I’m now going to tell you about Levanzo. You won’t believe me, nor will you trust your eyes when looking at the photos. But I was there, and all this happened, and you just need to do what I tell you after the jump to experience it yourself. Don’t forget to take me along with you, though. I have got to get back there.
According to my off-season timetable for Ustica Lines, we took the 9.20AM boat from Trapani to Levanzo. It takes about a half hour. When you disembark, you’re going to see the Arcobaleno (Rainbow) bar directly in front of you, above you. This is the view from that bar:
WOW, right? Yeah, we didn’t go there, and I’ll tell you why: A loud, smallish tour group got off the boat along with us, and that’s where they all went for a coffee. So, we went up to the road and took a left, to the bar that you see up in the first picture there jutting out over the water. It’s called the Bar Romano. Go there. We paid 2.40 euro for our coffees and had the entire deck to ourselves. And, the bar lady was really nice. And, they had a dog sleeping in the entrance. Love.
The smallish tour group took off in a Range Rover, presumably to visit the Grotta del Genovese, which I’ve since learned is totally famous and has cave paintings. We decided to take off on foot to see what we could discover. We walked down the road in front of these homes:
And rounded the corner you see in this picture:
Followed the road cut into this hillside:
Which had this view:
Cut down a kind-of path on our right, and followed it until we came to this copse:
At the end of which was this view:
At which point we were so overwhelmed by the almost surreal beauty and solitude we were experiencing, we decided to rest for a moment.
(Let me just say here that while I kind of feel like a heel for not knowing about the totally famous Grotta with the cave paintings, the time we had walking alone down a dusty road with a beautiful view, pausing to wonder about certain types of plants and being surprised and delighted by what was around every bend, was one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced in my life.)
We had been walking for quite some time and were getting hungry, so we headed back toward town in search of food. Little did we know, we were about to have lunch in paradise:
That’s right – Ristorante Paradiso. Fantastic view, no menu, cheap as hell and the most incredibly delicious seafood I’ve ever had the privilege of eating.
See those meatballs on the left? We thought they were meatballs, until Mr. Pants bit into one and GASPED LIKE A LITTLE GIRL who really had gotten a pony for Christmas. They were made of fish, and were so good that after we finished the plate of anitpasti we asked for another plate of fishballs. Oh, yes we did.
The guy asked what we wanted next, and we asked him what he had. He said he had some small fish, and made a line just above his wrist with his other hand to indicate their size. Bring it on, I said, so we each got one of these:
Then a lady came out and asked us if we wanted anything else. Again: What do you have? She started listing fruits, and mentioned espresso. No, no darling: What other kinds of fishy delights are you hiding from us back there in the kitchen?
“But you’ve already had your main dish,” she chastised.
“We want more,” I replied.
And out came these treasures:
I lack the words to describe how good they were, so I will simply tell you that they made you forget you’ve ever eaten fried calamari anywhere else.
We sat in awe of the meal we had just had for a while, and I translated for Mr. Pants an amusing thing I heard from the other two occupied tables: Both of them, strangers to each other, had said to the owner that they had been waiting since last year to return to Levanzo and have more of those fishballs.
“Damn right, they did,” replied Mr. Pants.
We finally asked for the bill, and the man asked us to recount what we had. He waved away the second plate of fishballs in his calculations, and congratulated us on having a second main dish. He took a drag on his cigarette, looked up for a moment and gave us our total: 30 euro. For six plates of the most exquisite seafood I’ve ever eaten. SOLD.
We waddled back to wait for the return boat at 2.50PM; photos from this will come in a different post.
I’m sure August is jumping on Levanzo; the sizes of the bars and the number of tables at Ristorante Paradiso are a good indication. But on this magical day we had the place to ourselves, and I don’t think either of us will ever be the same again.