Storytellers, movies, and poets have shown and described the splendour of Ischia in ways I can never hope to do. However, let me just say it’s one of the most outstandingly beautiful places I have seen!
For the inauguration of its new blog, BSO Group decided to unveil its plan in a grande style with a press trip, selecting ten journalists and bloggers to explore the beautiful island of Ischia – to experience a bit of its enogastronomy at some of its finest locations.
We set off from Milan at 7.30 am on Trenitalia’s FrecciaRossa Train and arrived at Napoli at 12:00pm. To reach Ischia, we had to take the Aliscafo Snav ferry heading to Casamicciola. I sat by the window watching the sea waves rise and fall.
While others were discussing sea sickness, I was so certain I wouldn’t get sea sick, I mean my dad is a Sailor and I was certain I had inherited his genes. I had even taken the boat with him and visited him on the ship a couple of times. But once the ferry took the first leap in the water, I felt my organs rise to my throat. After about 15 minutes, I had a strong urge to puke.
I rushed to the bathroom, swerving with the rhythm of the ferry. I bolted the door hurriedly, steadying myself by placing my hands against the walls of the toilet. I started doing the “inhala, exhala” – a trick I learned from Jane the Virgin TV series.
Quickly, I raked through my purse and downed the last tablets of chewing gum I had, chewing like my life depended on it – extracting all the taste of mint. Once I started to feel better, I went back to my seat and made myself take a long nap to avoid further stomach upset.
We arrived at Ischia and I couldn’t stop letting out “wows” unconsciously. Imperatore Travel World was on standby to give us a smooth ride to our respective resorts – Garden & Villas Resort and Miramare Sea Resort.
Miramare had the spectacular view of the sea and you could hear the rumbling of the sea as it gently rolls against its wall. Garden & Villas Resort, on the other hand was an absolute treat, made nicer by the politeness and friendliness of the staff.
I was impressed by Garden & Villas Resort and immediately felt at peace with the soothing sound of nature and vast greenery. I must say I liked the bathroom in my suite as it was very spacious. I don’t like tiny bathrooms where you occasionally bump into the wall.
The dinner at Il Corbezzolo, Garden & Villas Resort owned restaurant was one of the highlights of the day. The delicate taste of the Risotto ai frutti di mare (just the way I like it) and getting to try “Baba” for the first time. The resort has it own garden, hence all ingredients are freshly picked and the farm to table style is practised.
On day 2, we had our first briefing on Bso Group Blog, a project that is set to enrich the tourism and hospitality sector with lots of information from travel tips to news on happenings in the industry.
Our lunch for the day was at Cantine di Creteca, a beautiful winery up the hills with a spectacular view of the city. We had a tour of the vineyard and settled afterwards for a delicious meal a Chef of Garden & Villas Resort .
Next stop was Gardini Poseidon Terme, a thermal park with more than twenty different kinds of baths and pools. We had a relaxing time, trying six different pools and baths of hot and cold water. As ‘expected’, we kept giggling at the sensations of the change in the water temperature and gave other guests an amusing ‘drama’ session.
Dinner was at Ristorante Lo Scoglio, located by the sea shore. Maybe we drank too much at dinner or got intoxicated by the beauty of Ischia – after dinner we ran into the ocean in the dense darkness, yelling along to the songs pouring from the nearby pub. It didn’t matter that we didn’t come with a towel or if we got sick afterwards, what mattered was the free-spirit we didn’t try to tame that night.
On day 3, I woke up with a slight hangover. I was going to choose sleep over breakfast, but I had fallen in love with the brioche at Il Corbezzolo. The breakfast always had a wide collection of tasty and typical Italian choices – from bruschette to pizzetta. I hit the gym afterwards to shed some weight I was certain I had added, after eating so much good food in the past days.
During the second conference to learn more about the BSO Group Blog Project, we were graced by the presence of Vittorio Sciosia, an international photographer with a finesse for beautiful images – especially those pertaining to enogastronomy. We delved more into what the project is focused on and it felt amazing to be a part of it.
‘Light lunch’ – which consisted of focaccia, fresh seafood, pizza, bruschette and a main dish of spaghetti and vongole was enjoyed on the terrace of Apollon alle Fumarole, owned by Apollon Club. We then proceeded to Thermal Park & Spa Aphrodite Apollon for a relaxing time in the soothing thermal water – sipping complimentary cocktails and enjoying hydromassages.
Before dinner, we headed to BarAMare of Casa al Sole for an aperitivo. The bar has a picturesque view of the town. Here you can admire the blend of white, blue, yellow and ceramics of the buildings near the sea. We then went on a tour of the splendid nine rooms and three suites adorned in maiolica tiles from Vietri sul Mare, and with a vintage styled decor. Also, each room is named after a Neapolitan woman that has made history.
For dinner, we were at Trattoria il Focolare in San’Angelo for a traditional Ischian dinner prepared by Chef Agostino and the Ambra family. We visited the wine cellar – which is a cave – where we sat to listen to the history of Ischia and the Trattoria. The Cellar has wines that date back to as far as 1903 (116 years ago!)
On Day 4, we had a very long day. We started with a two-hour boat tour of the Island listening to the story of the city, told by Angela of Imperatore Travel World. We Stopped at Grotta degli Innamorati for a bath, where a lot of couples are said to have visited to make babies due to the potency the cave is said to have. Our Tour guide told us Ischia’s thermal waters are renowned for having a lot of healing powers.
Lunch was at the five-star hotel – San Montano Resort and Spa. Nested up the Ischian hill, one can admire the panoramic views across Ischia and the Amalfi Coast from here. We watched the Pizzaiolo make the pizza, with the delicious smell filling the air – I could almost taste it.
After lunch, we made our way to Castello Aragonese – a medieval castle next to Ischia – were we learnt about the horrific stories of how dead bodies were preserved in the Cimitero delle Monache Clarisse, the ancient prison from the 1820s and the love affair between a married King and a commoner.
The Gala Dinner was at the terrace of Miramare’s Ristorante il Mare. With lot of toasts and heavy hearts – because we will be leaving the beautiful Island the next day – we carried on the night reliving the experiences of the past days, celebrating the arrival of the BSO Blog, and watching the Ischian sunset for the last time.