Romance is a state of being. You can’t fake it or manufacture it, even though you probably try. Islands breed romance by their very existence. Perhaps, none sets the mood better than Ischia, a small island off the coast of Naples in Italy. Just to look all around you is to fall in love.
First, the Island Seduces You
Known as l’isola verde or the green island, Ischia boasts fragrant flowers and green hills. The pastel colored houses serve as polka dots on the landscape. Sea and sand are equally intoxicating. Castello Aragonese harkens royalty and the elegance of its former dwellers. Cobblestone streets and rustic cantine (wine cellars) promise Old World sensibilities. Sundays gathered with family feasting on coniglio Ischitano (traditional rabbit dish of the island) bring you simplicity. The heat has everyone in various states of undress.
Next, a Native Inspires Romance
Then, at some point, you will feel the intense eyes of a native on you. He will look at you as though he can see your inside thoughts. You will become at once intrigued and uncomfortable, more than ever before. As if only the two of you exist in the world, you’ll have a conversation with your eyes alone. He’ll touch the small of your back, and you’ll be charged by the electricity. He’ll guide you outside to see the view. That’s when you lose all control. Any power you had before vanishes. You are unable to even whisper. Instead, you quiver.
No Turning Back
In front of you is the sun. As it sets, it looks as though it belongs only to Ischia and you only to it. That setting sun bursts with soft, yet electric colors that splash across the sky. The gentle breeze rises as if from the waves and caresses your cheek. You close your eyes. The island passionately kisses you and you succumb. Those kisses become your drug, and you keep coming back for more. But whatever you do, don’t look directly into the sun. Or you may lose yourself forever.
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.