Italy With My Son 2012 – Sun Day on Elba


The sunshine all day was not expected as the forecast coming into the weekend was for rain throughout. It was nice to experience at least one day of sunshine and bright blue skies on this beautiful island.

View from the Fort overlooking the harbor of Portoferraio

We met Luciano and Manuela around noon in the main piazza of Capoliveri. I had hoped that we would be able to go out on the boat as Luciano had earlier suggested might be possible with nice weather, but he demurred giving the reason that the sea was still too rough, despite the beautiful weather. Instead we took two cars and drove to Portoferraio to see Napoleon’s house. We drove past, but it was undergoing renovations and we couldn’t enter. We stopped for a little while for my son and I to enjoy the views from the fortress overlooking the harbor.

We drove along the northern coast of the island west to Marciana Marina, a small seaside port town, where we stopped for lunch at a restaurant right on the water called by the unlikely name of  Rendez Vous Ristorante da Marcello. We had a nice lunch of

marinated, salt cured anchovies and marinated mackerel…

simple boiled octopus…

bacala and two pastas:

spaghetti con le vongole and…

tagliatine with a crab sauce. Both were good, but neither better than the benchmarks of my mother’s recipes or my own preparation. I can honestly say that I have never had clam sauce in Italy better than in the United States. The difference, in my opinion, is the type of clam used. The Italian vongole are small with relatively little juice. They don’t really add much flavor and the propensity to add them in their shells clutters the dish. I much prefer American Littlenecks, which are juicy and flavorful, and when I make the dish,  I don’t clutter the bowl with non-utilitarian shells. Here, the crab sauce was good, but it lacked the depth of crab flavor that I have found in other preparations.

We washed everything down with a nice crisp, Sardinian Vermentino.

We finished with a wonderful lemon sorbetto made with milk. This was my favorite bite of the day so far and in reality one of the most satisfying desserts of the entire trip.

Marciano Marina

We parted from Luciano and Manuela after lunch, explored the colorful port of Marciano Marina and continued to drive the rest of the way around the island back to Capoliveri.

It was a beautiful drive amongst pretty towns, beautiful mountains and vistas of the sea and nearby islands including Corsica and Montecristo.

We stopped at one point in Chiessi to go down to the rocky beach and put our hands in the cold Mediterranean Sea. It took us the rest of the afternoon through the early evening to make our way back.

We had one more dinner to go at Il Chiasso, this one was to be a meat dinner. Until then, we had only eaten seafood and vegetables.

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