I couldn't have a series about our stay in Ischia without writing about the beaches. With 34 km worth of coastlines, and the majority of the island's villages sitting alongside the shoreline, it's hard not to be in view of the Mediterranean at all times. The beaches are varied from sandy and powdery to pebbly and rocky. Some parts of the coastline are sheer cliffs dropping straight down into the water, while others offer spacious sand. There are plenty of private areas to explore, and caves are often found by boaters against the rocky walls.
A few of the days we were there, we checked out a handful of different coastlines. Our first full day we walked around the shoreline in Ischia Ponte where we were staying and admired all the striped buildings of the private beach "clubs". This is a very common idea in Italy (and is very different from any beach experience I've had in the States), where the majority of the known beaches are private instead of the open public spaces. Normally, the beach guests pay a daily fee for entrance to the protected beach area of a specific club. With the fee comes a private area with beach chairs and umbrella, and most "clubs" have bathrooms, showers, and changing areas as well as an open-air snack bar.
Besides the fact that most all of the clubs were decorated in bold stripe patterns which I loved, it was so interesting seeing all the textures from the small fishing boats pulled on to the shore. It was still early in the day (and a bit overcast) when we initially checked out the beach near our hotel, so it was a good juxtaposition to see it quite still and empty contrasted with later in the day when it warmed up and bodies filled the beach chairs.
Of the other times we've spent on Italian beaches, we've just visited public spaces, but it was really nice this time to try out a private beach. I do think that it's completely worth the 7€ fee to have the sand raked and cleaned through the day, chairs set up for you, and facilities close at hand. When we arrived the attendant escorted us to our chairs and opened the umbrella. Although we live on the ocean, it's still nice to be in completely different scenery - and every time I opened my eyes and saw the Castello Aragonese just off-shore I smiled.
One afternoon during the week we decided to take a small trip to the neighboring island of Procida. After just about 15 minutes on the ferry we'd arrived at Marina Grande and took off on foot to explore the small fishing village of Corricella. I've already posted about some of our short visit in context of finding locations from "The Talented Mr. Ripley" but besides that aspect, the village is a lovely place, full of quiet streets and colorful buildings. We hardly passed many people walking around, much less any vehicles. It was the sleepy part of the afternoon, and sometimes as we walked through narrow alleyways I felt like we were the only people there.
When we made it to the other shore line, we wandered on the dock area where so many small fishing boats were almost piled on top of each other. Sailing ropes and fishing nets spilled out on the stone walkway, and the expansive convent Abbazia di San Michele sat on the hill looking down on us. We found a quiet seat outside of the restaurant "La Locanda del Postino" (which is aptly named as it was one of the filming locations for the movie "Il Postino"), and enjoyed a mid-afternoon snack. By the time we left, Ischia was already pulling me back...so we waved goodbye to the shorelines of Procida and set out again by ferry.
to be continued...