Ischia, the largest island in the Gulf of Naples, has been renamed over the centuries as the “Green Island”, “Island of Youth” and “Island of the Sun God”: it is easy to understand the natural beauty and the great climatic qualities that make this island of volcanic origin a small natural paradise, lush and mild even in winter. From the inside to the coast, Ischia is a coffer full of treasures to discover: from the lush and colorful hills surrounded by greenery and their botanical gardens, to the historical monuments, to the unmissable beaches, the marine bays and the numerous spas.
The Aragonese castle, symbol of the island, was built by Gerone di Siracusa in 474 BC. and majestically overlooks the historic port; art lovers will certainly not want to miss a visit to the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the famous frescoes from the Giotto school are kept. For those wishing to stay overnight in the port, we recommend going to the marina of Casamicciola, one of the six municipalities of the island. However, if you prefer to spend a night at anchor, in good weather conditions and sheltered from the north-western breeze, we suggest Sant’Angelo, a quaint village located on the southern side of the island. The seabed in the bay is sandy, it is quite safe and there is also a small marina. During the coastal navigation, noteworthy are the inlets of Carta Romana and the Spiaggia degli Inglesi, west from the outer dock of the port, the Baia dei Maronti in Sant’Angelo, inside which there is a thermal beach and free access to the fumaroles, the bay of Sorgeto and the bay of San Francesco.
The ideal destination for a break in relaxation, away from mass tourism: Procida, the third largest in the Campanian Archipelago, has kept its traditional charm unchanged, with its colorful fishermen’s villages, the small island houses and its narrow lanes that cross the villages and the impressive natural scenery.
The island has three marinas: Marina Grande in the north, which welcomes visitors with the charm of its pastel-colored houses and the church of Santa Maria della Pietà near the docks. It is the ideal area to choose a souvenir or taste the typical dishes of the island’s gastronomic tradition. To the east is Marina di Corricella, with the fishing village that was the inspiration for the directors of the past; in the south, there is Marina di Chiaiolella, which welcomes boats of all kinds, with its suggestive dark sand beach.
The other beaches not to be missed along the coast are Lingua, Pozzo Vecchio and the bay of Chiaia, facing the beach of Ciraccio, along with the wonders offered by the islet of Vivara, a natural reserve with beautiful sea beds connected to Ischia by a bridge.
The main island of the group, Ponza, is only 8 km long and 2 km at its widest point. At the landing, the town offers a unique visual spectacle: a tangle of houses, with pastel-colored flat roofs, perched above a quay that runs through the harbor. A wonderful place to immerse yourself in the purest relaxation, distracting from the nightlife, the boutiques and the pressing luxury on the Amalfi Coast.
More than 40 km of coastline characterized by inlets, bays, beaches and underwater caves make it an invaluable destination for snorkelers. After the arrival at the enchanting tourist port it is possible to proceed on an excursion from Borgo Santa Maria to Le Forna, the highest and panoramic area on the sea level.
Land of Greeks and Romans, Ponza offers important archaeological legacies, such as the Roman necropolis, the imperial villas and the cisterns scattered everywhere, Cisterna Romana is among the most interesting to visit. The coasts of Ponza host incredible beauties: from the Scoglio della Tartaruga you can reach three natural pools, absolutely not to miss. Chiaia di Luna, reachable only by sea, is the most famous beach, along with the lively beach of Frontone and Bagno Vecchio. Along the coast there are enchanting coves: the caves of Pilate and the nearby Grotta di Ulisse, with the mysterious faraglioni that surround the area; Cala del Core and Capobianco, reachable only by sea, are the other marine wonders not to be missed during your stay in Ponza.
The most western and uninhabited of the Pontine islands: wild, reserved, untainted. Of a volcanic nature, Palmarola has seen over the years nature prevailing over mass tourism: few passable paths, surrounded by luxuriant nature including the dwarf palms, which give the island its name, facing the the calm, emerald green waters.
Along the north coast, the volcanic nature of the island manifests itself in the particular rock formations of this area and in the striking Cathedral, a majestic rock wall that rises from the depths of Cala Tramontana, surmounted by greenery and offering various gorges to explore on the sea level; the marine show continues to the south with Cala Brigantina, a splendid natural swimming pool surrounded by the Mediterranean vegetation.
In addition to the coastal beauty, Palmarola is characterized by a series of rocks and stacks that represent an ideal opportunity for bathing and diving: to the south, the ravines of Grotta del Mezzogiorno and the sea stack that hosts it; to the north the Galere rocks, a unique formation in the Mediterranean due to the presence of obsidian along the rocks. If the underwater world here offers endless opportunities, Palmarola boasts few choices for trekking: despite the heights, only the path that goes from Cala dei Vricci to the port remains passable, to give a breathtaking view from its lookout.
On the border between Lazio and Campania, Ventotene is a quarter of the size of Ponza and is more suitable for a break in absolute relaxation, or for a weekend to spend between snorkeling and diving in its emerald bays. The island, in fact, has become over the years famous for its pristine marine reserves, becoming one of the most renowned underwater parks in Italy.
Rich in buildings and sites dating back to the era of the Roman Empire, Ventotene contains centuries of history and unspoiled landscapes, a true paradise not only for the immersionists, but for lovers of the sea and excursions in general.
Immediately recognizable by the colorful and emblematic Porto Romano – a perfect example of classical architecture with a basin dug into the tuff and the original barrels that held Roman ships still at anchor –
the island is home to other historical artifacts, such as the Roman Cisterns and the majestic Villa Giulia, and boasts several bathing spots that are part of the protected marine area: Cala Rossano, Cala Nave, Parata Grande and Parata della Postina are the creeks not to be missed.
A stone’s throw from the island there is another pearl, even more hidden and uncontaminated: Santo Stefano. Completely uninhabited, the small island has only one building, the ancient Bourbon prison that dominates the landscape.