ISCHIA: Eat, Drink
and Whistle Story, photos and video by Tom Weber
a picturesque and inviting little dot out at sea.
The late American author Truman Capote, who stayed a
while on Ischia with pen and paper in the late 40s, called her, "the
Panoramic view of San Angelo, Ischia down below
The largest island in the Phelgrean Archipelago
just off the coastline of the Campania region of southern
Italy at the northern end of the Bay of Naples in the Mare Tirreno
(Tyrrhenian Sea) Ischia (pronounced EE-skee-ah) is where about
six-million tourists annually come to enjoy la dolce vita (the
sweet life) for a week, a month or for a season.
Street scene along Porto Ischia, Ischia
Carefree, open and relaxed, Ischia, as well as the entire
Italian peninsula, jokingly refers to itself as the island where one
comes to eat, drink and whistle "Si mangia, si bevi, si
Now, if that isn't LAID BACK, I don't know what
Panoramic view from the top of Ischia looking out
at the Tyrrhenian Sea
A non-active volcanic isle, Ischia's big draw are all
of its numerous and natural thermal baths. Mainland Italians and curious
outsiders ferry across the Bay of Naples to be pampered morning, noon
and night; and, the friendly Ischiani put out their "welcome
mat" in three primary languages (Italian, English and German) as
the majority of the 60,000 islanders are multi-lingual.
View of the terraced houses in the fishing village
of San Angelo, Ischia
Along with the abundant underground therms and world-class
wellness programs found on this mostly mountainous dot in the sea, Ischia
is picture-postcard perfect and boasts a delectable kitchen (rabbit,
not fish, headlines the menu), fragrant lemon groves and hillside vineyards
(think sweet Limoncello and dry Biancolello wine), breathtaking
panoramas, and inviting beaches, little bays and quaint, tucked-away
Fishing boats lined in a row San Angelo, Ischia
Discovered by the Mycenaeans of ancient Greece sometime
between 1600-1200 BC, legend has it that the all-powerful mythical god
Zeus exiled two miscreants, one to the nearby island of Procida
and the other to Ischia, changing them both into monkeys along the way.
There's no documentation that monkeys of any kind roamed
Ischia long ago, but given the fun-loving nature of the locals, I'd
say any haplorhini primates worth their weight in bananas would
go ape if they could simply while away the days like their hominidae
primate counterparts eating, drinking and, perhaps, whistling.
IF YOU GO
By car: Unless you're already in Naples, or south of
the Campania capital, avoid the hassle of driving through her and catch
a ferry crossing out of Pozzuoli birthplace of Italian
film starlet Sophia Loren and just northwest of the metropolis
and arrive at Porto Ischia.
By train: You can either arrive at the Naples' Stazione
Centrale (Central Station) or at the smaller Mergellina stop.
If at Naples, you'll need to grab a taxi or bus for the 2 km ride to
the ferry embarkation point at Beverello. If you arrive via at
Mergellin, you can simply walk to the ferry.
By air: There is no airport on Ischia. The closet one
is Naples International. Once you land, take a taxi or bus to either
one of the nearby ferry crossing points Beverello or Mergellin
or, better yet, hop on the Alibus line outside the terminal
and go directly to the port at Beverello and your hydrofoil ride across
Poggio Aragosta Hotel & Spa, Via Borbonica,
80074 Casamicciola Terme, Ischia (t. +39 081-980236).
Just like its name indicates, this "hilltop lobster"
sits high above Ischia in Casamicciola Terme, one of the island's six
communities. With breathtaking 180-degree views of the mainland's Neopolitan
coastline, this sprawling spa hotel as a variety of room accommodations
with either a garden or sea view.
Pool-side at Poggio Aragosta Hotel & Spa
The on-site wellness center complete with licensed
therapists, massages, hydrotherapy, Turkish and thermal baths, and a
large outdoor swimming pool with those spectacular views of the deep-blue
sea coupled with full or partial meal plans in the hotel's restaurant
with its traditional and delicious island fare and your
well-appointed room, you're sure to be pleased and happy at how easy
la dolce vita takes hold.
For complete tourist information about the island, visit
Side Trip for the Day
While on Ischia, you're only a short, 20-min. ferryboat
ride to an even smaller dot out in the Tyrrhenian, Procida
View of Marina Correcella from Terra Murata overlook
Beloved for its simplicity, panoramic views and typical
Mediterranean architecture, too, Procida, over the years, has served
Hollywood and Cinecittà, it's Italian counterpart, well.
Procida has been the colorful locale for numerous films, including The
Talented Mr. Ripley (starring Matt Damon and Jude Law) and Il
Postino (The Postman), the low-budget, must-see Italian classic
that stars Massimo Troiso in the title role, a role that would be his
final act. Get the feel of being "on location." Take take
a day trip to Procida, and don't forget to ask for more Limoncello.
Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.
* * * * *
for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope
Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973 beer was excellent!
* * * *
I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are
top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours
that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired
of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.
--- Raoul, Whittier, CA
* * * *
I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and
articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for
Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of
these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so,
please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.
* * * *
Hey Tom Wow! Love those photos they are so super
that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all
that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb
--- John, Los Angeles, CA
* * * *
for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion
Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the
list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance,
we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!
--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD
* * * *
for Vicenza Walks Monte Berico
I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to
1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladios works are amazing. Have
been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO
where I have some wonderful photos of my family.
--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA
* * * *
I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took
me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball
tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)
Took me back to the plaza.
for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)
Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early
pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still
possible to travel the Francigena trail?
Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights
for future use.
--- Dardenne Prairie, MO
* * * *
You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.
--- Donna Vissa -Montreal
Chuuk + Wrecks = Scuba Divers' Paradise
As we dropped down to 25,000 feet I saw one of the
most extraordinary panoramas I'd ever been lucky enough to witness. The
majesty of it all and the stunning vistas that lay below and before me were
spectacular. It was as beautiful as spring's first rose, and it made me
understand why so many pilots on commercial jetliners love their job; they
get to see so many awe-inspiring sights from the cockpit. My view was that
of a vast vista of the Pacific.
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.