Sarah and I met up with Stephanie that very same day at a cute corner café along the Tiber in the Travestere area. Going over the basics of her company and what we could anticipate doing, I began to get very excited.
La Dolce Vita Style, or LDVS for short, specializes in trips and events for study abroad students and we would be in charge of everything from marketing and creative collaboration, to event planning and guiding trips throughout Italy and Europe. A few hours later, we had jobs and set up to meet the following day to start training. Part of our orientation required us to attend the trips LDVS offers to better understand the operations of the company. Our very first getaway scheduled for the following weekend, I felt giddy leaving that café. Not only was I now employed, this position was perfect and a dream come true.
Our first destination: Ventotene. Two short trips, train and ferry, led us to a tiny island surrounded by the deepest blue waters of the Mediterranean. Population just about 600, not a single traffic signal in sight, 3 whopping km, Ventotene is the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of Rome. Vibrant overgrown flowers line the island roads first inhabited by the Romans 2,000 years ago. The streets unnamed, narrow, and quaint, led us to our private villa complete with an outdoor shower. This island, in the first 6 hours we were acquainted, had captured my heart.
Upon our arrival on Friday we relaxed on one of the stretches of sand under the intense Mediterranean sun. My mind wanders to California and the many people I miss. I come to a few quick conclusions. First, being that my dad would love it here. I imagine his eyes crinkling as they do when he smiles, his excited laugh and only being able to utter “Wow,” in awe of this place. This would be his paradise! I take in the scenery and one of the many island boys catches my eye. My girlfriends back home would drool over these gorgeous men with their perfectly sculpted, deep tanned bodies. I think about the previous loves in my life and my mind wanders even more. While Ventotene may have stolen my heart, some of it I left behind in California and I am beginning to really miss my friends and family. I force aside all those thoughts, push skip on my iPod, and take in the beautiful scenery.
That evening we enjoyed an almost four hour dinner beneath the stars under a vine covered terrace. Sipping on a glass of chilled Shiraz, we started off with a mix of vegetables naturally salted from capers and olives drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon. Menus don’t exist here and our server, Stefano, reviews the night’s fresh seafood dishes based on the catch of the day. While I love seafood, I had never tried clams – they always kind of intimidated me to be quite honest. Feeling adventurous, I opted for one of their house specialties as my main dish. A fresh seafood dish made with clams, shrimp, and swordfish tossed in a white wine sauce served over linguine. Clams became a new favorite and I ate plentiful amounts of the freshest variety of seafood this past weekend.
A ferry off the port of Formia led us to this heavenly island in the middle of the Mediterranean. Peaceful, quiet, beautiful and not packed with tourists, Ventotene has become one of my favorite places in the world.