I feel conflicted about recommending the island of Ischia, Italy, as a travel destination. Not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because there’s nothing wrong with it–and I’d like it to stay that way.
Ischia is one of several islands off the Gulf of Naples; larger in land mass, but lighter in tourists than neighboring Capri. But it has a cult following; a surprising number of people to whom I’ve mentioned it have responded, “I’ve been there–and love it.”
I stayed at the small B&B Celestina, booked via Airbnb. In truth, the place was nothing fancy–but I’m convinced that its small shared courtyard facing the sea rivaled that of any five-star resort on the island. To book, visitAirbnb.
Photography by Meredith Swinehart.
Above: Our shared terrace was perched behind the town church in Lacco Ameno, and its bright white stucco amplified the evening light.
Above: Potted plants lined the perimeter of the terrace.
Above: This was no secluded resort–we weren’t the only ones with a view of the water–but we certainly felt like the only tourists.
Above: A Mediterranean color scheme: bright orange kumquats with turquoise blue shutters in the background.
Above: A pale yellow shade sail blocked the Mediterranean sun while lending a warm glow to anyone sitting under it.
Above: I don’t know how well-planned the shade sail installation was–there were hints that it might have been haphazard–but the results were beautiful and covered the terrace completely.
Above: Is anything better than twilight in summer?
Above: I’m convinced that the view from our shared deck was as good as at any pricier stay on the island.
Above: An echeveria in bloom.
Above: The terrace was surrounded by pale yellows: shade sails above, a painted building, and a stained-glass window to the side.
Above: I noticed the church was outlined in white lights–and hoped there would be an occasion for them to go aflame.
Above: An occasion soon came–sunset. The church bells rang madly for nearly an hour, signaling to me some kind of a feast day. But it wasn’t–by breakfast, rumor had reached us that the bell-ringer had simply lost control of his rope.
Above: Much to my delight, the church glowed every night.
Explore more of the Mediterranean in The Best Secret Garden in Barcelona, Landscape Architect Visit: Thomas Doxiadis on Antiparos, and A Greek Seaside Garden That Barely Needs Water. Plus, browse through photos of Mediterranean Inspiration in our Photo Gallery.