Ischia, the largest island of the Gulf of Naples, followed by Capri and Procida, boasts an area of approximately 46 square kilometres, and is divided into six different towns; Ischia Porto, Casamicciola Terme, Lacco Ameno, Forio, Serrara Fontana and Barano. The towns are dominated by the lush greenery of Monte Epomeo, an undersea volcano which juts out at 788m above sea level.
Thanks to the island’s volcanic activity, Ischia is mainly renowned for the healing properties of its thermal waters, recognized since ancient times. This rich resource, mainly concentrated in the town of Casamicciola, is distributed via the splendid thermal spa gardens and numerous spa centres of the island’s hotels. However, this is not all Ischia has to offer; the island is home to long sandy beaches and picturesque bays and inlets, lapped up by the azure Mediterranean Sea. Nature lovers can make the most of memorable excursions along the pathways of Monte Epomeo, also on horseback, and visit the various volcanic craters of the island, boasting breathtaking views and unspoilt nature. Since 2007, Ischia, along with the islands of Procida and Vivara, is part of the protected marine reserved “Regno di Nettuno”, characterized by dense sea-beds which can be discovered by diving courses and excursions.
An ancient Greek colony, Ischia is home to various ancient finds; the “Coppa di Nestore” (the Cup of Nestore), which is the first example of Greek writing, on display at the archaeological museum of Villa Arbusto, situated in the pretty town of Lacco Ameno. Among the island’s historic locations and buildings stands out the Castello Aragonese, the symbol of the island of Ischia, situated in the historic quarter Ischia Ponte, also home to the small Marine museum, with displays of ancient navigation tools. Further historic buildings are situated in the town of Florio, home to seven towers dating back to the sixteenth century. Il Torrione is the most important and also hosts many artistic and cultural exhibitions.
The island of Ischia is rich in farming and agricultural traditions, where authentic flavours are expressed in its local cuisine – the most famous dish of the island is “coniglio all’ischitana” (stewed rabbit) cooked in earthenware pots. The towns of Barano and Serrara Fontana are the most rural parts of the island and offer a particular charm, and are where much of the island’s wine and organic produce is made. Many of agricultural traditions are celebrated in the island’s various food and wine festivals; one of the most celebrated is that of the grape-harvesting festival in September.
Ischia is also home to lively restaurantsand night spots, some of which are located in carved out volcano tuff stone, evoking the ancient charm of the island. Many of the clubs and bars are animated with live piano music as well as Latin American dancing as well as modern discos. Shopping on the island is a popular way to while away the hours, with a varied range of shops from designer boutiques to more accessible, fashionable stores. Inviting shops display local liquors and cakes and much more. The picturesque craft shops feature ceramics made by local artisans, many of them with artistic designs depicting the ancient finds of this treasure island.
Recommended on Ischia:
- How to get here
- Living Ischia
- Art & Culture