Destination: Ischia, Italy
“A Bit of Heaven On Earth”
By Linda McClain, CTA
Thinking of a vacation to Italy? Planning a return visit? Each year, the Capital Region sends more tourists to Italy than any other destination in the world. Have you heard of Ischia, the largest island in the Bay of Naples? If not, you should plan a visit. Ischia is located on the northern end of the bay of Naples, in the Campania region. It is similar in size to Manhattan Island and has a population of about 55,000.
How do I get there?
If you’re departing from Rome, it’s a two-hour train connection or a short non-stop flight to Naples (under an hour). From Naples, cruise over on the hydrofoil or ferry, about an hour away.
English is traditionally spoken in Italy’s major cities. Learning some Italian language basics could help you communicate effectively, especially if visiting the outlying areas of the country.
When should I go?
• The Naples area has a Mediterranean climate that benefits from milder and sunnier weather conditions than Northern Italy.
• Summer is quite dry, with an average high in July of 85F˚, average low, 64F˚.
• Weather conditions remain temperate during the winter months.
• The island is a high-demand vacation retreat for Europeans. If you plan to go during July or August, book your hotel well in advance.
Ischia is positioned on a large, extinct volcanic platform. It dates back to the 8th century, when the Greeks colonized the island. Despite their architectural efforts, earthquakes caused devastation that finally forced them to leave. One of the eruptions resulted in the round, crater-like lake, Ischia Porto. The last documented volcanic eruption was in 1302 and the last earthquake recorded was in 1883.
What can I do in Ischia?
• Choose from a variety of hotels that offer mud baths and thermal springs, in addition to wonderful spa treatments.
• Your attention will immediately be drawn to the dramatic cliffside view of Castello Aragonese, perched high above the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tour the castle and its two unusual museums. The original fortress built by the Greeks was once on this spot.
• Visit Forio, said to have the most beautiful beaches on the island’s 23 miles of coastline. It is the second-most populated area of Ischia.
• The most talked about beach is Spiaggia Dei Maronti, on the south shore between Barano and Sant Angelo. Centuries ago, pirates would stop in this area to hide their loot in the sand.
• Walk or ferry to dozens of Fumaroles (steaming geysers), Maronti Beach in particular.
• The Museo Archeologico di Pithecusa is a historic museum with a collection of original artifacts dating back to this colonization.
From La Mortella, a beautiful landscaped garden, to Monte Epomeo, the highest mountain peak, there are many sights to experience in Ischia.
“The Talented Mr. Ripley” with Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow, was filmed here.
Famous personalities who have visited Ischia include:
Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner, Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster.
Important dress code rules
Respect Italy’s dress code when entering a cathedral, museum or other public buildings. To avoid disappointment, check on proper attire in advance.
Take additional time to visit nearby Capri, stunning Sorrento or the famed Amalfi Coast. Buon Viaggio!
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.com.