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Monday, April 26, 2010

Island of Ischia "The volcanic island with beautiful sunset and beaches"

Though well-known to European and Asian travelers, the island of Ischia, Italy, is oft-overlooked by Americans whose sights are more often set on nearby Capri. Though you’ll hardly have Ischia to yourself, you will find fewer crowds and a less-pretentious attitude on this volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Though predominantly green and mountainous, beach bums will have no trouble scoping out a stretch of sand. And, when the sun sets, you’ll have your choice of accommodations for every budget to rest your head, plenty of al fresco perches that are primed for aperitivo, and some of the world's best food – this is Italy after all.

This sea-side hamlet of Serrara Fontana is free of motor vehicles and seems untouched by time. Tourists wander the colourful streets, trying out a wide variety of seafood dishes and browsing through local artisan shops. The peaceful village also boasts a myriad of different types of delicate fauna.

Ischia, the chief place on the island of Ischia, is picturesquely situated on the northeast coast; it consists of Ischia Ponte the two districts of Ischia Ponte and Ischia Porto. In Ischia Ponte a mighty Castello stands on a 91m/300ft-high rocky crag accessible by a stone causeway.

Piazzale Battistessa
The Piazzale Battistessa is located in the historic heart of Ischia, and is a popular place to relax, enjoy a cup of cappuccino and people-watch. The square is also the site of many events throughout the year.

On a precipitous crag above Corricella lies the medieval fortified upper town known as Terra Murat. From here and from the Punta dei Monaci there are extensive views of the island.

Town of Procida
On the northeast side of the Isola di Prócida lies the little town of Prócida, with a modern harbor (Sancio Cattolico) and the old fishing harbor of Corricella, a charming district of pastel-washed houses with domes, terraces and the characteristic external staircases

Offshore Prócida to the west lies the little islet of Vivara (109m/360ft), which is connected to Prócida by a bridge. Olive trees grow well here and there are wild rabbits.
There is a nature park and archaeological digs have uncovered fragments of Mycenaean pottery, left behind by the Greeks.

Castello d'Ischia
This castle complex was added on to the original, 5th-century BC Roman fortress in 1441 by Alphonso Aragon, who joined the tiny island off Ischia to the mainland by a narrow bridge. The entire population of the island hid in the castle when under attack from pirates and other insurgentsa many times, and also took refuge here when the island's volcano, Mt. Epomeo, erupted in 1301. At one point, nearly 2,000 people lived within its walls.

Monte Epomeo
The trek to the top is somewhat tricky, and may take the amateur hiker just a little longer, but the view from the top of Mont Epomeo is worth all the effort. The inactive volcano is reachable from the village of Fontana in Serrara. In the evening, the lights of the island are simply enchanting.

Gardens of Poseidon
From Forio a beautiful road (20km/12mi) leads through the southern part of the island of Ischia. It passes above the Gardens of Poseidon (magnificent bathing facilities, with thermal springs) and continues via Panza (155m/512ft).
Museo La Mortella
La Mortella is a centre for the performance arts, most specifically, music. Its surrounding gardens are open to the public, and display many rare Mediterranean plants. The garden is meant to be a gift to inspire young artists, and was developed by William Walton, an English composer, in 1956.

Museo Archeologico di Pithecusae
The Museo Archeologico di Pithecusae contains artifacts from every period of Ischia's history, including a Pithecusaen vase dating back 2,700 years. Lo0cated in an 18th-century palace, the museum also houses a collection of items from the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Bagno Ricciulillo
The beach specializes in relaxation, and guests benefit from an on-site restaurant and bar. Bagno Ricciulillo is located well away from the noise of the city, and offers vacationers a tranquil oasis.

Barano Belmare
A small fee must be paid to stretch out in the sun at Belmare, but bathers are provided with chaise lounges and umbrellas. The beach is staffed with friendly service-people, and management often provdes special entertainment.

Bagno Viola (da Stefano)
The Bagno Viola offers a wide range of ammenities to its population of sun-worshippers, including a snack bar, umbrellas and showers.

Citara Beach
This popular beach is located in Forio, and is a favourite because of its waters, which mix with thermal springs to create a warm and relaxing environment with many health benefits.

Stabilimento da Franco
This beach has been open to the public for more than 40 years, and is a favourite among visitors and locals alike. Guests are treated to a lovely view of the harbour and warm, turquoise waters.

Trenitalia - Intercity Trains
Trenitalia's Intercity Trains reach the most number of destinations throughout Italy. The service offers 120 trains a day, reaching over 212 stations throughout the country.
Address: Locations Throughout Italy
Tel: +39 (0) 89 2021

Ischia Taxi
The drivers of Ischia Taxi will pick guests to the island up at the ferry terminal, or even at the Naples' airport. The friendly operators all have a great appreciation and knowledge of Ischia, and are more than happy to share their personal tips.
Tel: +39 (0) 81 992651

Con Bus Ischia
Con Bus Ischia has a large fleet of buses to shuttle travellers on and off the island, including 10 tourist buses with 57 seats each. There are also minibuses and cars available for smaller groups. The company provides several other servicers as well.
Address: Via Michele Mazzella 202 | Ischia, NA | 80070
Tel: +39 (0) 81 802877

Fantasy Tours
Fantasy Tours has a fleet of mini-vans for taking several tourists at once on excursions around the island. The tours can be custom-designed and are lead by multi-lingual drivers.
Address: Via Baiola, 113 | Forio, NA | 80075