Ischia is the largest island in the Bay of Naples and is also yet another gem of the Italian coast. The island was settled in the 8th century and boasts a wealth of history and culture while feeling far away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. The island’s idyllic scenery is the perfect setting for a romantic getaway with your loved one.

    A seductive location teeming with thermal baths, spectacular beaches and a wealth of dramatic historical sites, Ischia feels like you’ve unearthed your own slice of paradise. Find inner peace as you meander exotic tropical gardens or let your feet guide you through pedestrianised villages by the sea. Connect with locals through a love of food and wine and treat yourself to a little pampering. All of this is possible on the romantic island of Ischia.

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    Lacco Ameno

    Explore the surroundings before settling onto the beach

    Lacco Ameno is a beautiful area of Ischia and is believed to be one of the first Greek settlements in Italy. The area has a rich history with a number of necropolises discovered in the surrounding region. Lacco Ameno is the smallest of Ischia’s 6 towns, but also the prettiest. Nestled between hillsides are several beaches and a small bay, all of which are great for having a relaxing dip in the shallow waters.

    As you make your way down to the seafront, explore the picturesque marina that hosts from small fishing boats to mega yachts. Continue to San Montano, the most popular beach with a naturally enclosed bay. Il Fungo Beach is also worth a visit, named after the mushroom-shaped rock just in front of it.

    Location: Lacco Ameno, 80076 Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

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    2

    Negombo Spa

    Unwind with therapeutic treatments

    While you’re exploring the Lacco Ameno region of Ischia, schedule in time to unwind at the beautiful spas of Negombo thermal gardens. Is there anything more romantic than taking a long relaxing break at a spa with your loved one? Surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the sea, more than a dozen pools provide a mix of sunny and shaded areas to soak.

    With temperatures ranging from 24°C to 36°C, there’s no better way to slip into holiday mode. If sitting still has you getting itchy feet, head to the Japanese Labyrinth Bath, which has 2 channels at different temperatures designed to improve circulation when you move between them. Of course, you can always indulge in a little R&R with the brilliant selection of spa treatments available, from hot stone and 4-hand massages to heliotherapy, manicures and facials.

    Location: Baia di, Via S. Montano, 80076 Lacco Ameno NA, Italy

    Open: Mid-April–early October: daily 8.30 am to 7 pm

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    3

    La Mortella Gardens

    Stroll around the beautiful scenery

    A wander around the magnificent La Mortella Gardens (or Giardini la Mortella) will leave you feeling reinvigorated thanks to the beauty of its lush and tranquil surroundings. Divided into 2 parts, the Valley in the lower gardens and the Hill in the upper, you can explore the flora through a network of walks and paths. From the upper gardens, visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the Bay of Forio.

    Exotic plant life from across the globe decorates these lavish gardens. Those looking for some peace and quiet can head to the tranquillity of the Thai House for quiet meditation surrounded by the Orient-inspired garden. With fountains, ponds and tropical greenhouses spread over 2 hectares, there’s no shortage of peaceful places to explore at La Mortella Gardens.

    Location: Via Francesco Calise, 45 - 80075, Forio NA, Italy

    Open: Tuesdays and Thursday–Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm (closed Mondays and Wednesdays)

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    photo by Abxbay (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Capri

    Island of the rich and famous with sensational views

    While Capri is a worthwhile destination on its own, you can also enjoy the beautiful little island as a day trip from Ischia. It's defined by its rugged landscape and is famed for being a hotspot among the rich and famous, boasting upscale hotels and designer shopping. Explore the playground of the Hollywood hotlist with a tour that explores the shores around the island, including its beautiful grottos and bays with sensational aquamarine waters.

    As you head on land, don’t miss the opportunity to wander the quieter residential streets of Anacapri and take the chairlift up to Monte Solara. For the most romantic of occasions, head out for a sunset cruise and sip on bubbles as the sun slips over the horizon.

    Location: 80076 Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

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    5

    Spiaggia di Citara

    Soak in the volcanic hot springs

    The volcanic island of Ischia has no shortage of thermal activity, making it a hive of hot springs and thermal baths to soak tired bones in. On the west side of the island lies the beautiful beach of Spiaggia di Citara. Here you’ll find a blend of tropical and subtropical vegetation that breaks to expose an expanse of sparkling sea and the Pontine Islands in the distance.

    Settle into a small seaside bar and enjoy one of the many exceptional sunsets the view affords guests after a day by the beach. The area is also deeply entrenched in the myths of the island. The thermal activity is said to be fed by the tears of the goddesses Venus and Aphrodite who cried for their love of Adonis.

    Location: Via Giovanni Mazzella, 87, 80075 Forio, Ischia NA, Italy

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    photo by Lepo55 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Sant’ Angelo

    Soak up the village atmosphere

    Sant’ Angelo is a quaint fishing village on the southern coast of Ischia that gives Lacco Ameno a run for its money when it comes to beauty. Adding to the town’s charm is the fact that it's free of cars and can be reached exclusively on foot or by boat, giving a sense of seclusion. Surrounded by 2 bays a small strip of sand brings the 2 parts of the town together by the sea.

    Enchanting by nature, the streets are lined with pastel and white-washed buildings, many of which are still typical fisherman’s houses. Following the coastline, there's a series of beaches and coves that are great for swimming. A trip to Sant’ Angelo isn’t complete without winding your way up to the hilltop houses and enjoying the panoramic views across to Maronti Beach and Capri.

    Location: Via Nazario Sauro, 21, 26866 Sant'Angelo, Serrara Fontana NA, Italy

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    7

    Ristorante Pietratorcia Panza

    Tour the A-list winery

    If you want to treat your tastebuds to some of the finest locally produced wine then Ristorante Pietratorcia Panza and the vineyard of the same name offer one of the best places to do it. Take a tour of the old stone cellars set among wild lemon and fig trees, rosemary bushes and marjoram seedlings. As you explore the terraces at the height of the Fosso dei Conigli, views stretch out over the sea.

    Of course, you came here to taste the wine, not just look at it. Take a tasting on the pergola overlooking fruit trees as you enjoy wine produced on-site, accompanied by locally grown produce including Ischian cured meats and cheeses. You can also enjoy lunch or dinner at the restaurant, which offers traditionally cooked Italian dishes including rabbit, fresh fish and pasta.

    Location: Via Provinciale Panza, 267, 80075 Forio NA, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 90 72 32

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    8

    Cook like a local

    Try a private cooking class

    If bonding over culinary experiences tickles your fancy, try learning the secrets of how to make your next home-cooked Italian meal taste as good as Nonna’s. A private cooking class held at your villa or in a local restaurant will aim to have you becoming a master chef in no time. Whether you’re looking to master the perfect pizza base or a traditional pasta sauce, a 1-to-1 session with a local should get you on your way.

    Local chefs will explain and source local ingredients for the freshest and tastiest recipes, as well as take you through the key techniques to prepare the meal. This is the perfect way to learn a new skill while connecting with local families and the community for an intimate experience. The Italian hospitality is just another reason to love this country full of great food, history, culture and excellent landscapes.

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    Church of Soccorso

    Watch the sunset over the sea

    Perched on a peak in the west of Ischia, the Church of Soccorso (or Chiesa del Soccorso) is the ideal place to end your day. Atmospheric at the best of times, with the sea below and set against the backdrop of Ischia’s mountains, sunset really ignites the beauty of this corner of the island. The white church features unusual architecture that's a fusion of many periodic styles including Byzantine, Moorish and Mediterranean.

    Explore the arced staircase that approaches the church, dressed in 19th-century ceramics leading to a 17th-century stone doorway. While the church is not as magnificent as others across Italy, there's no doubt that the location more than makes up for it. Bask in the golden light as the day draws to a close before wanding to one of the restaurants in nearby Forio.

    Location: Via del Soccorso, 80075 Forio NA, Italy

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    10

    Monte Epomeo

    Lunch with a view

    Climbing Monte Epomeo is almost certainly obligatory, especially if completing a physical challenge is a tantalising prospect for you and your partner. The highest peak on Ischia rises almost 800 metres high. You'll be surrounded by lush mountainside greenery and beautiful vineyards as you make the journey to the top. Reaching the rocky summit will afford you brilliant views over Capri, Procida and the Gulf of Naples.

    To reward your efforts, stop and enjoy a meal overlooking Ischia from La Grotta da Fiore. Dug into the mountain, the restaurant boasts one of the most incredible pieces of real estate on the island. Refuel and catch your breath with fresh tomato bruschetta, or treat yourself to a decadent dessert to replace all those calories you burnt on the way up.

    Location: Via Epomeo, 21, 80070 Serrara Fontana NA, Italy

    Open: February–November: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm (closed December–January)

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    Kiri Nowak | Contributing Writer

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