Day 1: Nettuno
The Hotel Astura Palace is a six story modern building overlooking the harbor, which is jammed with sailboats. Our large 4th floor room has a small balcony with a great view over the waterfront.
After we get settled, we head out for our first gelato of the trip at the gelateria right next to the hotel…fragole and the tartest lemon for me; pistachio, crema and the darkest Perugina chocolate for Diana. The owner is charming and the gelato great…..
I am looking for the tourist office to get a map of town. We wander through the old city–the “borgo” and through the busy modern town; the streets are filled with people at 5 pm–shopping, strolling and sitting. I continue on to scout out more of the city–walking along the beach and through the “porto turistico” which is like a shopping mall set right on the harbor. In addition to fishing and nautical shops, there are lots of regular stores and services–banks, restaurants, a bookstore–as well as a promenade along the water right under the “borgo”.
I do find a map finally at the tourist office in the port and head back to the hotel as it begins to get dark. We decide to go for dinner before it gets too late. We go back to the main square in the old town
where we had seen a few attractive places. There are two places open– right next to each other. Their menus are similar and they both look fine but one of them has no customers at all. We choose the other one–Al Centro–and sit outside on this comfortable evening. We have a very good dinner–Diana has a risotto with shrimp and a fabulous roast spigola (bass) and I have my favorite dishes–spaghetti alle vongole and fried small local fish as well as a plate of cicoria. Dessert is an excellent crostata and a pretty good panna cotta. We ask the waiter for a recommendation for a local dry white and he brings us a bottle of Malvasia from Nettuno–which turns out to be wonderfully drinkable and–very surprisingly–only costs 5 euros. As a matter of fact, the whole meal is pretty reasonable–a lot of food–including a whole fish, for Euro 70.00 (about $100.00 US)
We enjoy our dinner very much but feel badly for the next door restaurant since no customers ever chose it and “our” restaurant continues to be busy with both Italians and visitors.
We are back at the hotel and asleep before 10 pm…and very happy to be back in Italy.
Jim and Diana