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Hot sands and fresh air at Angelo d'Ischia

by Ventrix last modified 2008-06-20 15:10

Peace and quiet is just a boat trip from Naples in the charming little island of Ischia

Angelo d’Ischia Sant’Angelo d’Ischia is a small fishing village on the picturesque island of Ischia. Up until a few years ago the only transport on the island were the donkeys that carried people and their wares up and down the hills. Now the donkeys have been replaced by dinky little electric cars that leave the unspoilt air of the island as fresh and clean as it ever was. Sant'Angelo is a sleepy little town. The quiet is such when you first arrive that you think you've stepped into an old-fashioned sanatorium and your immediate reaction is to speak in hushed tones. The lack of cars and mopeds comes as quite a shock if you've just arrived from Naples and the silence is hard to leave behind when you head back to the mainland. Don't be fooled, the peace and quiet that reigns supreme during the day disappears during the summer evenings when the streets come to life with holiday-makers making their way back from a day's sunbathing at the beach.

For a wonderful view over the rooftops of Sant'Angelo and some sense of day-to-day life in the town go up to the church dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Michael the Archangel (chiesa dell'Assunta e San Michele Arcangelo) and walk down towards the port. The views over the headland are stunning and in the evening you can make out the lights of Capri twinkling in the distance.

Angelo d’Ischia Walks
A pleasant walk takes you from the Church of the Assumption towards Maronti Beach, which is gradually disappearing through erosion. On your way you'll pass a small stretch of sand - spiaggia delle fumarole - which is famous for its boiling sands. Indeed the sand on part of the beach can reach temperatures ranging from 30 to 100°C and is usually cordoned off to stop people from unwittingly burning themselves. And don't be surprised if you see islanders burying eggs and chickens in the sand to cook them.
If you keep on walking you'll end up in a gully which is known for its hot-water springs. There's no excuse at this stage from taking a dip in the warmth of 30°C. Hungry? Next stop is the Pietro Paolo restaurant which, nestling in a big limestone cave, has an appetising menu. We recommend the chilled white wine served with peach slices, spaghetti with clams, and piping hot zeppole made to order. After lunch our walk takes us to Cavascura thermal baths, the oldest on the island and specialised in skin treatments. And, if you've still got the energy after your sojourn at the baths, it's on to Maronti beach.

Despite its size Sant’Angelo has a relatively wide choice of restaurants - naturally specialising in fish. Il Pescatore restaurant is in the main square, specialities are fish soup and Antipasto del Pescatore, the latter includes a huge selection of fish, all to be followed by the mouth-watering desserts, but be warned as it tends to be pricey. Lo scoglio is on your way into the town. It's easy to pass so look out for a gate followed by a flight of stone steps. They'll lead you up to the restaurant. Inside there are spectacular views over the sea and the cliff from which it takes its name. It's quite small and the food is good, especially the spaghetti with clams and the fried seafood platter, so book in advance. Fancy a pizza? You can't go wrong at Pasquale's (it's well signposted) with its long shiny tables. As well as pizzas you can choose salad, bruschetta, roast chicken and, if you're lucky, coniglio all'ischitiana (rabbit cooked on the island's traditional style). Then end your meal with a glass (or two) of limoncello.

There's plenty of accommodation on the island but we recommend you spend the night at Villa Sirena, a charming pensione near the church at the top of the town. It's small but the breakfasts are huge and there's a swimming pool. An oasis of peace and tranquillity, just like Sant’Angelo itself.

Sant'Angelo - - The history of the town (Italian only)
Thermal baths - - Information and prices for a range of thermal treatments
Ischia online - - All about Ischia
Travelling to Ischia - - National Geographer's hints on travelling to and staying in Ischia

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