Ischia - the treasure of Naples
As a travel photographer, I've heard mixed reviews about Naples - it's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of place. Unfortunately, I fell into the latter category. After taking some dreamy shots at a wedding in Amalfi, Positano, and Maiori, I arrived in Naples to find a city filled with military vehicles, armed soldiers, homeless people, rundown buildings, and littered streets. It was quite the contrast to the idyllic scenes I had just experienced. However, Naples wasn't my primary destination - I was on my way to the beautiful island of Procida, just a 30-minute ferry ride away. Once I arrived, I spent my time capturing stunning images for my book and avoided Naples as much as possible.
During that trip, I discovered Ischia, another gorgeous island in the area that's immensely popular with Italians. So, a year later, I returned with my wife and two kids to explore this mysterious destination. We opted to travel by local bus, which, despite being overcrowded, turned out to be a fun and quirky experience. On one of our bus rides, we even had the pleasure of hearing an Italian man sing opera.
Ischia is a primarily Italian resort island with fewer foreign tourists. The island is absolutely stunning and can easily occupy visitors for three to four days. The bus system is convenient, and a day ticket covers all routes. There are plenty of boat tours, castles, and other interesting locations to explore, such as a stone mushroom formed by the waves. We loved our time in Ischia, but probably won't return, simply because there are so many other places to explore.
Interesting fact: Ischia is the largest island in the Bay of Naples and is volcanic in origin. It has a long and fascinating history, with evidence of human settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. In fact, the island was a favourite destination of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who visited it for its thermal springs and healing waters. Today, visitors can still enjoy the island's thermal baths and natural hot springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties.
If you appreciate Naples and its surroundings and enjoy boat rides, Italian beach life, and vintage Italian views, Ischia is one of the best-preserved destinations you'll ever encounter.
P.S. But be warned - leave your car in Naples, as we didn't encounter a single one without significant scratches.