Ischia is the biggest island in the Gulf of Naples. It is of vulcanic origins. This island is famous for its thermal parks and springs.
There are two nice beaches you shouldn' t miss on this island, if you like to lie in the sun. San Montano Bay and the Maronti Beach.
San Montano Bay is situated in Lacco Ameno. One side of this beach has free of charge entrance and the other is owned by The Negombo Thermal Gardens. There is an outdoor cafe on this beach.
The Maronti Beach is the largest one of the island. It is around 3 km long. It is situated east of Sant' Angelo. There are various restaurants and cafes on this beach. You can go there by direct bus from Ischia Porto. Otherwise you can take a water taxi from Sant' Angelo.
Forio is a large town situated along the western coast of the island.
The main sights in Forio are il Torrione which is an ancient tower and the church of Soccorso.
Forio has a long main street lined with shops, some cafes and restaurants.
Torcanera is a shop located on a side street in Forio and precisely at via Erasmo di Lustro at n. 5.
Here you can find various kinds of typical items produced locally. For instance you can buy limoncello (a alcoolic drink made of lemons), wines and other alchoolic drinks. At Torcanera they also sell cookies made with limoncello, herbal teas and beauty products as soaps, creams et al.
I think this shops is the right place to find some typical souvenirs from this island or something for yourself.
The church of Soccorso is located on a rock on the sea. It was built in the XVI century and enlarged until the XVIII century.
If you are in Forio, don' t miss La Mortella Gardens and the Poseidon Gardens. This is a spa complex with around 20 pools with thermal waters at various temperatures.
La Mortella Gardens is a very large green area with more than 3000 species of exotic and rare plants. It was built By William Walton (an English composer) and his wife Susana on the site of a hillside quarry.
This park is divided in two areas; a lower garden (the valley) and un upper garden (the hill). The lower area was designed starting from 1956 by Russel Page; an architect. The upper one by Susana Walton from 1983. There is a lift to go to the upper garden.
There are some nice spots here; as some oriental creations; a Thailandese pagoda and a oriental path; a lake with two fake alligators; a big aviary with lots of little birds and some conservatories.
Don' t skip the small theatre on the upper garden. Here you can watch a video about the history of the gardens and see several memorabilia owned by William Walton.
Among the facilities into these gardens there is a cafe where you can have a light meal, a shop and the toilets.
Ischia is the main town on the island. It is divided in two areas; Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte.
Ischia Porto is the area where you find lots of shops, restaurants and the harbour (hence the name; porto. It means harbour). Ischia Ponte is the old core of this town.
You should go to Ischia Ponte in order to visit the Aragonese Castle. This is one of the highlights of this island.
The Aragonese Castle is a fortress which stands on a small rocky island connected to the island by a bridge.
It was originally an old fort dated back to the 44 B. C. Over the centuries this fortress was was occupied by the Parthenopeans (the ancient Neapolitans), by the Romans, by the Visigoths and by other people. The building you see today dates back to the 1500.
The castle reached its golden age at the end of the XVI century when it hosted 1892 families; a nunnery, the bishop, various religious orders; the prince and his garrison. There were 13 churches at that time into the fortress.
Today inside the fortress there is the ruined cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption with a crypt with the remains of an older chapel, dating back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries; decorated with frescoes, some other churches and various buildings.
There is a cafe-restaurant, a restaurant and even a hotel inside the castle.
Sant' Angelo is a nice village located on the southern coast of Ischia.
San' t Angelo was built partly on a hill; so if you like to explore it properly you should climb several steps.
This village has some beaches, various shops and a good choice of restaurants and cafes.
There is a good pasticceria (confectionery) in Sant Angelo. Its name is Dolce E' La Vita. I only had some ice creams there. I liked them very much.
You can go to Sant Angelo by bus. Once there you have to walk for some minutes in order to go to the center of this village.
There are several water springs on this island. One of these is the Olmitello spring. It is located some meters far from the Maronti beach.
The healing qualities of this water are known since the ancient times.
The more important studies about them were made by the professor Giulio Gasolino in 1588. He wrote about the healing properties of this water which is said it should be good for the stomach, eyes, arthritis and for other diseases.
I went to this island by hydrofoil. This boat was operated by Alilauro company. I took it at molo ( = harbour) Beverello in Naples. The journey to Ischia took around 45 minutes. The hydrofoil arrived at Ischia Porto. Then I took a bus from there to Panza; where I had booked a room.
Panza is a village which is part of Forio.
Molo Beverello is easily reachable from the train station in Naples by bus or by taxi (ask the driver the price to get there beforehand!)
Hydrofoils can carry only passengers. You can go to this island also by ferries. These carry also cars.
On the island there are three harbours; Ischia (also called Ischia Porto), Casamicciola Terme and Forio. It is very important to know exactly what village you are going to on Ischia. Not every boats stops at the same harbour.