Hello Gorgeous – Visit San Montano Resort & Spa in Ischia, Italy

This is a view of the two-floor suites, which are themed to look like the inside of a ship and include private terraces and pool sections.

San Montano Resort & Spa in Ischia, a small island off the coast of Naples in Italy, is a truly rich experience. During a visit, you’re likely to find rich, young beauties lounging in the thermal pool, rich, little kids swimming, older statesman in the lobby with thick salt-and-pepper locks, and elder ladies who lunch and are never seen without makeup and high heels. They are the folks of Gatsby, of a bygone era that we’ve never seen in real life.

Un Pesce Out of Water

One can see more of the resort and the surrounding town of Lacco Ameno from outside the lobby.

Of course, I will never feel entirely comfortable in such a place. After all, mine are peasant people from the other side of Ischia, many of whom I watched executing construction and landscaping projects while I was poolside. I almost picked up the trowel to join them. I didn’t do it, but I felt obliged to explain from whence I came. It was as though this was a case of mistaken identity. My husband, on the other hand, is regal, knows it, and doesn’t care what anybody thinks when he’s getting his spa on. I love that about him, and it’s probably why we were celebrating 10 years of marriage.

Entrance to Paradise

The entrance to the resort is modern but also nods to nature with flower beds and well-manicured grass, which is not often found in Ischia. The island is known for lush vegetation but does not have real grass in many parts.

Surely, a stay at San Montano Resort & Spa comes with a hefty price tag. I’m thankful that I have no idea how much it cost. If I did, I might have divorced my husband. After all, he surprised our son and me with a one-night stay in 2018 to honor our 10th wedding anniversary. The point is that normally I would never allow for such a fancy, expensive experience. But it is a bucket list type of stay. And it was mad awesome.

Home Suite Home

I couldn’t help but meditate on our private terrace when I woke up in the morning. It was not a dream, after all. It was real.

We didn’t just get any old room at the resort either. My husband splurged for the two-floor suite with a private pool and terrace. What takes your breath away, however, is the splendid view of San Montano Bay. If God could bottle and sell tranquility, the air and scenery from this room would be in it.

Unforgettable Sensory Experience

The long, thermal pool stretches from one end of the suites to the other. Each suite has its own pool, thanks to silver poles that section it off. If one room turns on the massage feature, everyone gets a massage. The 9- and 10-year-old kids, who were skinny dipping next door, made our 7-year-old son blush. He still talks about the crazy naked kids. In other words, it’s not totally private. But it’s close enough for this peasant.

The salty hot water of the thermal pools touching my skin and the plush towels for drying off set the tone for the day in paradise. Taking a deep breath and indulging in silence, I noticed a butterfly that put on a show just for me amid a bed of golden flowers. My son frolicked nearby. I never knew he could do that, but he can. He ran his fingers through the blades of manicured grass, a rare find in Ischia. Then, he lounged under a tree and told me how lovely he found everything. The refined language of my 7-year-old had me feeling as though I had stepped into a classic novel the likes of which Jane Austen never read.

Our Little Prince

Even if you are not in a suite, you have access to numerous thermal pools located throughout the resort.

Although I felt the need to shush him more than a few times, he was elegant and sophisticated. It kind of bothered me. He’s just a little boy. He’s little for such a short time, and we accelerated his growth in but a day. But, heck, it was just for a little while. And he too would never forget the experience of being a prince.

Beauty and Grace

That mushroom rising from the sea is synonymous with the town of Lacco Ameno in Ischia, Italy, where the resort is located.

Like many of my adventures in Ischia, this one frequently reminded me that I come from a place of magnificent beauty. Everywhere you turned, you looked out on a view that was prettier than the one before. There was the “Fungo,” a rock jutting out of the sea that looks like a mushroom and is the symbol of the town of Lacco Ameno. Pastel houses dotting the countryside and following the curves of the road sat beneath another thermal pool. And a lush landscape towering over the emerald sea with blue beach umbrellas lined up in front of it served as the “bella vista” or beautiful view.

The One Perfect Night

The view of San Montano Bay, which was just outside the doors of our suite, was nothing short of breathtaking.

So much of the experience was aspirational. It made you feel rich but not because you could afford to stay there. Instead, you felt a certain power that comes from being in possession of peace, even if just momentarily. Indeed, it was fleeting. The clock was always ticking down on our luxury. It was, after all, just one night. I had deadlines and laundry and ironing to tend to back at home.

Sunrise, Sunset

No words are sufficient enough to adequately describe the scene at sunset.

Nonetheless, witnessing the sun sink into the sea while turning the sky all shades of pink, as my son played pirate in the background, will stay with me forever. Family is our gift to each other. Nature is God’s gift to us. Truly, there are no greater gifts to cherish on any occasion but especially an anniversary of love. San Montano Resort & Spa was a chance to bathe in the light and hide from the darkness. Don’t we all need that every now and then?

More Beauties from the Resort

Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press, 2012). She also has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.

Welcome to the New Italian Mamma

Italian Mamma has been away for a bit. My apologies. But I was busy ghostwriting and working for others. In the meantime, I also had many exciting experiences, including staying at a luxurious resort in my family’s native Ischia, Italy, visiting LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, celebrating my 40th birthday at Alstede Farms, and discovering Eataly in Manhattan. Finally, I’m ready to share it all with you my dear readers.

Also, I’m in the process of beefing up my offerings, becoming more accessible on social media (even Instagram – yes, I’m a late bloomer!), and just making the site way cooler. Hope you stick with me for this ride. A dopo!

Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press, 2012). She also has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.

3 Things Moms Should Do for Themselves Right Now

Moms do everything for everyone. We pack the lunches, wash the floor, stay up with sick kids, walk the dog, and check email. That is just in the first hour we are awake.

Whether we work in the home or outside, we usually sacrifice parts of ourselves for the greater good of the family (not to mention society). Then, we rarely get the credit we deserve. It’s maddening. Sometimes, we give up so much that we wake up one morning and don’t recognize the person in the mirror. This self-neglect can have grave consequences.

We can put an end to this vicious cycle here and now. It’s a new year and you can be a new you. So, moms, let’s take back our lives. Discover how:

Take a 30-Minute Break

Many publications have told me to get 5 minutes for myself every day. Hello! I need more than 5 minutes just to take a few deep breaths. Just about everyone – even super moms – can grab 30 minutes per day. You might have to wake up early or go to bed later. But it’s so worth it. Take a bath or watch a TV show you like. Or read. Yes, you could actually read a book, even one that has no pictures and does not end with the mommy elephant kissing the baby elephant.

These moments for mom are a treasure. They keep us sane. I have read The New York Times, baked cookies, and written in this here blog with my 30 minutes. By the way, those times, when you feel the need to lock yourself in the bathroom and dip into your secret chocolate stash, do not count.

Focus on Health and Hygiene

Let me explain. You probably don’t smell. And you might even exercise regularly and take vitamins. But many moms I know – myself included – spend more time worrying about the kids and their spouse getting to the doctor for regular check ups. Mom is the one who ensures all the children regularly take baths, brush their teeth, and cut their fingernails. No one stresses more than mom, and stress can be a killer, literally.

As a result of focusing on these other folks, mom puts off her own check ups and hygiene. My nails often get cut after they start breaking. I put off dental exams because it was expensive and my son’s teeth took precedent. And I schedule my check ups last, which means I don’t always go when I am supposed to do. It was kind of a big deal that I put off a mammogram recently, and I’ve vowed to never do it again.

After all, if something happens to mom, the whole place will fall apart. Taking care of your own health is taking care of your kids, too. Trust me. So, make your doctor’s appointments and care a priority. It should be right up there on the list with everyone else’s health and hygiene.

Remember Your Dreams

Ambition is a dirty word, at least when it’s used to describe women. But moms need to embrace the term. Be ambitious. Go back to school. Push for the promotion. Or just chase your passions. I used to drift off to sleep dreaming about certain achievements – writing that book, studying my family history more profoundly, winning accolades for my cooking. Now, I drift off to sleep thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list. It’s not nearly as much fun.

My goal now is to remember what I used to aim to do. Thanks to my Instant Pot, I managed to make spectacular mushroom risotto over the holidays, so cooking #squadgoals (my husband is into that one, too) are coming along. While I’ve published a book and worked on a couple of others, they were not personal, nor the kind I had planned in my dreams. Working on this blog, however, is a step toward that goal.

No one is a greater keeper of our family history and traditions than I am, so that work will continue. And I hope new dreams come to me in place of the reminders about buying a gallon of milk and helping my son study for his spelling test. My greatest wish for you in 2019 is that you visit dreamland and your deepest longings every now and then, too. You deserve it, mom.

Di Meglio is the author of Fun with the Family New Jersey (Globe Pequot Press, 2012). She also has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.