By Susan Van Allen
For thousands of years, volcanic Ischia’s mineral-rich springs and smoking plumes of air have turned caves into curative saunas. Much of this goodness is channeled into 300-plus spa hotels and thermal parks, making Ischia the largest thermal-water destination in Europe.
Italians, Germans, and Brits have long loved the island’s waters and mud treatments, as well as the port villages, sandy beaches, and grottos lining its 23-mile coastline, yet Ischia remains largely unknown to Americans. Less crowded than its neighbor Capri, it’s perfect for a taste of what the Italians call il dolce far niente—“the sweetness of doing nothing”—and taking part in the ancient spa tradition is key to experiencing its essence.
Set on a secluded promontory on the outskirts of the village of Lacco Ameno, 57-room Mezzatorre Resort & Spa
is a stylish, creamy-white affair scented of jasmine, where a willowy spa director, Signora Rosy, customizes programs for guests.
In contrast to Mezzatore’s isolated perch, Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa
sits tucked into the green hills of the village of Casamicciola Terme. Along with treatments such as an Ischian-herb scrub, Terme Manzi’s modern spa is known for its mosaic-tiled pools fed by the Gurgitiello thermal springs, which have been praised since Roman times for their antiaging properties.
Giardini La Mortella
is also an Ischia must-see. This lush, terraced green paradise with a lovely tea garden (perfect at sunset) was the dream project of Susan Walton and her husband, British composer William Walton.
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, March 2014.
More Articles Like This: