo Stefano for their meeting. We hear the island will be under high security.

But vacationers stretched out under umbrellas or diving off the rocky coast will probably never note security personnel in their midst…

sea-view-2

Seaside vacationers will be oblivious to the August 22nd meeting of European leaders…

people-swimming

picture-to-sea-2

picture-to-sea

Even on August 22nd, Ventotene will still feel “like home” at the seaside.

view

Read about one of our first meals at Ristorante Da Verde
Read about the birth of the European Union here and EU born here

..and more here: http://www.democraticunion.eu/2014/06/spinelli-rossi-forefathers-european-federalism/

Read more on Santo Stefano and on Ventotene and why we love it
Click here for more on Fabio’s bookstore
Read about another favorite Ventotene eating spot
Read about the island bakery
Read why Ventotene captivates
Read about Ventotene’s many enticements
See the kaleidoscopic colors of Ventotene
Read about – and see! – pizza goodness (and not only) on Ventotene
Read about Ventotene’s bakery
Read about the European summit on the island of Ventotene, Aug. 22, 2016
Read about good eating at the “scooter truck”
Read about “palate poetry” on Ventotene

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