With a surface area of just 18 mi▓, Ischia is the biggest Italian Island in the Gulf of Naples. It is divided into six communes and is home to approximately 62,000 inhabitants. The northern part of the island holds the lush vegetation you would expect to find in this part of sunbathed Italy: vineyards, tomatoes, lemons, figs, pomegranates and dates grow here in abundance.
This biodiversity benefits from the added advantage of the island's volcanic origins. The highest summit, Mount Epomeo, rises to an altitude of 789m and the numerous hot springs are also remnants of this period. Thanks to its spas, Ischia is a popular destination for those looking for relaxing treatments and cures. Ischia Porto is the economic centre of the island. This is the port where nearly all of the ferries coming from the Italian mainland arrive, making Ischia the most accessible island from Naples. This administrative centre is made up of two towns, Porto and Ponte, which are separated by a pine forest. In Porto, there is a gently sloping sand beach and some wonderful shops along the port's promenade, and Ponte is attractive for its little shops, restaurants and cafÚs, as well as its magnificent Aragonese castle up on a height. Alternatively, Forio, in the western part of the island is the cultural capital and has partially conserved its rural charms. The village is characterised by its very typical port lined with little shops. Not far from the village is Citara beach and a wonderful viewpoint over Soccorso. The Poseidon Gardens are also worth a visit with their luxurious vegetation and more than 20 spas.
Why not take a day trip to Naples, Mount Vesuvius, on to the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Herculaneum, Paestum and Prociada, with the ferry.
The Punta Imperatore, a 200 metre-high rock topped with a lighthouse, is also worth seeing. From here, you can get a wonderful view of Forio-Citara and its beach.
Visit the last public spa in the Sorgeto gorge. Open all year round and obviously free, the waters can be reached by climbing more than 200 steps!
The Aragonese Castle in Ischia Ponte: this fortress is located on a rock located along Ischia's coast. In the Middle Ages it was inhabited by several families, nuns, priests and princes. What remains of this place is a magnificent garden with olive trees, oleanders, cacti and palm trees, as well as a cemetery for the nuns who once lived there, which has a rather strange atmosphere to it. Go and see for yourself!
In the town of Lacco Ameno on the island's north coast, you can enjoy complete relaxation, rest, and baths in a calm and pleasant atmosphere. Worth seeing here are the 'Fungo' rock which emerges from the water like a mushroom and San Montano bay.
Sant'Angelo, a carless village, is located on an isthmus in the south of the island and is also well worth a visit. In addition to the maze-like streets and colourful fishermen's houses, there is a wide range of treatments and bathing opportunities in the Aphrodite-Apollon Thermal Gardens.
The tourist season starts in June and ends at the beginning of October. During this period, the temperatures, the number of visitors and the prices all increase. In the low season, entry to the spas is much cheaper.
Ischia is home to many different beaches, so there's something for everyone. Chiaia is particularly suitable for families travelling with children. Young tourists tend to prefer Cava dell'Isola for sunbathing while San Francesco beach is a paradise for all visitors to the island.
Don't underestimate the winding roads here... You need to pay full attention and watch out for the many pedestrians.
The specialities here include pasta, fish, ice cream and limoncello.
And there is also rabbit, bred in the region. In order to meet wine-growing requirements, holes were dug into the ground to take the extra soil required by the vineyards; over time, these holes have been used to breed rabbits. This way, the rabbits, fed with local grains and herbs, can move about in complete freedom.
Bring back some 'Limoncello' as a souvenir, a type of lemon liqueur typical of the island.