Ischia Island



Of volcanic origin, Ischia is larger and not quite as lush as popular Capri, its sister island in the Bay of Naples. During the high season it can be loaded with traffic and occasional smog. Ischia is probably best-known for its hot springs and spas. Ischia's thermal waters are among the largest in the world with more than 100 springs and 30 thermal spas: A day at the Poseidon Gardens spa, with its multiple pools of varying temperatures, may be just the thing to soothe a weary traveler.

Ischia also has some charming towns, including Ischia Ponte, located just below an Aragonese castle, which has lots of pleasant shops selling ceramics and clothing. The picturesque castle is featured in the film The Talented Mr. Ripley.

The island's foot paths—which traverse fishing villages, castles and near-perfect beaches—make Ischia ideal for touring by foot. An easy hike up the spent volcano Monte Epomeo will reward you with a breathtaking view: On a clear day, you can see as far away as the islands of Ventotene and Ponza. Another sight worth seeing is the beautiful Santa Maria di Loreto church. And try roasted wild rabbit and wine from the mountain village of Panza.

For an interesting side trip, visit the sleepy island of Procida: Linger in a harborside cafe and watch the boats come in at the fishing village of Coricella, where much of the film Il Postino was shot. The gardens of La Mortella on the northwest side of the island are also worth seeking out, and elsewhere on the island you can visit Vivara, a nature preserve that served as hunting grounds for royalty (open only during the summer).

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