From a distance, it looks like a woman lying down and relaxing in the sea, yet it’s the largest island in the Gulf of Naples, complete with breathtaking sunsets, beaches for all tastes, and world famous hot springs
Not just the sea, breathtaking sunsets and hot springs, but also an international film festival!
INaples, schia is the largest island in the Gulf of spread out over an area of 46 square kilometers. Divided into six distinct districts, you can get there in less than an hour by boat from Naples. From far away, it looks just like a woman lying down in the water. And there’s an unending variety of wonderful sights to see. In the town of Ischia for example, you can visit the famous Castello Aragonese, the most famous of all the landmarks on the island. Further along, almost plunging into the sea, is the fortress of Alfonso V d’Aragona. Open year-round, from 9am until sunset, it often hosts interesting cultural events. In Forio, make sure to visit the Chiesa del Soccorso, a lovely white church overlooking the sea, from whose terrace you can enjoy breathtaking sunset views. Another must-see sight in Forio is La Colombaia. Formerly home to the famous Italian film director director Luchino Visconti, it is surrounded by the lush green wood of Zaro and is considered one of the most beautiful villas on the island. Located just a few meters away is Villa La Mortella. Set within the amazing garden created in 1956 by Lady Susana Walton, it boasts more than 500 Mediterranean and tropical plants, panoramic terraces, fountains and lakes. Don’t forget to make a quick stopover in Sant’Angelo, the chicest location on the island, where you can indulge in an excellent espresso, grab a slice of cake from one of the many bars near the beach, or even purchase some souvenirs from one of the local artisan shops lining the road. Crowded with locals and tourists from morning till night, one of its main attractions is its lovely, small port. If you’re the excursionist type, you’ll love the hike up Monte Epomeo, the highest point on the island. The top of the mountain, standing at an altitude of 789 meters above sea level, can be accessed in roughly one hour and a half on foot from piazza Serrara Fontana along a paved walkway (except for the final stretch). On reaching the summit, you will be rewarded by a breathtaking panoramic view! One of Ischia’s hallmark features are the bizarre, unusual shapes of its rocks. The most famous are the Mushroom of Lacco Ameno near the water, and the Lovers’ Rocks, in Forio: two gigantic blocks of volcanic rock sitting one right in front
of the other in the middle of the sea, dreamily gazing into one another’s eyes. Legend has it that Ischia was created and held up by the giant Tifeo: it is said that the thermal springs of Ischia – renowned throughout the world for their therapeutic benefits – are the tears of the giant, shed on account of having to bear this heavy weight on his shoulders. Amongst these, particularly worthy of note are Forio’s Giardini di Poseidon, some of the biggest and most beautiful in Europe. Set between the hills of Montevico and Zaro, behind the beautiful beach of San Montano, the Negombo Spa complex in Lacco Ameno is no less beautiful. The district is also renowned for its marvelous beaches, most of which are located in the commune of Forio. The beach of Citara, sheltered by the large promontory of Punta Imperatore, abounds in Mediterranean flowers, tropical vegetation and white sandy beaches. The Baia di Sorgeto is a natural beach which you can get to by walking down 200 steps: here the thermal springs keep the water constantly warm. Cava dell’Isola is the only beach in Ischia with no paid bathing facilities, and for this reason, the young flock here. From Panza by way of a 300-meter steep trail or by boat or water taxi you can reach Scannella, the ideal beach for snorkeling fans. Between Forio and Lacco Ameno you will find the beach of San Montano: shaped like a half moon and fairly shallow, the vegetation surrounding it has a definite tropical appeal. The island's most beautiful beach is Spiaggia dei Maronti, stretching for about 2km east of the village of Sant'Angelo, straight down the cliff from Barano Ischia. Several of its landmark features include hot springs and fumaroles. While on Ischia, don’t miss the Baia di Cartaromana and the Spiaggia degli Inglesi. The former, which is only sunny in the morning, boasts a seabed filled with Poseidonia, an aquatic plant particular to the Mediterranean. The latter is only accessible on foot, via a small path with steps. However, it is fairly isolated and therefore ideal for those seeking privacy. The Scarrupata, between Punta San Pancrazio and Capo Grosso, is a narrow, pebbly beach where time seems to have stood still: the combined colours of its vegetation and sea make it a truly magical place.