The Island of Ischia

Capri's next door neighbour is larger and less crowded we were told so we opted to visit on Tuesday, our last day in Campania.

We walked down to the ferry port in time to buy tickets and queue for the 9:30 boat. No upper deck experience this time so we arrived relatively intact, although I somehow managed to acquire around a dozen insect bites on the way.

Our plan was to catch the local bus around to the famous La Mortella Gardens,  created by the wife of composer Sir Wiliam Walton.  We bought tickets and joined the throng of people swarming around the bus terminus. When the first bus arrived it was so crammed full of people their faces were squashed up against the doors. We waited for the next one, and the one after that, all equally full. We gave up and went around to the marina for a cappuccino.

The Tourist Information point was close by so we called in and asked for details of the Castello Aragonese which stands on a rocky promontory at the other end of the bay.  We decided to walk there and have a look around as it sounded quite interesting.

Our walk took about an hour, wandering along the main streets around the bay.  This was the local post office - an unusual bulding....

Eventually we caught sight of the castle but it was still a little further to walk until we came across the causeway out to the rock.

It was very hot by this time and we were glad to discover when buying our entrance tickets that there is a lift to take people up to the centre of the castle and a path to walk back down at the end.  This is the view from the top...
The entrance fee includes a little booklet with a plan of the site and some interesting information about the various areas within the castle.

There was a convent and several churches, a prison, various gardens plus areas for winemaking and millstones for flour. Quite a self sufficient little outpost in its day.

We sat on a shady little terrace and had lunch looking out at the view...

The rest of the afternoon was spent investigating all the interesting little nooks and crannies of the castle.  

One rather gruesome aspect was the nuns' cemetery, down in a cellar.  It seems that deceased nuns were stripped then placed upon these stone "seats". As they decayed, their fluids drained through the hole into jars beneath. The dried skeletons were placed in an ossuary and the jars were then set out on display as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life.  

 Needless to say, this rather unhealthy practice resulted in quite serious illnesses among the remaining nuns.

After a stop for a cafe freddo and a look at the view again, we made our way back down and then the one hour stroll back to the ferry port for the boat "home".


  1. What a shame you didn't make it to La Mortella Gardens but you made the most of the visit anyway. The way people were crammed into the first bus suggests that some passengers may have not survived the trip. It sounded like a railway carriage at Auschwitz.

    1. It did look like a form of torture. We enjoyed the castle visit anyway so all was not lost.


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