Isola d'Ischia

Ischia is a volcanic island at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, just across the island of Capri...
and it will have the honor of my presence in a few days!

The island is famous for its natural volcanic activity, its thermal hot springs, and its volcanic mud.
Negombo Park, a wellness center, near Lacco Ameno, where thermal water, Mediterranean vegetation and sea water combined cure and revitalize (so I hope...)
The Bay of San Montano is a small, protected cove. The beach is the blondest and most finely grained on an island predominantly made up of darker, volcanic soil.
Site of one of the earliest Greek colonies in the west, Lacco Ameno was once a key trading point between the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations - that of Pithecusa.
You may have seen already some scenery from Ischia since parts of the film The Talented Mr Ripley were filmed on the island.
A key personality in the economic development of Lacco Ameno was Angelo Rizzoli ( Milan 1889-1970). Orphaned at a young age and raised in poverty, Rizzoli rose to prosperity. He apprenticed in the printer trade and later became an entrepreneur in his twenties and a film producer later on ("La Dolce Vita" and many more famous movies). In 1949 he began publishing books and soon created an Italian publishing empire. One-time resident of Villa Arbusto, his influence brought a variety of stars and public figures to the island after the Second World War.
Fish abounds in the Mediterranean sea and many specialties of the region are my favorites, one of them "Pesce all'acqua pazza" or fish in crazy water! Easy to make and delicious but it needs the right kind of fish.
A specialty of Naples if not THE most famous specialty? But of course...La Pizzaaaa
Vegetables and fruits, due to the long exposure to sun have a special taste.
Lemons of Ischia are famous for their sweetness, their skin is used to produce "Limoncello" liqueur but lemons are also part of several recipes for desserts (even lemon and chocolate truffles).
At times at home I even venture to make the famous "Pastiera napoletana" a cake with a lengthy preparation which is a must in Naples to celebrate Easter. Among other ingredients: Ricotta, lemon zest, presoaked grain, many eggs and it must be prepared a few days in advance to allow ingredients' flavors to blend.
One last small Naples it is still in use to go to a Coffee place and after having ordered a drink pay also for another one (being coffee, tea or something else). "Caffé Pagato" declares the person at the cashier and that means someone else, with less money or no money will find a free coffee for him later on.
Just that makes me love Naples and its culture!
I can't wait...

Text and images sources: Wikipedia and Ischia website
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Write by: A-Efendy - Saturday, September 12, 2009

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