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Introduction to Ischia

Famous since Antiquity for its thermal springs and a wealth of vestiges left by the Greek and Roman conquests, including spas, gardens, and chestnut forests. A town blessed with beauty, Ischia is the largest and most active island in the bay.

It was struck in 1301 by a volcanic eruption and in 1883 by an earthquake, and for this reason, it bears the name of “Total Destruction” in Italian.

What to See and Do in Ischia

Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte are supposed to be two different towns; however they share a similar architectural style and streets lined by palms, shops and hotels. A crater lake lays where you see the ferry port today whose construction was ordered by King of Ferdinand II. The waterfront is lined with seafood restaurants and is watched over by Chiesa de Santa Maria de Portosalvo and the Royal Palace (not available for public visits). Chiesa de San Pietro (Corso Vittoria Colonna ) deserves a visit. Check out its curved façade and semicircular cappelles. On the same corso are the Giardini Pubblici.

Go eastwards and you will find a rainbow of colours, sunbathers, colourful fishing boats and beach umbrellas.

Ischia Ponte’s main street for the passeggiata is Via Seminario. In Ischia Ponte is the grey Castele Palazzo Malcoviti built in the 1500s that can be seen in “The Talented Mr Ripley”. The Cathedral Santa Maria della Scala was constructed where two other churches had been. The 15th century Torre del Mare is now its bell tower. The design was created by Antonio Massinetti. Its interiors have kept the 14th century baptismal font, Romanesque wooden crucifix and a painting by Giacinto Diano.

Museo del Mare (Via Giovanni da Procida) houses the island ‘s artefacts, photographs and related elements to the maritime history of Ischia.

The 15th century Ponte Aragonese leads to the imposing Castello Aragonese tucked on a rocky islet. The original building dates back to the 5th century BC but it was an Aragonese king who had it enlarged in the 15th century. Inside is the Museo delle Armi housing weapons, frightening elements of torture and chastity belts, and Italian and German weapons. Also head for the 14th century stuccoed Cattedrale dell Assunta. Its crypt still features 14th century frescoes to observe.

Check out the Chiesa dell’Inmacolata and the Cimitero delle Monache Clarise where nuns’ bodies from the Convent for Clarisse Nuns were put to decompose on stone chairs. Other visits area Carcere Borbonico, prison for important men of the Risorgimento movement, and the Casa del Sole ‘s display of contemporary art pieces.

Those looking for a bit of archaeology or a spa pampering experience have to head for Lacco Ameno. The Area Archaeologica di Santa Restituta (Piazza Restituta) and the Museo Archelogico di Pithecusae will satisfy the wishes of history lovers. And Negombo (Baia di San Montano) will meet the needs of the others. Findings of the Hellenic culture and Roman artefacts are part of the two first. Negombo’s spa combined with contemporary sculpture, beach and botanical beauty is a big draw for stressed souls.

The exhibition of works by Giovanni Maltese at the tower of Museo Civico del Torrione, the multi part Chiesa de Santa Maria del Soccorso lording over the sea, the worldwide variety of La Mortella, designed on the model of the Alhambra’s gardens, and the spa Giardini Poseidon make Forio and the west coast are spots not to be left out.

The most stylish place on Ischia is Sant’Angelo boasting tranquil streets, suntanned young people, hills rocky and sandy seascape. The havens for stressed souls here are Parco Termale Aphrodite Apollon and Terme Cavascuro. Climb the Monte Epomero (50 minutes) to its hill-top beautiful Cappella di San Nicola di Bari.

There are endless activities to do around the island such as diving, boat and dinghy trips that cannot be missed for the ravishing sights. The Ischia Film Festival in June, the Vinischia in June-July and the Ischia Jazz Festival in September make summers a perfect choice to enjoy music, films and food and wine.
The tourist information office is on Via Iiasolino.

Where to Eat and Drink in Ischia

Fully stocked winery Cantine di Pietratorcia (Via provinciale Panza, Forio) also serves cheese and cold meats .

For a snack of the best quality head for Da Ciccio (Via Porto, Ischia Porto). Gelato, pastries, calzone and light meals are world class.

La Brocca (Via Roma, Lacco Ameno) is a family run trattoria dishing out great seafood and pasta.

Come to restaurant Lo Scoglio (Via Cava Ruffano, Sant’Angelo) for superlative seafood, world class service and picture postcard scenic beauty.

Ristorante la Pantera Rosa (Riva Destra, Ischia Porto) serves pasta, pizza and some meat dishes.  

Zi Carmela (Via Schioppa, Forio) is renowned for its seafood dishes are recommendable and the decor is attractive.

How to Get to/around/ away to Ischia

BY BOAT: to Capri: and Procida, Naples and Amalfi.

BY BUS: two lines operate the island one going clockwise and the other anticlockwise serving all towns and departing every 30 minutes.

BY CAR: car driving is stressing because of the narrow roads. You have many options of car hiring.