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Report 2005: Naples & Sicily: Warmly Welcomes Travelers

By teezee from US, Spring 2012

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Page 2 of 13: Ischia

A long day and night from Boston to Ischia and the Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa. Plane to London, connecting to Naples, followed by a taxi from the airport to the ferry, a ferry to Ischia, the shuttle to the hotel. This was our “mini-vacation” before friends joined us in Naples and the great sight-seeing began. Luxury Link was the source of our reservation and, while not in the budget category, the price was excellent. Three nights to unwind at a spa hotel, with a thermal pool going back many hundreds of years, up-dated to modern luxury standards. Our room was lovely, the grounds were charming, the facilities beautiful and the food stellar. Gli Ulivi, the “ordinary” restaurant, as opposed to Il Mosaico, the two star Michelin, was anything but ordinary.

The quality of the kitchen is apparent in everything from the bread to the olive oil, the jams served at breakfast, and the fruit and local Ischia wines which are regionally specific and unique. My masseuse, born in Brooklyn but quickly returned to Sicily by parents who missed the land, was as first-rate as the kitchen. The breakfast was among the best I’ve had anywhere in the world and included local cheeses, homemade jams from Sicily and the Naples area, local ham, superb breads, and excellent coffee. The staff was impeccably trained and the hotel shuttle, local buses, and cabs made a car unnecessary.

Outside of the hotel, the spa, and the little neighborhood walking down to the port, we saw less of Ischia than we should have, and it seemed worth more time than we had to spend. We managed a visit to and lovely walk through La Mortella Gardens and wished we had time to include more exploration of the island, which retains a rustic interior neglected in favor of the lovely seaside ports that dot the island.

Thumped, dunked, and extremely well-fed, we wound down to “vacation level” relaxation and felt we were ready to tackle anything.

Things to know about Ischia: The hotel shuttle bus does not run between 1 and 3 or after 7pm. Cabs are expensive. There are local buses and the desk will help you understand how to use them but if you don't rent a car expect to spend money on cabs and just chalk it up to good value for relaxing on your trip.

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