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The blue green canvas of the open sea inspires the imagination. Suggestive architecture and incredible sunsets unwrap the romantic. Ischia's Forio is a place to dream: "…moon white, lapped by the murmuring sea, where the vespers' peal rises like a flock of birds". Certainly the area has changed since 1948, when American playwright Truman Capote rode into Forio on a horse-drawn cart but the dreams inspired here still have their place.
In 1990 the botanical garden, 'La Mortella', was opened to the public. Home to English contemporary composer Sir William Walton and his wife, the gardens have a British flavour in an Italian setting. Today the Walton Foundation encourages young musicians through tutelage and arranging classical concerts within the garden grounds.
Other prominent visitors included Italy's acclaimed film director, Luchino Visconti, who lived at the Colombaia Villa of Forio during his summer holidays. Every year the Luchino Visconti International Prize is awarded at the conclusion of the town's annual film festival.
Forio d'Ischia's main street displays the creativity of its residents, from the modern design of the piazza fountain to the Serpico store with its traditional island handicrafts. As Ischia's second largest town, its shops and promenade attract a lively crowd for the customary evening 'passeggiata', or stroll, and nightlife.
A walk around Forio d'Ischia's centre also hints at the wealth of its religious vision. Five of the area's 18 churches are within a stone's throw. One of the most unusual, the Soccorso, acts as a town beacon. Observe it from the north, along the stretch of the esplanade, perhaps stopping for a leisurely swim at Chiaia beach, eating under shade umbrellas at the beachside bars. Or marvel from the south, walking in twilight serenity from 'Cava dell'isola', island cove, past the 'Scogli degli Innamorati', or lovers' rocks.
Further afield, in the area of Panza, the remains of an ancient Greek house host an archaeological site almost 3,000 years old. You can visit it alongside the incredible cleft of the Bay of Sorgeto, where the island's thermal springs bubble freely into the sea. If you're up to descending the ravine, enjoy a midnight swim or boil eggs in the heated water, both local island customs.
The Forian zone of Citara offers a more relaxing retreat, an extensive beach full of restaurants, bars, beach facilities and boutiques. At the far end of the bay you will find Ischia's largest and most well known thermal park, 'Giardini Poseidon', Poseidon Gardens. Close to the road, with regular bus stops and parking, Citara allows easy and efficient access.
Indeed, Forio d'Ischia is a veritable haven of artists, gardens, churches, beaches, architecture, archaeology and thermal springs. The undeniable fascination of Forio, however, is not just in its amazing list of things to see and do from a historical or artistic viewpoint. Rather, it is also in the spaces in between. You'll find it in the choices you make as you enter the myriad environments, the breaths you take before their beauty, and in the unique picture only you create in your own space and time. You too are the artist, the dreamer in this crosshatch of intellectual, cultural and natural influences that make up Forio and the "choose your own" itinerary you will build.
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Recommended on Ischia:
Il Saturnino Restaurant, situated in a charming location on the seafront of Forio, by the ancient watchtower in the historic centre, is one of the most renowned restaurants on the island of Ischia.
Helly Hansen, situated in the heart of the town centre of Forio, specialises in the quality Norwegian brand of Helly Hansen casual men and women’s clothing.
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