When we recently took a tour of the island of Ischia in Italy, we stopped at Sant’ Angelo, which is an old fishing village. Although it is one of the most expensive places to hang out on the island, it is absolutely gorgeous and a must-see if you are ever in the area. Despite the fact that when we were there last, the wind was strong enough to knock over our kids, my son and my friends’ daughter were delighted to wake up and finally get out of the car. My son even did his happy feet dance – he moves his feet like the penguins in the movie Happy Feet – in his stroller and tore off his blanket.
Besides the charming boats and the natural beauty of Sant’ Angelo, you can take in the scene. There are shops with sophisticated gear – bejeweled beach cover ups, Greek-style sandals, and chic beach totes – coffee bars, pastry shops, and gelaterie (ice cream shops). You might even spot a European V.I.P. because they often stay on this exclusive, out-of-the-way part of the island. The natives, who live in Sant’ Angelo, might let you join a pick-up game of soccer like the one that caught Baby Boy’s eye. If he was a little older, he would have jumped right in.
When it is hot outside, you can pull up a towel on the patch of sand or take a dip in the ocean. I once rented a motor boat with friends, and we stopped near Sant’ Angelo for people watching and a snack of fresh pears, which we had brought with us. Before our juicy fruit treat (thanks to thermal soil, a result of Ischia’s previous life as a volcano, the island’s fruit is the sweetest you’ll ever taste), we had gone overboard to cool off in the water. The atmosphere oozes Mediterranean beauty and puts you in a completely different state of mind. I suspect that even if you’re working in Sant’ Angelo, you feel as though you are on vacation. That is why I have no problem returning there again and again.
A few weeks ago, my cousin Gigino and his wife Flavia graciously invited me for a day at Nitrodi, a spot in Ischia where there are fountains of naturally warm water that revitalizes the skin and body. (See “Nitrodi Healing Showers” photo album for a picture tour.) I had been to Nitrodi before, but it was always just a single shower and not much else. Now, the community of Barano in Ischia has come together to improve the area for tourists and natives alike. There are additional showers that overlook Maronti, the largest and most popular beach in Ischia, and Sant’ Angelo, an ancient fishing village that now caters to tourists. Stairs and wooden railings that lead guests up to the showers and strategically placed lounge chairs in the hillside are simple yet pretty. And the peaceful atmosphere and lush vegetation make you feel as though you’re at an outdoor spa. If you pack a picnic like my cousins did, you can make a whole day of your stay at Nitrodi. If I could only use one word to describe Nitrodi now, it would be perfect.