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Island escapism: Ventotene

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Balcony sentiment , Ventotene
I am sitting on a shiny-tiled seaside terrace inward the sunshine , with the air current rustling the pot plants beside me. Across the sparkling , frothing bluish H2O is a rocky , green-topped isle , in addition to distant beyond that , Ischia inward the mist. At the human foot of the cliff below me is a curving beach of black sand. Several smoothed stone outcrops stick out of the waves nearby; ane has a flying of steps carved inward the tufa in addition to simply about other has a clump of Roman ruins on its top. I've simply eaten a marvellous piece of courgette-topped pizza from an Aladdin's cave of a bakery , in addition to I am contemplating the imminent ferry journeying home. I don't desire to exit in addition to it's non simply the choppy body of body of water weather which are deterring me. I am on the piffling Italian isle of Ventotene and I desire to remain here. If non indefinitely , thus at to the lowest degree for several to a greater extent than days , to relax into the island's rhythms.
It is belatedly September , the terminate of the tourist season; the islanders are friendly in addition to at that spot is a cameraderie alongside visitors. We telephone commutation happy smiles in addition to greetings , sharing our luck inward beingness hither in addition to knowing this secret.
Inside the prison theater , Santo Stefano
Ponza , the largest of the Pontine islands , is a summertime resort for modern-day Romans , piece the to a greater extent than southerly Ventotene is a piffling precious stone with a to a greater extent than select appeal. There is non a nifty bargain to attain , but body of body of water , boats in addition to ruins brand an appealing combination in addition to this is a nifty spot for escaping the modern world.
The picturesque in addition to craggy isle I am looking at from my balcony is Santo Stefano. Until 50 years agone , it would direct maintain been a sight to direct maintain provoked a shudder. This was ane of Italy's prison theater islands , but the large Bourbon-era prison theater edifice was abandoned inward the 1960s; its crumbling ruin tin move live on visited on guided tours.
Ventotene itself was a prison theater , though a aureate ane , 2 one 1000 years agone , when Rome's start emperor , Augustus , sent his immature adult woman Julia into exile here. The scanty ruins of the elegant royal villa tin move live on visited (guided tours only) on the headland inward a higher identify Ventotene's modern port , where ferries dock. Around the corner is ane of the island's best sights , a Roman port carved out of the island's soft rock. Arched caves dug yesteryear Romans to shop goods – deliveries for the villa , perchance – are forthwith used yesteryear angling in addition to diving businesses.
Zuppa di lenticchie , Ventotene
Past a piffling three-wheeled ape truck selling local attain , a pretty yellow-painted zigzag lane is the pedestrian's means upwards into the catch of the island's ane settlement. Its large foursquare , Piazza Castello , is the hub of activeness – such every bit it is – on Ventotene. Locals rail across the foursquare on human foot or on piffling motorised scooters , greeting acquaintances. With official residents numbering 700 in addition to wintertime residents considerably fewer (200-250 , I am told) no-one is a stranger here. In the piazza y'all tin move sit down with a morn java in addition to croissant – every bit I did subsequently disembarking a 7.15am ferry – or an afternoon potable , or an even out repast of local specialities , such every bit seafood in addition to zuppa di lenticchie (lentil soup). 
As I walk the few yards betwixt the piazza in addition to my hotel subsequently dinner , I encounter a adult woman swimming lone inward the cove nether the hotel every bit a beam of moonlight shimmers over the waves. In the far distance a cruise send passes yesteryear , lit upwards similar a Christmas tree , crowded with x times every bit many people every bit this greenish piffling island. It slips gaudily over the horizon in addition to I sit down dorsum on my balcony , hearing exclusively the air current in addition to the waves. I know where I'd rather be.


Fishing boats inward the harbour
It is possible to achieve the Pontine islands inward a solar daytime from the United Kingdom of Great Britain in addition to Northern Ireland of Britain in addition to Northern Republic of Ireland , yesteryear catching an early on morn flying to Rome. From Fiumicino drome , direct maintain the Leonardo Express prepare into Rome's Stazione Termini , thus modify to a local prepare heading due south , checking timetables in addition to buying a ticket to Formia. Alight at Formia , walk downhill to the port , select grip of an afternoon ferry in addition to y'all could live on enjoying a belatedly afternoon potable inward the isle sunshine. On Ventotene I stayed at Villa Iulia , at €50 a night.

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