Back in 1997, a professor of mine recomended this majestic location for a weekend stay to a few of my university friends and I. Because our prof was so mean and self righteous, we reluctantly took his recommendation. There must have been a heavenly reason for our studious sufferings! The place was AMAZING. Back then we paid $60 lire each for a 2 night stay at this "pensione" including a breakfast and homemade dinner (to this day we talk about the fried cheese!)!!! We had a room with a balcony with STUNNING views, a sink, and a small trek up a few stairs to a shared bathroom. I was just a kid then,but I knew this place was special. A historic castle, perched upon a mount that thrushes out of the ocean, it is too fantastical to describe.
I was able to finally stay here once again in 2009! This time with my husband! As per my previous trip, there had been renovations and a change of caretakers/management. Originally i was concerned, however, it remained to be the jem I remembered it as. I was delighted to pay the very reasonable 110 euros a night (we stayed 7 days). This included a fantastic buffet breakfast with luncheon meats, cheese, cereals, yogurts, coffee tea, breads, dessert cakes, fruits--all on the large covered veranda with sea views. Our white room was decorated in a blue and white tile, and some antique furniture. Very relaxing. We had the view over the breakfast veranda, (one night occupied by a wedding), with extended sights over the walkway towards the entrance, the docked boats in the bay, and of course the ocean. Needless to say, a cazillion photos. Unfortunately, we never had a chance to try the gourmet dinners at the hotel (of three attempts, fish was the meal, and my loser husband doesn't eat fish), but the other guests we spoke to said they were superb. There are many stairs (as in most Italian hotels), but you will find that there are also many breaks you will take to hang over the ancient stone walls for breathtaking views. So the climb won't take much effort. The elevator tunnel can be intimidating, but take it from me (my husband & drunk friends accidentally stranded me at the bottom one night, where I stood alone waiting for the ride to go to the top and down again) you'll survive. We all had a great laugh that night. Getting to ischia itself can be a bit of a challenge, I am of Italian background, so that helped. However, I convinced two non Italian friends from Canada to join us, and they found it a bit trying, they did make it there unscathed (definitely take suggestions on web about getting through Naples to the port).
The porter suggested we try the natural thermal spa complex called negombo, 25 euro per person. I'm not a spa person, but i talked my husband into going a second time, LOVED IT. Went by bus (make sure you properly punch time on bus tickets, inspectors checked us)
The whole island is great, we love that by the castello there are a decent amount of shops & restaurants. The castello also sells spa skin care products, fantastiic too! We had great food everywhere. Pick up some limoncello! Beautiful churches. Went swiming in some rocky cavernous areas, also at the public beaches. So much fun exploring, it's also so relaxing, it's just so UNIQUE. Can't wait to return.
The whole place is just a dream..one of top ten imaginations of what heaven would be.
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