That Little “Scooter Truck” on Ventotene
When you get off the ferry or the hydrofoil at the Ventotene port, you’ll see a landmark: mustached Vincenzo in carefully-ironed cotton shirt and shorts near his Ape (literally, “bumble bee”), piled high with island goodness. He always parks his little putt-putt right outside Mare Pizza, where his wife Antonietta and daughters Anna and Lucia reign.
Set-up of Vincenzo’s “moving grocery store” on his “scooter truck” takes about 15 minutes each morning around 7 a.m. and dismantling takes about the same, nearly fifteen hours later.
He’s been on his feet all that time – except for about ten minutes when he plops into a plastic chair near his Ape for a simple lunch. Lunch might be tomatoes and basil from his garden with a few anchovies.
His clients? Those just arriving at the port on ferries and hydrofoils, vacationers staying in island rentals, and those coming ashore from their boats anchored just across the lane.
Vincenzo serves his clients…
Some might buy a bag of the Ventotene lentils, Vincenzo’s dried chickpeas, dried peas, fava beans or other legumes. Colorful jars of every imaginable vegetable (all raised by Vincenzo), preserved under olive oil (his, of course!), stacked like multi-hued towers, are purchased as gifts for those at home – or for an evening aperitivo accompaniment. Jams are there, too – even jams of island wild arugula, wild fennel, prickly pear.
Vincenzo’s legumes and colorful preserves
Island wild fennel and oregano, Vincenzo’s mint, basil, bay leaves, rosemary, sage and other herbs dangle from the Ape roof.
At the tail end of the Ape, figs, chili peppers, pears, lemons, peaches and prickly pears are in crates. In his free moments, Vincenzo peels and slices prickly pears for customers.
His rest time? Not much from May to late October (“the season” here at Ventotene). “I have to hoe my garden when I get home – and then sleep from about midnight to 3 a.m. – and this has been my life for about fifty-five years. I should retire, I think..”
I doubt it.
I know that Ape will be parked at the port when we return next year.
Read about – and see! – pizza goodness (and not only) on Ventotene
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 near the port
Read about the island bakery
Read why Ventotene captivates
Read why a return to Venotene is like “coming home”
Read about Ventotene’s many enticements
See the kaleidoscopic colors of Ventotene
Read more about Ventotene’s bakery
Read about the European summit on the island of Ventotene, Aug. 22, 2016
Read about one of our favorite Ventotene restaurants
Read about good eating at the “scooter truck”
Read about “palate poetry” on Ventotene