Going back home on your small sailboat gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment. We felt proud for this small-big achievement. We really wish someday, we can sail to the north of Spain to Portugalete (Bilbao): Amaia’s birthplace in the Basque Country. But meanwhile let’s discover together the Latium coast as we get to Civitavecchia.
It’s often hard to leave a place like Ventotene behind
Ventotene was yet another place that left a big mark on our skins. One that we won’t be able to erase any time soon. We liked so much the promenades and the after-work aperitives: when we had a beer (or two) at the small local bakery-bar-karaoke, sitting with locals, listening to their stories…it is always so damn strange to leave places like this. Sometimes you wish you had the pause button and just keep enjoying it.
At the same time you know that the show must go on and the trip has to continue: you keep repeating yourself that there will be plenty more places and people we’ll be meeting along the journey and we know that there will be more marks to be stamped on our salty skins.
I guess we managed to convince ourselves that leaving Ventotene was the right choice and so on July 16th, we said goodbye to our beloved Roman Port. This time we were heading to Anzio, on the Italian coast, not far from Rome.
Anzio and Nettuno: land of warm-hearted people
To reach our next destination, we had to sail a total of 56 nautical miles (100 km more or less). So we set sail early in the morning to arrive before sunset in Anzio. Our original idea was to drop the anchor in front of the port, hoping the swell from north-west wasn’t too bad.
It was a cloudy and windy day, and we managed to arrive in Anzio at about 7pm after a 10 hour trip, pushed by a nice constant NW wind. As we were approaching Anzio, we tried to call the port authorities to see if we could get a berth. Despite the pretty decent size of the port, we were informed that there were no places left for visitors.
We weren’t discouraged by the bad news and we knew we had two options: drop the anchor in front of the port (and likely have a sleepless rolling night) or go to Nettuno, the nearby village which features a big (and expensive) port.
But first, we decided to give it a go and have a closer look at the marina of Anzio. We wanted to check personally if we could find some empty space, somewhere.
After having a thrilling entrance through the harbour mouth (which is wide but extremely shallow with uncharted sand banks), we noticed a petrol station right next to the entrance.
As we moved closer to investigate, we noticed a man standing still on the wharf, right next to the gasoline pumps. Our original idea was to fill the diesel tank and ask if he could help us find a berth for the night.
It was then when he looked at Bolero’s flag and asked with a very typical roman accent : “Have you really sailed from Spain with that thing?” We started laughing and told him that we had actually been to Sardinia and Sicily with our small floating thing! It was love at first sight.
Ennio, that’s the name of the guy who manages the gas station, immediately told us that we could stay there for free. Shortly afterwards, his two friends/partners came over and so we started talking, laughing and having beers together. Then Ennio called a nearby restaurant, booked a table for us and even drove us in his car! We had a great fish dinner for a great price at Cavallo Pazzo.
There is absolutely no doubt that we will keep really good memories of the people we’ve met during our trip in Italy. That feeling of gratitude you have when you meet a stranger who does whatever he/she can to help you, is just fantastic and it changes the perspective of the place you are visiting. This is how we would love people to be, and this is how we should always act.
The next morning, after some hugging, we said goodbye to Ennio & friends and sailed just a few miles to the nearby Marina of Nettuno. We had booked a berth for a few days as we had some previously arranged visits.
Nettuno (together with Anzio) is probably best-known for its modern history: it was the location of the Allied landing in Italy on January 22 1944, in conjunction with an attack on the Gustav Line.
In the evening, while strolling around as we were looking for a place to dine, we found a typical Roman fraschetta and without hesitating much, we took a sit and tried their tagliere (meat cuts and cheese) while we were listening to a duo singing typical roman songs.
We land in Civitavecchia and visit Rome and Bilbao to see family and friends
After spending two days in Nettuno, we set sail to Civitavecchia. It took us nearly 12 hours (approx. 60 nautical miles) to reach the historic Roman Port where we left Bolero for nearly two weeks at the sheltered port managed by Amici della Darsena Romana.
We then spent some days in Rome visiting friends and family that we hadn’t seen for many months because of COVID-19. Amaia even managed to fly to Bilbao to hug her parents and have some pintxos with her friends.
While in Rome, we took the opportunity to haul out Bolero and have the Sail Drive sealing ring changed by Cantiere Riva di Traiano. They did a great and quick job. After a couple of hours, Bolero was back in the water, floating again and ready to continue the journey.
Follow us next as we continue our journey to Tuscany’s islands and we meet with more friends.