In 2 BC Emperor Augustus exiled his promiscuous daughter Giulia Agripinna to the island of Ventotene, which on a clear day is visible from my terrace. She was confined on the northern tip of the island in Pandateria, a large villa constructed of white marble and full of beautiful frescoes, luxurious thermal baths, and of course many servants. While her father called her “a disease of my flesh,” she nevertheless was a witty and intelligent woman loved by the people of Rome. The farmers and fishermen of Ventotene admired her as well and regularly brought her gifts of fruit, vegetables, fish, and meat.
“Remember how you spoke about Ventotene?” Vittoria said yesterday.
“Yes,” I replied. “I can see it right now, from my window.”
“I had a dream last night that you took me there, and put me in this large mansion, and you had a heavy chain around my ankle with a lock on it and you said when the tourist season is over that will come off.”
“Excellent. WAY excellent!”
“But I tried to get you to take it off. Of course I won't tell you how.”
“I know how.”
“I’m sure you do. I almost had you in the palm of my hand!”
I laughed. “Which I was hoping for all along!”
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