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Mozzarella and Castello Aragonese

Ischia: a real Italian experience in one island

If you’d ask me to pick a place where I’d go over and over again, that’s for sure Ischia. A charming island right in front of the gulf of Naples with incredible food, stunning views and a relaxed lifestyle. In Ischia you can live a real Italian experience, in one island.

To make things simple for you, here’s a list of what I like the most in this amazing island.

What to eat in Ischia

First things first. As a real Italian I love good food and good wine, so let’s start with my favorite typical dishes and wine.

Coniglio all’ischitana: this Neapolitan recipe typical of the island of Ischia will blow your mind away. In this recipe the rabbit is cooked in an earthenware pot with garlic, olive oil, salt, chili pepper, white wine, cherry tomatoes and island spices. A true explosion of characteristic flavors.

La zingara sandwich: It was invented by two young bar owners in the 1970s and it soon became the symbol of the island. The recipe is super simple: two thick slices of bread (usually in Ischia they use the so-called “pane cafone”), tomatoes, fior di latte cheese (similar to mozzarella but less watery), mayonnaise and iceberg salad. 

You can’t go to Ischia without trying it!

La zingara sandwich: perfection in a very simple recipe
La zingara sandwich: Italian perfection in a very simple recipe

Let’s move to another very important matter: wine. My favorite is Biancolella, made from a true indigenous grape variety of the island of Ischia and its volcanic soils. Its fruity bouquet has pleasant notes of citrus, yellow fruit, almond and a slightly spicy undertone. The wine made from Biancolella goes very well with seafood in general, but in particular with first courses based on fish or clams.

What to do: a short guide on very Italian spots

Apart from the beautiful coastal cliffs and sandy beaches, Ischia is also known for its natural thermal parks. They are all very beautiful but my favorites are:

Negombo. This thermal park is situated in the north of Ischia, close to the bay of San Montano, one of the most suggestive inlet on the island. 

The beautiful thermal pools of Ischia
The beautiful thermal pools of Ischia

Giardini Poseidon. Moving to the west coast of the island, you can find Giardini Poseidon, the biggest thermal park in the whole island.

Parco delle Ninfe Nitrodi. In the south of Ischia, among the green hills of the village of Buonopane, this thermal park is laid out in characteristic terraces that follow the natural disposition of the island. A true characteristic experience.

Terme di Cavascura. This is probably my favorite park: once you enter the park (which has direct access to the nearby beach) it seems like you are back to the ancient roman times. Natural caves, a small waterfall and boiling springs form this natural basin carved into the living stone of a valley. 

If you are more of a beach kind of person, here’s my top three beaches on the island. The three of them are all located in the eastern part of Ischia and they are actually very close, but they all deserve a visit: Carta Romana, Gardenia and Cocò Mare. A true Ischia experience.

What to see: don’t miss out on History and Culture

In my opinion, you can’t go to Ischia without visiting  Castello Aragonese. Sitting on top of a cliff, the castle dates back to the 5° century B.C.

The Aragonese castle from the sea
The Aragonese castle from the sea

Its long history is full of events that you can read here. After many years of being abandoned, the castle underwent a real rebirth from 1965, and since the end of the 1990s most of the Castle has been open to the public.

Nowadays the castle is managed by the Mattera family (who bought it in the early 20th century), and it’s a nest of cultural events. Past, present and future blend together in this magical, eternal place.

Castello Aragonese, one of the reasons why in Ischia you can live a real Italian experience.
Aragonese castel

Extra tip

Ever dreamt of sleeping in a castle? Well, in Ischia you can! Albergo Il Monastero is a newly renovated hotel housed within the walls of an old convent, built at the end of the 16th century, and dedicated to Santa Maria della Consolazione.

Enjoyed reading the article? I hope that with my tips you can enjoy a real Italian experience in Ischia soon 😉

And if you have visited Ischia already, let me know in the comments box below!

Andrea (a male name in Ischia too)

Andrea

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