Tomorrow, Sunday, I shall take a one-hour boat ride to the island of Ventotene. This is the site of what Vittoria said were many “family secrets.” There may indeed be secrets, but the family thing is still an unresolved question, isn’t it?
Ventotene was the location of choice of Roman emperors who needed to exile their women who were either infertile or brazenly unfaithful. On this “prison island” Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi in 1941 wrote “For a Free and United Europe: A Draft Manifesto.” Lots of ancient architecture, great views, and so on.
Why am I going there now, rather than waiting for Vittoria to join me someday in the indeterminate future? Because yesterday I saw a sign as I sat at my usual table at the café in Piazza Luca Balsofiore. Literally a sign. On the front of the travel office. Big block letters: VENTOTENE. Followed by DOMENICA and SONTAG. I’d never seen it before.
The girl behind the counter said, yes, the boat departs from here in Forio, at 0900 on Sunday. It returns from Ventotene at 1800. “Quanto?” I asked. “Diciannove Euro,” she replied. Only nineteen Euro.
In these pages I will fully document the expedition tomorrow because it will be a sort of symbolic recapitulation of what I began here on Ischia three years ago. An arrival in a strange new place. Scribbles in my notebook. Lots of photos.
Only this time my expectations will be much lower, much more realistic.