Don’t Go Surfing in Italy

The digital nomad lifestyle continues

It was at this point in our trip when we parted ways with Colton’s sister Chelsea and her boyfriend, Alex. So props to those guys for being so much fun and awesome to hang out with, and of course a special shout out and big thanks to Chelsea for making VIRTVE look absolutely stunning these last couple of posts with her amazing photography.

Day 7

Before making our way to Viterbo, Italy we decided to try hitting up a nearby surf spot that wouldn’t be too far out of the way. So, after Montepulciano we drove two hours south to a seaside town called Civitavecchia.

During our small roadtrip to CV (much easier to pronounce), we stopped for cappuccino and gelato (of course) at a place called Dolcissima Bar Pasticceria Gelateria in a small hilltop town before continuing. That might have been the boringest sentence you ever read, but the view is worth noting.

View from Dolcissima Bar Pasticceria Gelateria
View from Dolcissima Bar Pasticceria Gelateria

After a navigational error on my part (oops!), we found CV, met the guy who let us into our extremely large AirBnB, and then went out in search of food…


Funny story about the guy who let us into his AirBnB, Demitri: When Colton’s mom went to leave a review for him and the place, he politely asked us not to leave it publicly because he didn’t want his mom seeing it, in fear that she would scold him for renting to Americans. He really was honest and polite about it, but yes, there is discrimination against Americans in Europe. There are fair reasons why … But that’s not what this post is about.

So, we went out in search of food on our first night in CV. Naturally, we wanted to eat by the water. As we strolled our way over there, we noticed how eerily quiet it was in the town. Not many people … sort of “seedy” vibes. A cruise ship docking town, if that helps the explanation at all.

Civitavecchia, Italy

So anyway, we come to a restaurant, which seemed to be the only restaurant on the sea. We are waved down by an Italian man, telling us to come and sit down. So, we do so, but aren’t given any menus.

We ask the waiter about pizza and water. But in his Italian English dialogue, he tells us, “I am CHEF!”

He dismisses our request for pizza, and tells us again, “I am CHEF!” and implied that he’ll be deciding what we eat.

It was about at that point we suspected we were about to get played, but, wanting to give the guy a fair shot, we went along. And sometimes in life, you just go along to see what happens, knowing what the outcome might be.

The CHEF brought out a bottle of wine and three huge plates of seafood. One of mussels, one of mini-mussels, and one of calamari and sardines. And of course, bread.

If you know me, you know I’m not one for any shell fish … Unless it’s encompassed somewhere in an eel sauce and spicy mayo covered sushi roll. In this case, it was not, and I opted for trying one of the mussels and more calamari than I have ever ate in one sitting.

After that course, the CHEF, now calling himself Luigi, after calling his friend Luigi, brought out an even bigger plate of spaghetti with more mussels inside. This plate was really huge. We all knew for certain at this point that something really was fishy (haha).

We told the CHEF/waiter/Luigi that we couldn’t possibly eat more food, but he insisted to bring out fish for all. After pleading no, he brought out one fish for Colton’s dad and told us that everything brought out that day was caught that morning, right outside of the sea. Yeeaaaah right. 

After some intensive eye rolling and melon for dessert, we already knew this bully of a chef was going to hit us pretty hard, but we didn’t know exactly how hard. The CHEF got away with $200, which could have been worse.

Looking back, we probably could have bargained with him, and been like, Here’s your hundred bucks, take it or leave it but sometimes you just got to lean into things and see what happens.

Don’t order the food somewhere if:

  • They try shutting you up once you sit down.
  • They don’t let you see a menu.
  • You ask about the price and they say, “It’s all good.”

Day 8

No more fish stories — for now anyway.

Day 8 was the day we were going to get shacked (lol) in Italy. I’ll preface this story by saying that some of you might think that I’m going to sound a bit snobby or ungrateful with this whole experience, but I feel like I need to be honest for all you surfers out there who might be curious about the situation or are just in need of a good laugh.

Now that that preface is out of the way …

Don’t go surfing in Italy.

Haha. Or at least in Santa Severa, right outside of CV. I have to hand it to our guides, Sasha and his girlfriend Barbara though. For these seaside conditions, they have a cute little surf school set up and do the best they can with their situation.

Surfing in Santa Severa
The one wave in Santa Severa

It was an over-cast, windy (windy!), and 65-degree day. Not so much what I was used to in Costa Rica. Looking out at the sea, the shape of the waves were … unshaped, the water was choppy as hell, and it looked near impossible to catch a wave (before it just collapsing into the small twig-filled water). Well, we went out anyway. Because!

Sasha spoke no English. The only real instruction I understood was to go to “the spot to the right corner of the restaurant.” We surfed over there with our less than par equipment (old old foam boards), and did a lot more paddling in uneven rocky water than we did catch the waves.

Eh, it was still fun to get in the water. Colton and I both caught one good wave out of it and had some great laughs. Plus, we got to surf next to this awesome castle (silver lining!). #CastleLife.

Midevil Castle at Santa Severa

After surfing, we had some lunch on the sea, and soaked up the rest of the moment to be near the ocean, because even on a windy overcast day full of shitty surfing, there’s something captivating about being near the sea, and in Italy for that matter.

Man fishing
Man fishing in a Speedo

After lunch, we piled back into the car, turned on our expensive gadget to navigate us to Viterbo, got checked into a new AirBnB, and next thing we knew, we were back in Midevil-ly mainland Italy.

And the drive we had a fabulous dinner to make up for the surfing that evening at a place called Restaurant Tre Re, where I had the most delicious ham and cheese and mushroom crepes I’ve ever had in my life, and would recommend to everyone.