Vita Gazette

News from Italy

Let’s escape to Ischia!

by Andira Vitale

Do you want peace in an Italian nostalgic atmosphere? Then we escape to Ischia, which is chosen as the most beautiful of the islands… Ischia, a quiet idyllic island, welcomes those who come to the island with its Italian beauty, spirit and hospitality like a true friend.

The famous travel magazine Travel + Leisure has determined the 25 most beautiful islands of 2022 in line with the opinions of its readers this year. Shining as one of the pearls of the Gulf of Naples in the south of Italy, this lovely island has even surpassed the Maldives, Bali and Greek islands in terms of beauty and charm. You ask why? Its picturesque landscapes, hot springs and pristine beaches, including the famous Maronti, enchant its visitors. Almost all of them described the people of Ischia as “very kind and helpful”.

Ischia, a quiet idyllic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea, is an hour’s ferry ride from Naples. We arrive at the marina, the city’s heart, following the view of the Bay of Naples. From the moment we get off the ferry, a heartwarming Italian beauty, spirit and hospitality welcomes us. We are fascinated by the colours, smells and lights reflecting from the sea to the island. This warmth is accompanied by nostalgic images describing the Italy of the past: those who pass in front of us with the baby on the Vespa, strapped to their back; laundry hanging on ropes; grandmothers chatting outside the doors; pasta made on long tables; religious street parades; nostalgic church weddings… Narrow streets, bougainvillea, sunsets… Plus tuff rocks and thermal waters… As an island classic, the landscape and traditions vary from town to town, but the same kindness and sincerity welcomes us everywhere…

Lacco Ameno with its beautiful marina and Forio with its picturesque old town are among the most fascinating cities. Located in the north, Casamicciola Terme stands out with the largest number of hot springs. Ischia Porto is the center of hustle and bustle, and the nearby Ischia Ponte gives an old world feel.

Ischia Ponte village

We spend our first day on the island between Ischia Ponte and Aragon Castle. Our first stop is the fishing village of Ischia Ponte, also known as Borgo di Celsa due to the presence of mulberry trees. This is one of the most characteristic places on the island of Ischia. After the pirate raids ended at the end of the 18th century, this village also started to develop and became one of the richest areas of the island. We see the traces of this richness in the streets where low and elegant houses are lined and there are many magnificent buildings. Located a few steps from the port, this village is a place to be experienced at any time of the day, but especially in the morning. The slow life of the ancient village begins with the arrival of fishing boats in the early morning, with busy ladies trying to buy bread from the old Boccia bakery, with voices chasing each other. Religious festivals contribute to this activity, as well as those who go to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit to pray to San Giovan Giuseppe della Croce, the patron saint of the whole island.

The midday bells herald the time for this community of art and tradition. This is a place where the paintings of Mario Mazzella, one of the most famous painters of the island and uniquely represented in the world by the master, are exhibited. The artist’s son, Luca, is always ready to tell his father’s story and welcomes his visitors.

Ancient city of Aenaria

We are going to see the archaeological remains of the ancient city of Aenaria in Cartaromana Bay by glass boat. We go on a historical journey through parts of the ancient port, Roman-era residences and various archaeological remains. The hidden history here is truly fascinating…

Aragon Castle

The story that Cartaromana Bay has is not limited to this. We are talking about the Aragonese Castle. The ancient mansion built by Gerone soldiers in 474 was separated from the mainland after a tectonic event. A feudal residence in the 1500s, then a Spanish stronghold, this historic site was transformed by the Bourbons into a political prison, which served a period of incarceration and life imprisonment until the first half of the 1800s.

Aragon Castle is located a stone’s throw from the island. This magnificent historical monument, the former refuge of the Greeks, was transformed into an extraordinary castle by Alfonso D’Aragona in 1441. Here, we enjoy the panoramic spots with views of the bay. Stretching from the village of Ischia Ponte to Spiaggia dei Pescatori and Mount Epomeo, Immaculate Conception Terrace is one of the most spectacular spots in our minds.

Among the castle’s many treasures is the eighteenth-century church of the Immaculate Conception. One is the Convent of Santa Maria della Consolazione, which was built by Battista Lanfreschi, the abbess of the nearby Clarisse Convent, and has hosted art exhibitions for decades, and the other is the Sisters’ Cemetery, which was once home to forty nuns from the Poor Clares order. And there are a series of rooms where the corpses of the deceased are placed on the walls.

Our steps continue to trace history and art: San Pietro a Pantaniello and its 16th-century hexagonal church, the Casa del Sole; Bourbon Prison, where Italian Risorgimento criminals are imprisoned, as well as political prisoners and famous heroes; Terrazzo degli Ulivi, once the garden of the Citadel, where our eyes are locked between the Lattari mountains and the Gulf of Gaeta; the fourteenth-century church of the Madonna della Libera; the three-aisled Assumption Cathedral with paintings depicting Santa Monica and Santa Rita in the baptistery; San Tommaso da Villanova; Crypt Gentilizia, during the period between the 11th and 12th centuries, whose walls bear figures of saints and coats of arms related to the noble families buried there.                 

Then we move towards the north of the island. While going by boat, we watch the port of Casamicciola, San Montano Bay, Cape Zaro, San Francesco di Paola and Chiaia beaches. Finally, we arrive in Forio. It is among the largest and richest towns on the island in terms of natural and environmental beauty, including Colombaia and La Mortella Gardens. La Mortella’s manicured botanical gardens were created by Susana Walton, wife of British composer William Walton. Today it often hosts events and concerts.

                         La Mortella Gardens 

After seeing the Torrione, an old watchtower, and the fourteenth-century cross, we go to a restaurant with a terrace and enjoy the Margherita pizza with a sea view.

Then we continue south by boat. The beaches of Scogli degli Innamorati, Cava dell’Isola and Citara, Punta Imperatore and the imposing Pietra della Nave follow each other. Then we enjoy the Scannella, Pelara and Sorgeto bays, which are characterized by natural pools one after the other. Here we swim in sulphurous waters mixed with seawater.

At the southernmost point, in the old fishing village of Sant’Angelo, we visit the great Maronti beach, Sgarrupata, Punta San Pancrazio and the extraordinary wonders of volcanic nature. But first, we go for a walk among the shops.



Very close to Naples, it’s not hard to find excellent pizza in Ischia, with Neapolitan delicacies such as the pasticceria serving sfogliatelle (candied pastries filled with ricotta and orange peel) or the iconic babà (a small, soft sponge dessert usually soaked with rum). Many bars and beach clubs also serve the zingara Ischitana, a toasted sandwich made with rustic bread, fior di latte cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Piennolo is the most popular tomato out there grown in rich volcanic soil which makes them extra sweet and special. This is the type used in pasta al pomodoro for this reason. Rabbit Ischia, which is a rabbit stew cooked in a terracotta pot with tomatoes and local spices, is among the special flavors of the island.

We enjoyed the classic Ischian fish soup prepared with various fish such as shrimp, calamari, scampi, moray eel, eel and red fish, accompanied by Ischia Biancolella, one of the straw-yellow local white wines, and the grilled swordfish, accompanied by Ischia Forastera.

But it’s not what you eat but who you are with and where you are… Being in Ishia was one of the most valuable and delicious slices of life…

We gave the first place to this beautiful island too…

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