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The food of Ischia is fresh and flavoursome but the mushroom Lacco Ameno is not for eating. Sprouting in Lacco Ameno's bay, this mushroom, "Il Fungo", is a volcanic tuff rock formation and the first welcome for visitors to the town.
Thrown into the sea by an ancient eruption from Mount Epomeo and slowly weathered by wind and water, "Il Fungo" stands sentry, as if heralding the important geological and archaeological finds conserved in the town.
Site of one of the earliest Greek colonies in the west, Lacco Ameno was once a key trading point between the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations - that of Pithecusa. Close to the town's centre you can find the Archaeological Museum of Pithecusa, also known as Villa Arbusto, and the Museum of Saint Restituta.
Villa Arbusto was built facing the promontory of Montevico, the original Greek acropolis site. The villa once operated as a country casino, with large gardens and multiple rooms for guests. Then, in 1999, it was inaugurated as a museum, one which now houses 'Nestor's Cup', an authentic clay drinking cup, dated back to the 8th century B.C. The artefact is inscribed with ancient Greek letters, one of the oldest known samples of writing in the Greek alphabet. Prominent guests at the inauguration included the director of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and head conservationist of the Louvre.
The Museum of Saint Restituta, on the other hand, stands on the site of archaeological excavations. During repairs to Saint Restituta church in the 1950s a Paleo-Christian crypt and tombs were discovered under the chapel's floor. Excavation began and beyond the Christian cemetery archaeologists found Punic and Phoenician-style sepulchres, as well as an ancient factory for the production of the famous Pithecusan vases.
Another world awaits on the other side of the Montevico hill. The Bay of San Montano is a small, protected cove. The beach is the blondest and most finely grained on an island predominantly made up of darker, volcanic soil. Shallow waters make it a safe and fun swimming spot for children, ideal for canoe and paddleboat excursions. The lush Negombo thermal park nestles behind the beach, hidden behind trimmed walls of lush vegetation.
A key personality in the economic development of Lacco Ameno was Angelo Rizzoli, a prominent entrepreneur and film-maker from Milan. One-time resident of Villa Arbusto, his influence brought a variety of stars and public figures to the island after the Second World War. In Lacco Ameno alone the Rizzoli empire built the Regina Isabella, Villa Svizzera and the Reginella hotels, along with a town cinema of the same name. His private investment established a centre dedicated to the scientific study of Ischia's natural thermal springs. In honour of his wife, Anna Rizzoli, he built a hospital, donating it to the citizens of Lacco Ameno. The Rizzoli Hospital remains the operating hospital of Ischia.
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Il Delfino Restaurant, boasting a superb location in the centre of Lacco Ameno overlooking the sea, is one of the most popular restaurants on Ischia, famous since 1920 for its selection of fresh...
Il Califfo Pizzeria, close to the one of the most splendid bays of Ischia, San Montano in Lacco Ameno, has for many years been a popular choice on the island for its excellent Neapolitan pizzas,...
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