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Ischia Italy

The restorative allure of Ischia, the largest of Italy's islands in the Bay of Naples, can be felt in more ways than one. Far from the air-kissing crowds of Capri, this sunny spit of land offers a calmer, laid-back hideaway in which to escape from the mainland – as well as a clutch of therapeutic spas that have earned it fame. Ischia is also the name of the main port town, split between the commercial harbour district of Ischia Porto and the more historic Ischia Ponte. It's worth spending time in each.

Begin your history lesson in Ischia Ponte, where most of the island's oldest attractions lie. You'll encounter Castello Aragonese on its own islet. Sections of the fortress date back to 474 BCE, and the complex contains multiple chapels and churches within its walls. Look for 14th-century frescoes among the ruins of the Cattedrale dell'Assunta. Near the castle, you'll find Guevara Tower, a turreted former residence overlooking the water and Ischia Porto. Unlike Ischia Ponte, Ischia Porto offers a taste of modern Ischia – come here for the island's best bars, taverns and shops.

After some traditional sightseeing, strike out to experience more of the island's natural pleasures. Soak up the sun on the sands of Spiaggia dei Pescatori, which overlooks the castle. Relax in hot baths surrounded by gardens at the Nitrodi hot springs or Negombo Thermal Park. For more ambitious travellers, a hike up Monte Epomeo – Ischia's highest peak – will grant you sweeping views of the sea.


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