FAMILY TRAVEL – VIAGGI
Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples in Italy, is more than a vacation destination. It’s a state of mind. There is an entire culture built around this little piece of land in the sea. Truly, the sweet life of Italians – as Americans have come to know it – begins and ends here.
The photo above says it all. After all, who can resist the romantic ambiance of a real life castle in the middle of the sea positioned next to bronzed sunbathers and swimmers? There’s even a grapevine and all that greenery. It is the picture of a place that soothes the body and opens the mind to endless possibilities.
A Melody Like No Other
Life’s rhythm is different here. There is no frenetic pace of workers pounding the pavement. Instead, the tourists and natives alike are swayed by the sea. So, their step is gentler, their sense of purpose less directed. The breeze moves them. By the way, that’s not always a bad thing. It takes some getting used to for an American such as I. But once you stop fighting it and let your body relax, you flow like the waves kissing the shore.
Stepping lightly is foreshadowing for the siesta of every afternoon. Families gather for long lunches that they follow with a nap. The force of the sun and the pull of the waves unleashes unbridled passion. You’ll find yourself making love in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe you’ll sleep, too. In the evening, the people return to work. But first they share a coffee with their friends at the bar. After all, there’s always time for espresso.
Friends become family. Family becomes friends. Everyone gets in everyone else’s business, but that’s the way it is supposed to be. Neighbors still help each other. If you stay long enough, you might feel suffocated by their love. If you leave, however, you long for their affection and can never replicate it.
Food That’s Better Than Sex
Your whole world revolves around food when in Ischia or with people from Ischia. For it is food that unites you with lovers and neighbors. It is food that sustains you. You will feed each other endlessly for food is love. Love is food. Biting into the island’s lush vegetation – peaches, tomatoes, figs, and more – is a revelation. It is as though you’ve never eaten before.
Bottomless plates of pasta doused in the finest sauces, shellfish and octopus plucked right from the sea in front of you before arriving at your table, and the coniglio Ischitano (Ischia rabbit) dressed in its glorious simplicity will fill your heart as much as your belly. Indeed, you will feel healthy and indulged all at once. And don’t forget to top it off with fresh, artisanal gelato.
Green hills, fragrant flowers, luxurious spas and hotels, sexy beaches, and pretty people are lovely distractions. Your brain will take a vacation. When you carve out time to sleep, you will restfully doze. You drift away from everyday worries and the person you are in the real world. You become someone else. When you look in the mirror, you see someone you like better. She is prettier, smarter, more capable, and she knows it. The people all around you will look at you differently, as though they are finally seeing you. No matter how hard you try, you can never replicate this experience anywhere else.
Ischia State of Mind
Perhaps, that is why island life becomes a drug for many. You can never have enough of that feeling it induces deep inside you. It has a grip on your heart because Ischia makes you stronger, more desirable, more beautiful, more alive than ever. The earth in Ischia will move you but only in the best of ways for it is a force of nature that never really leaves you.