The largest island in the Phelgrean Archipelago — just at the northern end of the Bay of Naples out in the Tyrrhanean Sea — Ischia is where about six-million tourists come annually to enjoy la dolce vita (the sweet life) — for a week, a month or for a season.
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 fischia.” Now, if that isn’t LAID BACK, I don’t know what is.
A non-active volcanic island, Ischia’s big draw are its numerous thermal baths. Mainland Italians and curious outsiders ferry across the bay 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.
Along with the natural underground therms and world-class wellness programs found on this mostly mountainous isle, 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 coves.
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 monkeys 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.
Tom is a veteran print-broadcast journalist who resides in the Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills) in the province of Padova in the Veneto region of northestern Italy. He hosts the eclectic travel/foodie/photography blog
, is a regular contributor to Los Angeles-based The Palladian Traveler.com , and is a member of the TravelingBoy.com . Feel free to follow Tom as he “meanders along the cobblestone to somewhere.” International Travel Writers Alliance