Ischia Island, Naples Bay Islands, Italy
Written by Missy Johnston
Ischia Island, in the Naples Bay area of Italy. is a unique volcanic island with many different thermal springs. It also has a newly burgeoning boutique wine industry that is producing excellent wines from grapes grown in the island volcanic soil. There are many local highlights tucked away on this island that should be added to every crewed yacht charter itinerary with at least an overnight stop in Ischia to enjoy all that this island has to offer.
Deep underneath Ischia, the volcano is still active, and is sending to the island’s surface hot thermal waters via springs and geysers, which contain a different collection of minerals. A mineral-laden volcanic mud is also found on Ischia and used in spa treatments. Considerable scientific research has been done in Ischia over the years to isolate the mineral qualities of each thermal spring and the different volcanic muds for the possible health benefits that the various waters and muds might provide. Visitors today still come to Ischia to partake in the what are felt to be the healthy benefits of various of the different hot springs and mud.
Don’t miss the historic Regina Isabella Hotel and extensive Thermal Spa. Once the hideaway for famous movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor, La Terme della Regina Isabella continues to offer high level medicinal and relaxation spa services for an afternoon of rejuvenation. And of course, there are pools of thermal waters for bathing, and baths of volcanic mud filled with minerals in which to soak. Your Captain can provide you a list of spa treatments available in advance and help make spa appointments.
Unique to Ischia are “Spa Gardens”, where thermal pools of various temperatures and mineral content are spread throughout a park-like setting. Nogombo Spa Garden has sculpture gardens interspersed among mini thermal pools and springs, with all on the property designed to cascade down a hillside, providing beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. At the bottom of the hillside, is the park beach for a refreshing salt water dip in the Mediterranean Sea after experiencing the various thermal pools.
Towards cocktail time, head to a local boutique winery. Ischia is steadily gaining worldwide recognition for the quality of the wines being produced due, the locals say, to the volcanic soil and the extraordinary mineral content of ground water fed from springs.
Don’t miss exploring the Castello Argonese. Once a separate rock from the island, over many centuries, the rock causeway was built to permanently connect the rock with the island of Ischia. Inhabited for many millennium, Castello Argonese flourished from the 1500’s to the 1800’s, when over 2000 families lived inside the castle walls for protection against pirate attacks. The Castello is open to be visited today.
What to enjoy of Ischia Island, a Naples Bay Island, Italy
Negombo Spa Garden: Portions of the park can be reserved, if organized in advance, for your group only, for an afternoon of private bathing and relaxation in the various thermal pools. Relax beside a steaming thermal pool and enjoy fresh shucked raw oysters and champagne, while enjoying a view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Vigne di Chignole: An Ischia boutique winery, enjoys having visitors. With an advance call the winery provides a tour of the ancient winery operation, with the same equipment still in use after many centuries, along with a sample the wines with a selection of tidbits, designed to accompany each vintage. Dinner reservations can also be made by your Captain to enjoy local fresh foods, paired with the boutique wines on the winery piazza under the stars.
Castello Argonese: Remaining interior buildings within the castle walls include a convent, monastery, and numerous churches. There are also several interesting museums. Entrance is via a tunnel and after a small entrance fee is paid, the castle can be explored in around 2 hours on one’s own, by joining a pre-set tour, or having a private tour guide. There are several cafes inside for a cool drink and a bookshop.
Giardini La Mortella: These Beautiful Mediterranean gardens, displaying Mediterranean and tropical flora and fauna were developed by Susana Walton, the Argentinian wife of the British composer Sir William Walton. Open from April to October, however not every day. Call before heading in that direction to make sure the gardens are open.
Spas: There are a variety of spa’s, thermal swimming pools, mud bath locations, all touting various healing options. However, the most famous is Regina Isabella Hotel and Thermal Spa, “La Terme della Regina Isabella”. This Spa offers many different healing and medicinal treatments, along with treatments for relaxation and rejuvenation. Reservations are required, and some treatments must be authorized on the on-site doctor.
Ischia offers so much to see and do, so spend time here and indulge in a mineral water Spa treatment and taste the local Ischia wines produced from grapes grown in the volcanic soil, after touring the historic countryside on this island, and exploring the Castello Aragonese.