Procida, the pastel-hued Italian island, the most Italian Italian island, the tiny island gem in the Bay of Naples, has now got some tough as nails competition in the ‘what’s the most idyllic place we’ve ever been’ game show that is most certainly not airing on any television network. Not even TLC and I think they’d show anything.
While the Carnival Horizon spent the day chillaxing in Naples, my family hopped on a Medmar commuter car ferry (the sloooooow, cheap one) to Ischia (pronounced, we learned while on the sloooooow ferry, as ‘Iskia’).
Ischia is the biggest island of the Bay of Naples bunch (Capri, Procida, Ischia) and my only knowledge of it was some faint memory of reading about how famous people visit, stay, party and go about their famous business relatively unnoticed and unscathed from the paparazzi and public gawkers.
So, basically, we’d be right at home.
As a way of showing off how much bigger an island it is, Ischia has three ports from which to enter it. We picked Ischia Ponte because, well, the timing to that one worked best for us once off the Horizon in the morning and also because it looked walkable to CASTELLO ARAGONESE, the defacto skyline or dominate symbol of this charming, luxurious Italian island.
As entry points go, Ischia Ponte did not disappoint.
While Ischia Porte is closer to the home of the rich and famous and their rich and famous lifestyles, we were treated to a delightful amble through a small Italian village dotted with gelato shops, craft stores, pastel fronted homes and hotels, charming restaurants each one prettier than the next which left me wondering how many meals one could legitimately eat in a 4 hour period, and finally, the castle on the rock on the island on the water.
Holy wow the Google Images have got nothing on the live and in the flesh experience of rounding a corner (the corner at the end of this ridiculously Italian Italian street, to be exact) and laying eyes on that medieval beauty.
On the walk back to port to catch our return ferry to Naples, we had an incredible lunch of zucchini and shrimp gnocchi and mozzarella & tomato salad (an ode to nearby Capri) al fresco on the water, seated across from a woman who’s dog was on her lap, as a man with an accordion rode past on his bike and then began to stroll and play.
A Hollywood script writer, maybe one vacationing on the other end of Ischia, couldn’t have penned a more Italian scene.
We ate two cones of gelato, walked for miles, bought ceramic trinkets made there on Ischia, took selfies with stray dogs, looked high and low for stray cats, tried on hats we had no intention of buying, posed for photos, laughed, whined at times, dreamed of owning a Vespa, said out loud “oh c’mon on” at the Italian-ess of everything, and had one of the best days ever.
Finally, gratuitous gelato shots to make you hungry and jealous.
Next step: get your family to Italy and maybe, just maybe, to Ischia, a perfectly walkable (with the help of a ferry), perfectly perfect day trip from Naples.