I have never been to Ischia, I admit it. Perhaps because it is less known than the more “noisy” Capri or maybe it’s less popular. So I was pleasantly surprised by these places rich in history, culture and that charm.
It would have been the monster Tifeo who, defeated by Zeus and thrown into the sea by Olympus, was crushed by a huge boulder, Ischia, then condemned to hold it for eternity on its shoulders. Thus the Greeks explained the continuous “jolts” of the island, of volcanic origin.
Even today some places of the island take their name from parts of the body of Tifeo: Testaccio is the head of Tifeo, in Panza is his belly not to mention the sharp rock foot distinguishing itself on the cliff.
Ischia, the largest of the Flegrean islands, third for the number of inhabitants after Sicily and Sardinia is one of the favourite destinations for tourists, for its enviable position, an hour journey from the port of Naples. Known worldwide for its thermal waters, used since ancient times by the Greeks to restore body and spirit.
Among the must-visits there are Giardini Poseidon: the largest thermal park on the island located in Forio. Here you will find a wellness center with more than 20 thermal water pools at different temperatures and seawater pools. A place of total relaxation in which to get lost among the innumerable pools, immersed in a green park and situated in front of a beautiful beach. Few know it but also famous people like Giuseppe Garibaldi, Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour and Arturo Toscanini enjoyed these thermal waters.
From the ‘600 to the middle of the’ 900 numerous receptive structures able to satisfy every type of requirement were built near the most famous thermal springs.
I was lucky enough to stay at the Miramare Sea Resort, a splendid structure perched on the cliff overlooking the sea, in Borgo Sant’Angelo, which offers its guests a 360-degree sea view as well as numerous thermal water pools and a spa. The refined welcome and the attention to the well-being of its guests makes this resort one of the most requested destinations by the most demanding tourists. The clean lines and the white and blue colors are the reigning this place. A place far from the chaos and the noise in which to get lost and find yourself.
Here lunch at the Apollon alle Fumarole restaurant, overlooking the sea, becomes a gastronomic experience, tasting the real Neapolitan pizza facing the sea is priceless. Not to mention the rich and tasty cuisine typical of the south: exceptional cod in batter (the best I have ever tasted), the stuffed pumpkin flower and grilled mussels
Still in Borgo Sant’Angelo, the most exclusive area of the island, you can stay in splendid Boutique Hotels. Among these, Casa al Sole Boutique hotel represents the idea of hospitality that combines the warmth of a home with the comforts and services of a 5-star hotel. Its suites, all different from one another, are named after famous Neapolitan women. Each has its own balcony overlooking the gulf and is characterized by particular ceramics from Vietri, which the owner has had specially made; the clean lines and the warm and essential materials give the rooms a sophisticated character but without unnecessary frills. The property also enjoys a splendid terrace overlooking the gulf from which to admire the sunset and enjoy the excellent freshly prepared dishes for guests, perhaps sipping a glass of wine.
If you prefer relaxing vacation, you can benefit from a spa area where you can be pampered by specialized staff. If instead you decide to stop in the Municipality of Forio do not miss the Garden & Villas Resort, a paradise in the countryside where attention to detail and care for the used products is almost maniacal. Every day Chef Giancarlo Lo Giudice produces various types of bread and cakes for breakfast (try the caprese with lemon). Inside Il Corbezzolo restaurant you can taste the best of local products: here the use of fresh produce from the garden cultivated within the resort offers a guarantee of quality.
A visit to Ischia, however, would be incomplete without visiting the D’Ambra family (historical family of wine growers) Al Focolare. A trattoria opened in 1991 that chose not to prepare fish, famous for the rabbit from Ischitan pt, the feast par excellence, which here is a slow food presidium, still cooked in clay pans. Because the cuisine of Ischia is a cuisine of land, as Mr. Riccardo proudly tells us, still preserving the identity and soul of his Ischia.