Written by Missy Johnston
Board in Naples and settle to travel over to Ischia. Ischia is a unique volcanic island with many different thermal springs and is an island with a newly burgeoning boutique wine industry producing excellent wines from grapes grown in the volcanic soil. There are many local highlights tucked away on this island. Deep underneath Ischia, the volcano is still active, and is sending to the island’s surface, hot thermal waters in springs and geysers laden with various minerals. A mineral laden volcanic mud is also found on Ischia, and used in spa treatments. Don’t miss the historic Regina Isabella Hotel and extensive Thermal Spa, which offers many different spa treatments.
Negomba Spa Pool, Ischia, Photo Credit Missy Johnston
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.
Castello Aragonese, Ischia
From there, head to Capri, which overlooks the stunning Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Capri has always been one of the favorite resting places for the privileged. Once home to the Roman Emperor Tiberius, Capri now serves as the perfect getaway in which to experience Italy’s natural, scenic beauty. The extraordinary beauty of Capri, with the Blue Grotto, the charming landscape, and the views of Anacapri, makes this an interesting port. While Capri has some Roman ruins and a monastery, the following places are also worth a visit if time permits: Certosa of San Giacomo (XIV century), Palazzo Cerio (XV century), and the Villa of San Michele in Anacapri, known for its’ marvelous garden.
Capri has two levels. There is a walking and shopping area right around the marina. However, the main town, on top of Capri, is accessible by funicular and is lovely with its’ upscale, tiny shops and many street cafes. You might want to take the funicular up to the main town before or after dinner, wander the streets and shops, and stop for refreshment at an outdoor café in one of the little piazzas as you watch Capri life go by.
Main Town top of Capri
Capri Island Harbor
Enjoy Capri, perhaps shopping in the many chic shops or visiting the Blue Grotto on the back side of the island. Whatever you choose to do, there is plenty to do and see on the sunny island of Capri.
Few places in the world can boast such a high concentration of designer shops as on the island of Capri. As you make your way along Via Camerelle, in the 100 meters which separate the Grand Hotel Quisisana from Via Tragara, you’ll come across every one of the biggest names in fashion. If you’d rather buy something which has been made on the island, there are plenty of little artisan shops. Perhaps you would like a pair of handmade sandals. Have your feet measured in a sandal shop, and choose your strap style and in one hour your custom made sandals will be ready. Jackie Kennedy was said to have once had her favorite shop open exclusively for her and spent the whole night trying out the various models. Artisan made perfume for your very own scent is also available on Capri.
Depart early AM for a 20 mile cruise to Amalfi, one of Italy’s most romantic villages, which clings to the dramatic slopes of the ruggedly beautiful Amalfi Coast. Visit Amalfi town and the very famous Cathedral with crypt. Take a taxi up and have lunch in Ravello village, with its spectacular views of the coast and magnificent villas.
View from Villa Rufolo
Ravello sits on a rocky spur astride the Dragon’s and Reginna’s Valleys. It is situated in a more elevated position than the other pearls of the Amalfi Coast and boasts exceptional landscapes and is a real photo opportunity. The writer Andre Gide insists “Ravello is nearer to the sky than it is to the shore”, and this small, beautiful village has attracted many famous people over the centuries. The first one to be astonished by such beauty was the writer Giovanni Boccaccio who quotes it in his Decameron. That was in 1350 and since then countless other artists, writers and celebrities have been enchanted by Ravello. Sites to visit include the cathedral of St Pantaleone, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. Hike down the steep trail of steps from Ravelo to Amalfi to rejoin your yacht or take a taxi back down the mountain to the coast. Overnight Amalfi.
Cruise to Positano, which is built around a small curving bay on a steep hill overlooking the island of the Sirens. Once a sleepy fishing village, Positano is one of the most picturesque towns on the Amalfi coast. The typical Moorish style houses are lined up along the slopes facing the sea. Steep steps, narrow lanes, courtyards and gardens furnish the rest of the town. Enjoy this area and wander the many little shopping alleyways. Or perhaps venture to Vietri Sul Mer, further east on the Sorrento Peninsula, the hand painted pottery capital of Italy. Perhaps drive into the heart of Vietri Sul Mer in a taxi where there is a pottery shop on every corner, and in-between. Often the artisans are actually painting in the shop, and you can ask for custom painted pottery, or purchase pottery in the same pattern as you have watched being hand painted. At about 10:00pm, leave for the overnight cruise to Stromboli, arriving mid-morning the next day.
Eruption of Volcano on Stromboli
Cruise from Lipari to Stromboli, the northernmost island of the archipelago and the most spectacular for its continuously active volcano, dubbed ‘the lighthouse of the Mediterranean’ from ancient times to the present. To hike up the volcano for a view from the “Sciara del Fuoco”, allow three hours for the climb up and two for the descent. For sustenance for the hike, pick up some local pizza cooked by the natural heat of the volcano. Stromboli is also a great place for experienced divers but not recommended for beginners. Return to the yacht for dinner on deck anchored under the natural fireworks of Stromboli. Overnight if weather allows. If not, cruise to Panerea.
Panerea is tiny compared to the other islands but picturesque with its stark white houses and brilliant yellow genestra bushes. Panerea is the most-chic of the Aeolian Islands and attracts a more jet set crowd than the other islands. On shore, visit the thermal springs near the village of Punta di Peppe e Maria, and offshore, swim to the shipwreck between the rocks of Lisca Bianca and Bottaro. In the evening, spend time out on the town, mingling with the jet-set party crowd. Overnight.
Streets of Lipari Town
Start the day with a walk around the old town on this main island of the archipelago. Lipari is the largest island and offers a wide selection of shops and restaurants. Visit the excellent Aeolian Museum, which exhibits archaeological exhibits from prehistory to Norman times, for in Ancient Times, this little island group was more heavily populated than today. Later, hike to the top of Mount Sant’Angelo for a breathtaking view. Return to the yacht for a late swim and cocktails on the aft deck.
After a leisurely breakfast, it’s a quick trip to the Island of Vulcano. According to mythology, this island was the workplace of Hepheastus, god of fire and blacksmiths. Vulcano, dominated by an active crater, offers mud pools and hot mineral springs bubbling up from the seabed, allowing bathers to select their ideal sea temperature by moving to and from the numerous springs. This is an ideal area in which to dive or snorkel as the waters team with rainbow fish and anemones.
In the early am cruise back to Palermo to disembark.