The region of Campania in Italy has some of the most dramatic, stunning, and picturesque landscapes in Italy. The ever-popular, tourist destinations of the Amalfi coast, Positano, Salerno, and Capri, often come to mind with their dramatic coastlines, rugged cliffs that hang perilously over the Tyrrhenian Sea, enticing Gulf waters, ancient architecture, history, and the shadow of Mount Vesuvius as its backdrop.
With the city of Naples as its capital, the warm waters of the Gulf of Naples merge into the intense, blue waters of the sea, and form what is known as the Campanian Archipelago: Five islands that beg visitors to come, visit, stay for a spell, and immerse one's self in the myth, magic and mystery each invokes. The five islands of Ischia, Capri, Procida, Vivara, and Nisida, as told by Visit Italy, are known as the "jewels of the Mediterranean," and its largest island — Ischia — provides residents and visitors alike with a taste of authentic Italy at its best.
According to Ischia Review, the intriguing history of the island of Ischia can be dated back to prehistoric times and was originally founded by the Greeks around 770 B.C. Approximately 438 years later, the island was taken over by the Romans, soon finding itself in the changing hands of many conquerors and dynasties throughout the centuries.
Having suffered a devastating earthquake in 1228, followed by the eruption of a volcanic crater that formed atop Mount Epomeo in 1300, Ischia lay as a barren island for many years — due to continuous eruptions — before islanders began reappearing and making the island their home once more. It was the vision of one man in the 1950s that brought this fascinating island to the forefront, paving the way for the modern-day Ischia known today.
Ischia's abundance of natural, thermal springs can also be dated back to prehistoric times, according to Visit Ischia. With 103 thermal springs spread across the island, as reported by Napoli Unplugged, their history and therapeutic qualities are equally fascinating as the history of the island itself.
Surrounded by stunning beaches, and immense greenery, the exceptional transformation of this island from ancient times to now has not taken Ischia's rustic characteristics away. Its six towns, with dozens of colorful villages and hamlets, narrow streets, and floral landscapes dispersed throughout, accentuate an Italy long treasured, providing an old-world charm to this island that captivates all who live there and visit — rivaling Ischia's longtime, neighboring and overcrowded island of Capri, according to Condé Nast Traveller.
And, as CNN described it best, Ischia's close proximity to Naples, and its good fortune being surrounded by the Mediterranean sea, provide this magical island with some of the most authentic Neopolitan food and delectable seafood cuisine one can find.
From vineyards to ancient castles to the mythical grottos that can be found hidden amongst the magnificent, rugged cliffs framing Ischia, this volcanic island provides a treasure trove of endless magic and beauty to behold. Should you find yourself on the largest island within the Campanian Archipelago, for the weekend or even longer, make your way to the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso in the town of Forio. Perched high atop a promontory overlooking the vast sea, its position offers visitors the most memorable and incredible sunsets you'll ever experience in your lifetime. The island of Ischia will indeed captivate you, and its timeless charm will leave you breathless and mesmerized.