Ischia, Italy

Sant'Angelo d'Ischia


Sant'Angelo is a splendid fishing village, perhaps the most beautiful on the island. It can be reached exclusively on foot; which contributes significantly to preserving this place, which seems to have remained unspoilt as it used to be, with the sea life being lived on the narrow jetty. It is in an enchanting position, between two bays formed by a spit of sand.

The houses are still typical fishermen's houses, which seem to fit into one another, in the typical whitewash of Mediterranean villages, separated only by winding narrow streets. In piazzetta Trofa the houses close into a circle giving life to the centre of the bay.

But at night time the life of the fishermen gives way to the club and bar life, while the harbour becomes the mooring point for luxurious boats and the bay is transformed into the most fashionable and exclusive place on the island.

Today this is a particularly sought-after destination for tourists, many of whom stay permanently on the island. For the laziest the beauty spots of the island can be admired from the picturesque "microtaxis", three-wheeled vehicles fitted out for sightseeing tours. The traditional houses left intact are very few and are closed in by building speculation, but the few remaining ones still have features related to the occupation of the inhabitants: those inland are linked to agriculture, while those on the coast are linked to fishing.

The typical houses are built in stone or carved in the rock (tuff), like those on mount Epomèo, with the roofs made, to make them lighter, in a material obtained by striking lava stone with large sticks. When the building of a house, which involved all the neighbours, was finished, a big celebration was organised with music, dancing, singing and plenty of food. Continuous destruction by earthquakes has however given the island its present appearance, with baroque and liberty style buildings alongside rural houses.

The Mortella is the splendid garden created by the wife of the English composer William Walton. As well as offering cool shelter to travellers, it offers the maximum relaxation among plants from every corner of the planet in a variety of settings, including also a zen garden. The gardens are completely devoid of architectural barriers and host countless concerts and cultural events.

The sea around the island is a spectacle of colours and underwater life and is soon to become a protected marine area, named the "Kingdom of Neptune". From seaweeds to dolphins to coral, everything contributes to making the seabed an underwater paradise.

Particularly picturesque is the landscape that can be enjoyed form the Forio Point, where the sunset creates a unique, inexplicable optical illusion, a green light on the horizon, and where the women of the island used to wait for their husbands who had gone to sea, praying that they might appear soon on the horizon.

The taxi boats that can be hired on the island enable you to discover mysterious, interesting places, like the stretch of beach where the sand becomes as hot as 100°C, due to a strange phenomenon!

The beauty of the island was immortalised in Cleopatra, filmed at an enormous cost on Ischia, which was also the beginning of the love affair between Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.