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Two Delightful Thermal Gardens on the Island of Ischia
Linda Hagstrom from PA
In September of 2003, I was fortunate to spend three nights and two days on the Italian island of Ischia. I traveled there to enjoy the thermal gardens (spas) on the island. I spent a day at the Poseidon Gardens, and a day at Negombo. These gardens have numerous swimming pools with sea water or fresh water, heated by volcanic action in the area.
Ischia is located in the Campania region, about an hour by ferry from Naples. It is called the green island because in contrast to rocky Capri, Ischia is covered with vegetation. There are thermal locations all over the island. The ground water is heated, there are thermal sands, and even the seawater in some areas is heated by volcanic action. Almost all the hotels (and there are many) have pools that are heated and unheated. Poseidon Gardens and Negombo are places you can go to spend the day in the lovely pools and also in the sea, because both have lovely beaches in addition to the pools.
I stayed near the town of Forio, the second most populous town on the island. Forio has ancient ruins, a delightful evening passagiata, many nice shops, and lots of gelato and cappuccino. It is located on the Bay of Citara. The island bus runs to all the places of interest. I chose the Villa Melodie as my hotel because it was inexpensive and I could walk to Forio and to the Poseidon Gardens from there. In September of 2003, I paid about $70 (not euro) a night for single room with bath, breakfast and dinner. I think Ischia is a bargain, particularly if you like the sea. The "high season" is July and August, when Italians flock there, but September was beautiful.
The first day of my stay, the hotel owner gave me directions to walk to the Poseidon Gardens. The entry fee was about 25 euro. The Gardens are beautiful, as you can see on the website. There are perhaps 20 pools of varying sizes, saltiness, and temperature. I was given a chart showing the recommended maximum time to stay in each pool according to water temperature. The pools are scattered around the hillside, some very private. Some have waterfalls or other water features. The loungers and umbrellas are scattered up and down a hillside, along with gorgeous plantings. In addition, there is a delightful beach on the Bay of Citara, which has thermal seawater. As in all Italian pools, you have to wear a swimming cap, and these are available at the little gift shop. The restaurant served wonderful cafeteria-style lunches. There is also a therapy center, which costs extra. I spent a wonderful day relaxing in the sun and the water at Poseidon Gardens.
The next day, the hotel owner told me how to take the bus to Negombo. It is located near the town of Lacco Ameno, on San Montano Bay. Negombo is similar to Poseidon Gardens, yet different. The grounds are more lush, with unusual plants from all over the world. The pools are scattered down a hillside, and there are some really private locations to sunbathe and swim. Therapy is also available here, at an extra cost. Negombo cost about 25 euro, and you could spend a delightful day there also. It is on quite a protected bay, so the sea swimming is quite calm. I loved Negombo.
Many of the hotels on Ischia have extensive thermal facilities. The Villa Melodie has an outdoor unheated pool, and an indoor heated pool. Some hotels have much more. The volcanism makes Ischia a special place.
www.infoischiaprocida.it: Ischia and Procida official tourist offices website
www.ischiaonline.it: Ischia tourist information, hotel booking
www.melodie.it: Villa Melodie, hotel in Forio on Ischia
www.giardiniposeidon.it: Poseidon Gardens, thermal spa on Ischia (website not working July 2006)
www.negombo.it: Negombo, thermal spa on Ischia
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