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Ischia

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Campania : Ischia
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Ischia is the largest island in the bay of Naples and is considered by many to be the most beautiful, (though Capri is considerably more famous). The island is a 10 kms from east to west and 7 kms north to south. It has a coastline of 34 kms and covers an area of 46.3 km2. It has a permanent population of approximately 58,000. Up to 6 million tourists (principally from the Italian mainland and Germany) flock to the island for its volcanic thermal spas and as well for its beaches and food.

Island of Ischia - Castello Aragonese
File:Cartina ischia big.jpg
Island of Ischia Map


Cities

  • Several towns are located along the islands coast. The largest city is Ischia is actually (and often confusingly, for tourists) called Ischia. The town of Ischia, however, has two different centers: Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte. Ischia Porto is the commercial center of the island and is named after the main port. Ischia Ponte ("ponte" meaning "bridge" in Italian) is named for the area surrounding and including the footbridge that was constructed to connect the Castello Aragonese with the island. Besides the town of Ischia, some of the other centers are the following: Lacco Ameno, Casamicciola, Forio, Barano, Sant'Angelo, and the jointed town of Serrara-Fontana.

Other destinations

Understand

Ischia — historically called Pitecusae — was has been colonized in turn by the Greeks, Syrausansa, Romans, Saracens, Turks, and Aragonese; all of whom were interested in its excellent strategic position as well as its therapeutic hot-spring waters and of course its attractive landscape. The result of all this varied history can be seen in the ruins of various outposts, towers, and "tufa" rock shelters hidden all over the island.

More recently Ischia has become a frequent backdrop for Italian and American movies such as “Vacanze ad Ischia”, “Appuntamento ad Ischia”, and "The Talented Mr.Ripley". The island has also been used as a cinematic stand-in for the Island of Capri.

Climate

The best time for the traveler to visit Ischia is from April to October, however, the weather in Ischia is always changing and visitors should expect both sunshine and rain — whatever the season. Summer, the main tourist season, combines long, hot days with lengthy evenings. Winter can be bitterly cold and wet, with short daylight hours.

Flora and fauna

Also called the "Green Island", Ischia enjoys hot and dry summers and mild winters along with a pronounced fertility which is a result of having almost an entirely volcanic soil. These factors allow Mediterranean plants to thrive all over the island an sub-tropical and tropical species to successfully occupy niches in the warmest areas.

Negombo Beach Flora - Lacco Ameno - Forio

On the Southern side of the island, the continuous exposure to direct sunlight favors tropical and desert vegetation which is mainly represented by palms, cactus' and agave plants with Mediterranean trees hiding in the shade of inlets and bends. On the Northern side of the island in the shade cast by Mount Epomeo, you'll find chestnut trees, as well as typical Mediterranean trees such as the holm oak, cypress, and cork trees as well as cultivated almond trees, vines, and olive trees.

Ischia Mud

Ischia mud originates from the geologic evolution of the island where, over the centuries, many hydrovolcanic eruptions and earthquakes changed the soil composition. The hot waters and muds, all “thermal” or “hypertermal” i.e. they are at the same time hot or very hot and very rich in minerals content. In spite of their diversity, all the muds have the same standard features: sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and sulphur in the form of sulphates and sulphides. Because of the variety of different chemicals found in them, different waters and mud are recommended for different treatments. The Italian Ministry of Health produces a document that has updates on which waters and muds are suitable for therapeutic treatments and illness and diseases which can be treated. According to this document, disease which can be treated are: rheumatic diseases such as arthrosis; respiratory diseases; dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, atopical dermatitis, eczema (except for exudative bladdery forms), chronic seborrhea; gynecological diseases such as pelvis tissue sclerosis; diseases of the gastroenteric apparatus such as gastroenteric or bilious dyspepsia, and intestinal disorders associated with constipation.

Cavascura and Olmitello Thermal water

While traveling around Sant’Angelo there are several footpaths that can take you up the hilltops. One of these is a footpath that goes to the thermal springs of Cavascura and Olmitello. To get there, take a taxi boat from the square of Sant’Angelo to the Fumarole beach. Here, with the beach behind you, take the footpath from the right side of the beach which is flanked by oleander trees. The first stretch is steep, with a few houses on both sides, then it levels out and there are Mediterranean bushes and a variety of plants such as figs, capers, prickly pears, etc. On the right, there is a view of the Maronti beach. Passing under a natural arch, turn right to reach the beach. Here is the entrance to Cavascura. There are all types of typical restaurants and at the back of the canyon are the antique thermal springs of Cavascura. Going back, climbing the steps through the vine yards, you will arrive at the antique establishment of Cava Olmitello, which sadly to say is in disuse. Here, as you make your way through the bushes, with only the croaking of frogs, you can imagine yourself traveling back in time when the world was a much simpler place.

Talk

While Italian is the native language on the island, most people working in the tourism industry speak at least one other language, with German and English being the most widely spoken second languages. It should also be noted that the island of Ischia also has its own dialect of Italian, which can make it difficult for visitors to understand at times.

Get in

By plane

There is no airport on the island. The closest airport is the Naples International Airport. it is possible by taxi to reach two harbours (Beverello and Mergellina) of Naples in 20-30 minutes; there is also a airbus line, which connects directly with the harbour of Napoli Beverello. From these harbours, regular ferry crossings connect to Ischia.

Budget Airlines

Reaching Ischia on the cheap is possible with the following budget airlines that fly to Naples and/or Rome airports:

By car

From Rome (A1) - From Bari (A16) - From Salerno (A30). It is better to follow the road markings for the Tangenziale (bypass) (exit No. 12) and to go on towards Pozzuoli. Then go out at the Via Campana (exit No. 12) and go on towards the Harbour of Pozzuoli (ferries only), which is about four km far away. You can also reach the harbour of Naples Beverello (both ferries and hydrofoils). You don't have to turn into the Tangenziale, but to follow the road markings for the Zona Portuale (Harbour area) and, after the exit, to go on for the harbour, which is about five km far from the highway.

By train

There are no trains to Ischia. However, there are four railway stations that are close one of the harbours of Naples/Pozzuoli:

  • Naples Campi Flegrei. From this station it is easy to reach the harbor of Mergellina by taxi, bus, tram or underground. Mergellina is approximately 3 km away from the railway station.
  • Naples Mergellina. This station is more or less 200 m far from the harbor of Mergellina.
  • Naples Centrale or Naples Piazza Garibaldi. Both stations enable you to have an immediate access to Piazza Garibaldi, which is around 4 km far from the harbour of Naples Beverello and easily reachable by taxi, tram or bus.
  • Pozzuoli The Cumana railline operates from Montesanto in Naples and follows the coastline for approximately 20 km before ending in Torregaveta (Bacoli). To reach the Pozzuoli harbour you get off at the stop for Pozzuoli. The harbour is five minute walk away.

By boat

Alilauro Hidrofoil

08:00 (to Alilauro) (weekdays) 09:35 (to Alilauro) (except Saturdays - via Ischia) 10:30 (to Alilauro) (via Ischia) 14:35 (to Alilauro) 17:00 (To Alilauro)

Most boats arriving in Ischia stop first in Ischia Porto, and then make additional stops in Casamicciola and Forio.

  • Pozzuoli Harbour. You can also reach Ischia by taking the ferry from the main harbour in Pozzuoli (and Procida).

Tips

Taxis in Naples to the boats:

It is easy to take a taxi from the rail station or airport to the harbour. In this case take a look at the "Fix prices table" that any taxi driver must show in his car. Taxi drivers will often try to get tourists to pay more than necessary for the short ride from central station to the port, so be sure to either bargain or ask for the fixed price (prezzo fisso). For example, from the rail station Centrale to the Beverello harbour the fix total price is currently 9.50 EUR total, not per person, nothing more (though they may not allow more than four people in a taxi at a time). From airport to habour of Beverello fix total price is currently 15 Euro.

Getting off the boat in Ischia:

When taking many of the ferries from Naples to Ischia, it is important to pay close attention when disembarking. Many people make the mistake of getting off the boat, and disembark at the island of Procida instead of Ischia. It is recommended that visitors ask the people working on the boat if the boat stops at Procida. Also, be sure to pay attention to which port you get off at, even if you are at the island of Ischia.

The ferry from Pozzuoli goes direct to Ischia Porto.

As stated above, different boats make stops at several ports. It is best to know exactly which town you are aiming for. If you do not have a specific city in mind, the largest hub of activity and the largest port is called "Ischia Porto" (this port city is often called simply "Ischia", although this can be confusing as it is also the name of the island as a whole). You can find transportation to other parts of the island, tourist information, and food and shelter there, if all else fails.

Get around

By bus

The public bus service connects the various urban centres of the island through frequent journeys, most of them having their terminus in the town of Ischia Porto close to the harbour. The fare for a single journey (valid 90 minutes) is € 1.20, with tickets purchasable in advance from newsstands, bars, travel agencies and tobacconists. Tickets can also be purchased on board from the driver at the higher price of €1.50, although given the inherent overcrowding (particularly during summer months) on Ischia's buses this is not encouraged. Tickets valid for longer durations (for example one or two-day tickets) are also available. All tickets must be validated on boarding the bus. Tickets are regularly checked.

By taxi

As with many other tourist destinations, visitors should confirm the price to their destination with the taxi driver before getting into the taxi. With most taxis not running on a meter, this is the surest way to ensure that you are not overcharged.

Sightseeing Tour

There are half-day roundtrips to all six communities of Ischia with stops at the most beautiful sightseeing stops of the islands. Price is €11.00.

See

Villas, Parks and Museums

  • Villa La Colombaia (Forio) - The Villa, which is surrounded by a superb park, was the residence of the movie director [1] Luchino Visconti. It is now the seat of an cultural Institution dedicated to Visconti, which is involved in promoting cultural activities such as music, cinema, theatre, art exhibitions, work-shops, and cinema reviews. There is a museum dedicated to Luchino Visconti as well. The Villa and the the Park are accessible to public visits.
  • Villa La Mortella - (Forio - San Francesco) -
    La Mortella Gardens - Forio d'Ischia
    This park is located at Forio d’Ischia and was originally the property of the English composer [2] William Walton, who lived in the Villa next door with his Argentinian wife, Susanna. The composer, arrived on the island in 1946, planting wonderful tropical and Mediterranean plants, some of which have now reached amazing proportions.
  • The Castle - Castello Aragonese (Ischia Ponte) - Is one of the most striking monuments on the island. It stands on a small island near Ischia Ponte and is reached by crossing a stone bridge. The castle is about 113 meters high and the climb can be made on an old mule track or by using a modern elevator that was installed in the seventies. The castle was built in 1441 by Alfonso D’Aragona on top of the ruins of an old fort that dated back to 474 B.C. This fortified castle was used to protect Ischia’s population from pirate attacks. One of the exhibits in the castle is dedicated to various forms of medieval torture.
  • Guevara Tower - Ischia Ponte - The tower represents as well as Castello Aragonese one of the best known symbols of the island. It is called Guevara or Michelangelo’s Tower and is located in front of the Castle, and is surrounded by a lawn and facing the Sant’Anna rocks. The tower was rebuilt over the ruins of an earlier ancient fortress: it is likely one of the defence towers built from the 15th century to protect the Castle and the coast against enemy attacks. The tower derives its name from the Dukes of Guevara who were the owners since 1800. Its second name derives from a legend that [3] Michelangelo, who was a friend of the poet [4] Vittoria Colonna, stayed in the tower when he was visiting the island. The tower is nowadays used as arts exhibition centre.
  • Il Torrione - Forio - Since at least the 9th century many towers were constructed along Ischia coastline to provide warning and to defend the island from raids by pirates. One of those tower, called “Torrione” still exists. This tower is located in Forio, near the harbour. It was built in 1480, and has two floors: the ground floor has no access from outside and was used as for storing weapons and munitions, and a rain-water tank; on the upper floor, there was accommodation for the garrison (about 10 people) led by a “torriere” that had the task of quickly sighting of any enemy ships and sounding the alarm. On the top, there was a terrace provided for four cannons. Historians notice that many similar towers were built in Forio until the 18th century, however although many of them were now used as private residences of noble families. Sixteen similar fortresses have been counted between 1480 and 1700, plus five more towers built in the district of Panza, some with a squared base and others with a circular base. Many of these towers are still standing and are mainly private residences. The “Torrione”, after it had been restored, became a municipal Museum (on the lower floor) while the upper floor was the home of the artist Giovanni Maltese from Forio and is now an art gallery hosting his pictures and sculptures collection.
  • A. Rizzoli Museum The Angelo Rizzoli Museum is located in Villa Arbusto and contains a picture gallery about Angelo Rizzoli’s stay on the island. He used to stay in Lacco Ameno where he promoted the restructuring of the ancient Santa Restituta baths and sponsored the construction of a series of large luxury hotels which in the 50's and 60's were the much loved destination for cinema stars and international jet-setters.
  • Pithecusae Museum - Lacco Ameno - The Pithecusae Archaeological Museum is located at the main building of Villa Arbusto, in Lacco Ameno. The Villa was built in 1785 by Don Carlo Acquaviva, Duke of Atri, in the same place where was once a farm called “dell’arbusto” (“arbusto” means “ shrub” , in this case the reference is to a particular plant growing in the garden surrounding the building). The Villa had many owners , until 1952, when it was purchased by the publisher and movie producer Angelo Rizzoli who sponsored the reconstruction of the ancient thermal bath, the construction of some big hotels and the restoration of Piazza Restituta in the town centre of Lacco Ameno. Villa Arbusto is not only the seat of the Pithecusae Museum, but has a splendid garden, open to the public. In the Museum there are many archaeological findings dating back from the Prehistory to the Romans Age. On the ground floor there is the a Geological section , which shows how the presence of the volcano affected life on the island.
  • The Soccorso's church - Forio - It is devoted to "Santa Maria della neve" (Saint Maria of the snow), and was built on a steep promontory that take its name. As the "Torrione" it is the symbol of the town of Forio and it is one of the most original architectural structues of the Island of Ischia. The Soccorso was founded as an augustinian convent in about 1350 but it was suppressed on 1653, with its actual form going back to 1864. The churh is accessible by 20 steps of piperno, then there is a little atrium with 5 crosses of pipernio too. This church is world famous not only for its position but specially for its singular facade, white and adorned by precious '700's majolicas representing saints and scenes of the Passion of Christ. The Soccorso's style is very original, it reassumes some architectures as greek-byzantine, moorish and mediterranian in harmonic shapes. The inside is very interesting becouse of the many types of volta. In the left chapel there is a thaumaturgical cross, a sculpture of catalan inspiration, surely made on the sec. XVI. Close to this cross there are 2 marble medals, they was found in a medieval sarcophagus that was placed in the castel of the antique cathedral of Ischia. This church retains various arts as a shovel made by Cesare Calise that represents Saint Augustine, and a small basin of pipernio dated sec. IX-X. The 5 may 2002 Pope John Paul II during his Pastoral Visit met with young people in a square adjacent to the church of Our Lady Help of Christians.

Thermal Springs

Ischia springs have been renowned since ancient times and have been tested for their therapeutic features by many Italian and foreign scientists, starting from 1300. Hot and boiling waters are used in baths and thermal gardens; there are as well small springs on some beaches and streams of spouting hot water gushing into the sea as well as steam spouts with gases gushing from cracks in the soil (fumaroles). Fumaroles can be observed on the slopes of the Epomeo, particularly on cold days, or are located into small caves, called “stoves”, and idiomatically “sudatori” or “sudaturi” (from the Italian verb meaning “to perspire”) which are used as a kind of sauna in baths and thermal gardens. Springs and spouting steam can be considered as the manifest sign of Ischia volcanic origins and of the still persisting volcanic activity. The particular features of the subsoil, due to its structure and chemical composition affect the minerals content and the degree of infiltration of sea and rain water. According to the opinion of many scientists, the location and features of the springs are affected by the combination of the above mentioned factors. The most ancient springs are those of Casamicciola, consacrated to the god Apollo, those of Lacco Ameno consacrated to Hercules, those of Citara in Forio consacrated to Venus Citarea, and those of Barano consacrated to Nitrodi Nymps.

Churches

Soccorso Church, Forio

As described above, there is a tiny white-washed church located in a truly spectacular position: in the square on the Punta del Soccorso in Forio, that looks out onto the crystal clear sea - a typically Mediterranean site of astounding beauty.

Do

Beaches

  • Chiaia - Forio, the perfect beach for children;
  • Cava dell'Isola - Forio, the most important beach for young people;
  • Citara - Forio -
    File:CitaraBeachForio.jpg
    Citara Beach - Forio d'Ischia
    This beach is at the foot of Epomeo, and is one of the most popular on the island. The crystal-clear water that laps the beach mixes with the thermal water spas in several points, allowing you to bathe in the sea and reap the benefit of thermal water at the same time. However, much of this beach is prviately owned and the public areas are small and often overcrowded. In this bay there is also the Poseidon Thermal Garden.
  • Bay of Saint Montano - Lacco Ameno, a bay where is the thermal park of the Negombo. This unusual beach, closed in between Mount Vico and Mount Zaro, has unique characteristics compared to the island’s other beaches. The clear sea water is very hot and the water is extremely shallow;
  • Cartaromana – Ischia Ponte- This beach is located between the Castello Aragonese and the Sant’Anna cliffs. The beach also offers one of the best views of the island. Cartaromana is well-known for its natural hot thermal water springs that spill out on the shore, allowing tourists to swim in the sea in winter too;
  • Marina dei Maronti – Barano -
    Maronti Beach, Barano
    At 3km long the beach at Maronti is the largest on Ischia and can be reached by taking a charming panoramic road that starts in Barano and descends towards the sea, or by foot via the picturesque port of Sant Angelo. Another great way to reach the beach is to take a water taxi (3 euro approx) from Sant’Angelo. The beach at Maronti is full of thermal springs, natural spas and fumaroles.
  • Spiaggia degli Inglesi: Lovely small beach located in Ischia; suitable for enjoying a peaceful rest, far away from crowds.
  • Cava grado: small cove located in the surrounndings of Sant’Angelo; hydrovolcanic activity occurs in hot water outpourings used for relaxing baths; to get here, there is a steeply sloping foot-path starting from Succhivio
  • Bagnitiello: series of sandy beaches along the sea front road, equipped with car park and bathing establishments.
  • Sorgeto - Panza, Forio - Sorgeto is a shingle small bay, lying to the foot of cliffs covered by agave plants, to the West of Sant’Angelo. Thermal water gushes into the sea. On the hill behind, is located an important archaeological site, known as Punta Chiarito which was where the first Greek colonist settled vines an a hut village.
  • Fumarole Beach - Sant'Angelo - This beach is supposed to be the island's finest. It's long, wide, clean and not too crowded; it's also of a dark colour, since it's of volcanic origin. It can be reached by footpath in 30 minutes from Sant'Angelo, or in a couple of minutes by boat-taxi. The beach is also a populat hangout at night: there are some fumaroles there, and locals often go there and cook dinner in the sand.

Events

One of the many things that make Ischia such a great place to visit is the variety of events on offer throughout the country every month of the year as musical events and festivals, to the handicrafts markets in the historical center and sports events. In spring and summer, the various villages on Ischia organize several events: most of them are linked to religious festivals, which are an important part of the island’s tradition and cultural identity. Here follow the events calendar of the Estate Ischitana 2006:

  • Festa della NdrezzataApril - Easter Monday - The Festa della Ndrezzata is held in the village of Buonopane, near Barano every Easter Monday. The Ndrezzata is a typical dance from the island. It is a kind of rhythmic, violent and picturesque fight where the dancers are dressed in traditional island costumes and fight each other with wooden swords.
  • International Festival of Classic Music - May - October Forio. The first edition of the festival International of "Classic" music: a series of concerts that will be in the churches and the basilicas of Forio.
  • ForeignFilmFestivalJune - A cinema festival with premieres and retrospective themes dedicated to films located in Europe, especially Italy. Ischia, for example, was one of the locations for films made in Italy from the 1950s onwards. Some of the films made here are Vacanze a Ischia with Vittorio De Sica, the colossal Cleopatra with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor and the more recent film The Talent of Mr Ripley with Matt Damon and Jude Law.
  • Vinischia - July - An event that is entirely dedicated to food and wine and Campania regional crafts. It has been organized each summer since 1999 at Torre Guevara at Ischia Ponte. Shows, concerts and dances are organized around the exhibitions and the food and wine tasting.
  • Festa di Sant’Anna – 26 July - The Festa di Sant’Anna in Ischia Porto is held on July 26th each year in the borough of Ischia. On that occasion, there is a sea parade of figurative boats from the island’s various boroughs and also from Procida, under the Castello Aragonese. The parade ends with a prize-giving ceremony and fireworks. The festival is watched by an enthusiastic public.
  • Settembre sul SagaratoAugust and September - A village festival has been organized every year since 1988 in Ischia, that is held in Piazzale Battistessa, opposite the Church of San Pietro. The festival lasts for two weeks and is filled with painting exhibitions, parades of traditional costumes, wine tasting, fagiolate (bean stew tasting), concerts and shows.
  • Ischia White Night (La notte Bianca a Forio d' Ischia) 24 december. Museums, Churches, Shops and restaurant stay open while the Ischia Notte Bianca stages music, dance and theater events.

Trip of Island by Boat

An around trip of the island of Ischia by boat permits to see the coast-line that otherwise is not visibile. Boat tours leave from Forio, Ischia, Sant'Angelo, Lacco Ameno and Casamicciola. If leaving from the port of Sant’Angelo, sailing westwards you can see the Elephants Grotto then in front of you there is a deep inlet in parts low and sandy and in others high and rocky which continue until you reach Punto Chiarito, passing the beaches of Cava Ruffano, Cava Grado and the Green Grotto. At Punto Chiarito there is the bay of Sorgeto with its hot water and muds. Then the coast-line becomes very high, deeply articulated, there are rockfaces, precipices, recesses and promontories: Capo Negro, Punta Pilaro, Chianare Spadaia with its rocks like the Boat Rock, until you reach Capo Imperatore where there is the lighthouse. At first the coast-line is high and steep, then it drops and there is the long and winding beach of Citara. Then it rises softly towards Punta Soccorso and Forio. Passing the coast-line is low and sandy opening onto the beach or San Francesco, which laps the offshoots of Monte Caruso. Here the coast-line is high bare rockfaced, jutting out, curving inwards before arriving at Punta Caruso and Punta Cornacchia. Between Punta Cornacchia and the offshoots of Monte Vico, with its point of the same name, there is the delightful beach of San Montano, Lacco Ameno. Lacco Ameno is noted for its characteristical rock of tufo, shaped like a mushroom. Along the coast there are the houses of Casamicciola Terme. A little farther along there is Punta Scrofa with the English beach, then the bay of Ischia Porto. Past Punto Molino formed from the lava flow of the Arso, there is the Pescatori beach, from here you can admire the island with its castle and the Aragonese bridge. After the bridge there is an inlet here is the Cartaromana beach. In the middle of the sea the rocks of Sant’Anna emerge, and going southwards is Punta Pisciazza. The section of the coast that concludes the southern side of the island is high, rocky and marked by the promontori jutting out of Punta Lume, Punta Parate and Punta San Pancrazio. On this side of the coast there is the Mago grotto and other grottos. From Punta San Pancrazio the coast-line continues high for a few kilometers until Capo Grosso: This stretch of coast-line is commonly known as The Scarrupata. After another small stretch of coast-line there is the beach of Maronti, where the small island of Sant’Angelo can be seen, which was the starting point of the round trip of the island.

A Trip to Monte Epomeo

Arrived to Fontana following by foot or by riding a mule you can reach the peak, which is about 800 metres above sea level. Monte Epomeo is an enormous rock of tufa, in which rooms of an ex hermit and a church which is dedicated to San Nicola (recently restored) have been excavated into it. During the day the view is marvellous, from its peak you can see the whole island of Ischia, Capri and the bay of Naples. At night you can see the town of Forio in a candid light, like an oriental city with the stars slowly fading into the sea, and dawn slowly breaking with its famous green ray.

Nightlife

Many of Ischia's best dance clubs are in Forio and Ischia Porto

  • Valentino DiscoClub [5]

Buy

In every built up area of the island there are streets where you can go exciting shopping for craftsman ships, agricultural local products. The Boutiques, that sell the Famous brand clothes, mark the shopping route:

In Ischia you can go to Via Roma, Corso Vittoria Colonna, or to Borgo di Ischia Ponte, a very nice place full of artisans, shops, restaurants and jewelers.

In Casamicciola, the main streets for shopping are the Seafront and the adjoining Marina Square

In Lacco Ameno the seafront has been very famous since the fifties, nowadays called Corso Rizzoli, that comes out at Piazza Santa Restituta, the place where the inhabitants meet each other.

In Forio, thanks to the expanse of the town territory, there are a lot of possibilities for shopping. Here we only mention the very long main street that crosses the whole city territory.

In Serrara Fontana, do not miss Sant’Angelo, the sea area of the town, for hopping and social life.

In Barano the center of commercial life is the square that faces the wonderful beach of Maronti.

Handicrafts

Handicraft Ceramic

Ceramics making and decorating is a ancient art. This tradition has been handed on during centuries, developing new techniques and producing objects of different use. Ceramics include objects dedicated to two main categories: objects for domestic use, such as dishes, pots, small decorative sculptures, and objects for the building industry such as tiles for paving, roofing tiles, pipes, bath tubs and so on. Terracotta is made of common clay and presents many iron impurities. Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians used to dry in the sun this kind of products. If it is baked in oven, it will become dark red, assuming the particular colour known as terra-cotta, varying in intensity as the consequence of its chemical composition. It is suitable to be covered by glassy glazes which make it bright, smooth and not porous. It is usually painted and decorated in different ways. On the Island the main example of ceramics production is represented by the old workshop Mennella in Casamicciola or Taki in Forio: the workshop as well as a large exhibition of products are accessible to visitors. All around there are small pottery workshops.

Eating

It is not possible to know if it is because of that mountain that climbs towards the sky giving the idea of an island-not-island, or because of the misture of land and sea that Ischia has kept that primitive and wild feeling that now meets modernity . For all this reasons this island is a priceless place, especially for the taste. It is an land island. Staring from the rabbit, always cooked in terracotta baking-pan with a clove of garlic, wine, little tomatoes, lard and local spices: poor ingredients for an old and very savoury dish.

Indivisible from the Ischitanian rabbit is this very savoury main course that is served with the very simple but very rich rabbit sauce. In latest years the pit rabbit became like a totem for the island. The rabbit is bred after the old manner. It lives its natural state: wild, in woods and mountains, and grows up (as for many centuries) in pits and only feeds with wild grass.

Snails are picked along the dry walls (parracine) and in woods. They are cooked in the traditional way with wild grass, especially in the internal par of the island.

An appetizer or main course (if served with mozzarella cheese), Ischitanian Caponata directly originates from the typical insalata cafona (peasant salad). The peasant used to eat it for lunch, in the countryside, during the working time. Nowadays there are many recipes, the oldest one combines little tomatoes, onion, stale bread or freselle, salad and wild grass.

Fish in Ischia does not disappoint. There are many ways to buy it fresh, directly in fish-shops or at the paranza(trawler) when fishermen come back from the sea. Typical of the island are macaroni with sea food, linguine with sea-urchins and different species of local fish served in many ways: marinated, cooked in the oven, with spaghetti. The paranza fry is very famous: a lot of fried little fish of different species depending on what fishermen found. Usually they bring basses white breams, giltheads, little tuna, crayfish, calamari, squids and langoustes that enrich the menu of restaurants and agritourisms.

Some passionately fond, produce honey made from bees wax, citrus fruits or flowers. The local honey has a consistency and a taste very different from the others.

There is a town between Barano and Serrara Fontana called buonopane (good bread). Here they have been making bread for centuries. Cooked only in wood ovens it is kneaded with the crisc’to a natural yeast of acid mother paste. The bread is still kneaded by hand, and its smell in the morning is stirring. All over the island. All over the island there are ovens making bread.

The rural culture is confirmed by the cultivation of many kinds of vegetables, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, courgettes, artichokes and garden rockets.

The legume are very good: lentils, chicklings, beans (they have curious and unusual varieties called pipers –purple red colored- and fascists - with black nuances).

The volcanic soil favours the growth of tomatoes. They are picked up in clusters and twisted to create the typical pendolikept in dry and fresh place.

Of course you'll also find all of the regional specialties (such as the origianl Mozzarella cheese) from Campania served on the island.

Restaurants and winebar

  • Ristorante Alberto Ischia - The list of celebrities that have dined at the Ristorante Alberto includes names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Moss and Natasha Stefanenko. The restaurant's walls are simply huge windows, which emphasizes its location - directly on the beach. From indoors, the restaurant seems to be floating. Since 1950, the Ristorante Alberto has served the finest quality of seafood dishes, concentrating on flavour, freshness and appearance. Address: Via C. Colombo, 8 Ischia NA Italy
  • Ristorante Poggio del Sole - Forio Located at the foot of Mount Epomeo and with a sea view from above, this hidden gem is a true family restaurant. Each night Mamma Tina cooks up the best in Ischitan and Southern Italian. Standout menu items include the Grilled Swordfish, Stewed Rabbit, and Gnocchi Sorrentina. One of the cons of the family also bakes delicious pizzas using the freshest ingredients. Most ingredients, in fact, come from the family's own gardens. Wine and limoncello are homemade and delicious. Attire is casual, families and groups are welcome, and prices are reasonable. The family also runs a hotel and hostel www.poggiodelsole.com Address: Via Baiola, 193, Borbonica, 80075 Forio, Ischia
  • Ristorante Giardini Eden - The lure of the sea-side location and garden setting is nothing compared to the draw of the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen at the Ristorante Giardini Eden. Choices include fresh pasta and seafood, and delicately spiced risotto. Expect everything to look as good as it tastes. Address: Via Nuova Cartaromana 68 Ischia
  • Ristorante Umberto a Mare - Forio this tiny restaurant has only ten tables. Its popularity stems from its view of the sea and the menu consisting of the local fishermen's daily catch. Address: Via Soccorso, 2 Forio NA Italy
  • Ristorante Mamma Mia - Sant'Angelo This family-owned establishment has been a local favourite for years. The atmosphere is warm and lively, and Mamma ensures only the highest quality of ingredients go into her cooking. The restaurant is locaterd in the sea-side community of Sant' Angelo. Address: Via S. Angelo 48 Serrara NA Italy 80070.
  • Bar Ristorante Il Fortino - Forio The terrace of this fine restaurant opens up onto the sea for a lovely view during the day and at night. Some of their specialties include bruschetta and their filling salad Il Fortino. Address: Via Fortino, 37 Forio NA Italy

Drink

On the Island of Ischia, the viticulture has millenarian origins. The cultivation technique is like the Greek traditional one. In fact, it is different from that one used in the middle of Italy and in the rest of the Campania province. From the coasts to the steep mountain slopes is where the vine is cultivated on proper terraced fields. Here is a list of the most famous and diffused kinds of grapes, all cultivated in the island from about 300 years ago: White Grapes - Biancolella, Forastera, and Arilla S. Lunardo; Red Grapes – Guarnaccia and Pedirosso o Pere e Palummo.

  • Limoncello After a traditional meal mainly based on fish, it is very common in the Campania region to drink limoncello, usually after coffee. Limoncello is a traditional spirit distilled from lemon rinds, typical of Naples, Caserta and Ischia. It is a natural product, usually home-made from rinds of local lemons which are characterised by their large size and thick peel. Limoncello is made by steeping lemon rids in alcohol and by adding water and sugar. It is usually served chilled as an appetizer or digestif. It is also mixed with champagne and white wine to prepare cocktails. How to make Limoncello Ingredients: 2kg of lemons, 1 l alcohol, 2 l water, 1 kg sugar. Put lemon peelings alcohol for 21 days in a dark place. Then boil sugar and water. When cooled add to lemon-alcohol, mix, filter peelings and fill into bottles..and the Limoncello is ready!
  • Ischia Bianco Doc The soul of Ischia soul is not the sea, but farming and wine growing, once in fact an area of 3,000 hectares (now 800), was devoted to this main activity. Thanks to its commerce in wine, Casa d'Ambra was founded, with its premises at the port, making history in wine on the island and in southern Italy. DOC Ischia is among the oldest in Italy : it goes back in fact to the mid 1870s and covers the whole island. The vine heritage is quite varied and includes grapes such as Biancolella, Forastera, Grape Rilla, San Lunardo, Coglionara and Falanghina.The tendency has always been for table wines to accompany either seafood or land-produce dishes. The result is a particularly elegant wine, due mostly to the volcanic terrain and dry microclimate with good thermal conditions.

Sleep

Budget

  • RingHostel - (Forio) Via Gaetano Morgera n. 72 - Ph. +39 081 987546, or +39 333 698 5665, Fax. +39 081 987942 [6] - RingHostel is not just a hostel, it's an experience! We are located in an old monastery, where it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The hostel is 5 minutes by foot from both the buzzing town center of Forio, and also the closest beach. The hostel has free internet for all guests, as well as wireless capabilities for laptops. The common room has a big screen TV with lots of DVDs to rent, comfy couches, common kitchen, instruments to play, and a book exchange. Above it all, there is a comfortable terrace for watching sunsets and making friends. The hostel has one big dorm room, and then smaller rooms that can be single-sex, as well as doubles.
  • Case Vacanza Monti - [7] Located in Lacco Ameno, these six apartments are really cheap and friendly-managed. Their owner, Antonietta, is a very nice person and always trying to help. The rents are good and there is a quite near beach (less than 10m), La Spiaggia Del Fungo.


  • Pietradonica, Via San Vito 1, Forio d'Ischia, +39 3460870005. Old Farm-House of 1700, offers double rooms faced a garden of spices, citrus plantations and banana-trees. The rooms, are furnished with bathrooms, bed-linen, bar fridge, coffee pot and tea-pot, heating and ventilation, colonial furnishing of the nineteenth-century. A common kitchen is located in the garden pavilion.

Mid-Range

  • Chipper Hotels Ischia The best and chippers hotels in Ischia [8] with direct call center for information and reservation rooms, service active 24 hours.
  • Hotel Poggio del Sole - (Forio) Via Baiola 193 - Ph. +39 081 987756, Fax. +39 081 987942 [9] - Hotel Poggio del Sole (Hotel of the Sunny Hill) is a cosy, charming, family-owned and operated hotel at the foot of Mount Epomeo on the beautiful Italian Island of Ischia. The hotel is perfectly positioned for quiet and peaceful afternoons spent gazing at the panorama of lush greenery, dramatic cliffs and sparkling blue waters and is walking distance from both the center of Forio and the sea. Views of the Mediterranean sea, pool, solarium, internal parking.
  • Hotel Parco Cartaromana - Via Nuova Cartaromana - Ph. +39 081 993600, Fax. +39 081 984011 [10] - The Parco Cartaromana Hotel is in a truly marvelous location and the view from the hotel is one of the most captivating in all of Ischia: the hotel balconies overlook the Aragonese Castle and the magnificent Bay of Cartaromana. Green hills surround the area, a haven of peace and silence. There are also a health spa, three swimming pools and two tennis courts available for its guests. Prices from 42€
  • Hotel San Giorgio Terme - Via Maronti, 42 - Ph. +39 081 990098, Fax. +39 081 906515[11] - The Hotel San Giorgio Terme is located directly at Maronti Beach, just 700 feet from the sea. The hotel is totally renovated and the rooms are nicely furnished with hand-painted terracotta. The modern lounge-bar, the restaurant and the thermal-pool overlook the Maronti Bay. The hotel dispose also of a in-house SPA, private beach and parking lot. Bus stop close to the Hotel and very good connections for the island's towns.
  • Hotel Poggio del Sole - (Forio) Via Baiola 193 - Ph. +39 081 987756, Fax. +39 081 987942 [12] - Hotel Poggio del Sole (Hotel of the Sunny Hill) is a cosy, charming, family-owned and operated hotel at the foot of Mount Epomeo on the beautiful Italian Island of Ischia. It is a mid-range hotel that also offers the option of bed and breakfast. In fact, the hotel can also offer bed-and-breakfast-and-dinner! Meals are filling and fabulous at the family's restaurant of the same name (see restaurants listing above). The hotel is perfectly positioned for quiet and peaceful afternoons spent gazing at the panorama of lush greenery, dramatic cliffs and sparkling blue waters and is walking distance from both the center of Forio and the sea. Rooms have views of the Mediterranean sea, pool, solarium, internal parking.

Splurge

  • Hotel Parco Smeraldo Terme - (Maronti beach) Via Maronti n. 42 - Ph. +39 081 990127, Fax. +39 081 905022 [13] - The Hotel Parco Smeraldo Terme is right on Ischia’s popular Maronti Beach, in a lush subtropical garden with direct access to the private beach. The hotel is only 100 m from the bus stop to Ischia Porto, the island’s largest village. it features 65 bedrooms, bar-lounge, restaurant, lift, spa, thermal water pool, hairdresser, private beach, tennis court and parking lot. The 33° C thermal water pool, with four powerful water jets, overlooks the sea.The brand-new Corallium Wellness Zone, with direct access to the beach, features 2 indoor thermal-pools with several massage-jets, gayser massage and thermal-water fall, kneipp-path and two emotional showers with aromatherapy.

Holiday apartments and houses

  • Rotonda Sul Mare Apartments - (Forio) Via Aiemita 29 - Ph. +39 081 987546, Fax. +39 081 987942 [14] - The Rotonda Sul Mare offers private apartments with full kitchen and bathroom in a location directly on the beach. The Rotonda is located is just a few minutes walk from the center of Forio, one of the main towns on Ischia island. Rotonda provides free internet access, free kayak and canoe rental, and terraces for your enjoyment. Laundry facilities are on-site, and parking is available. During the summer there's a beautiful patio deck over the water, where you can spend your day in the sun, and walk down the steps directly into clear water on a private beach to cool off.
  • Villa Marialuisa, Via Vecchia 15, Forio d'Ischia (100m from the port), +39 33 9291 4073, [15]. Apartments to rent in the heart of the historical centre of Forio, surrounded by a lush Mediterranean Garden with lemon, orange, mandarin, palm trees and an English garden. The Villa offers recently-restructured independent Holiday homes of various sizes (for 2-6 people) with a garden and all comforts. The main beaches of Ischia are within walking distance, but you can also take a bus or minibus.
  • Casa S,Vito - Forio d'Ischia (100m from the sea)- +39 081 997066 - Apartments (San Vito) offers independent holiday homes of various sizes for 2-5 people.

Stay safe

Ischia is generally a safe destination, even for women travelling alone. The local Police are also generally friendly if not always helpful. There are four main police forces in Italy: the Carabinieri [16](black uniform) belong to the Ministry of Defence and perform a number of different duties; the Polizia di Stato [17](blue tunics and grey pants) are part of the Ministry of Interior and perform general police duties such patrolling the highways; Polizia Municipale (city police) responsible for parking tickets, directing traffic, etc; and Guardia di Finanza [18](grey uniforms) do customs work, but also check vehicles to make sure owners have paid proper car taxes. If you are robbed, try to find a police station and report it. This is essential to establishing a secure travel insurance claim.

Emergencies

In an emergency, call 113 (police) or 118 (medical first aid). Carry the address of your embassy or consulate.

As the island is relatively remote, and Italy is Catholic, women are advised to bring with them extra birth control supplies and extra emergency contraception pills if there is any chance that they might be needed, since it will be difficult to get them once in Ischia. Be sure to bring the actual pills, rather than prescriptions, which normally will not be accepted.

Get out

From the ports of Forio and Ischia there are daily trips to the following destinations:

During the summer months excursions to the cities of Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi, as well as the island of Ventotene are also offered.

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