Ischia: The Chic Italian Island Neighboring Capri

My first dip of the year makes me hungry and Mr. Puzella suggests lunch at Le Fumarole da Nicola, a family-owned restaurant by the sea that’s been around since 1950 near Sant’Angelo. A water taxi that costs a couple of euros takes us from our boat to the trattoria, which sits above the sea, and where we eat calamari and artichokes, sea bass and sun-ripened tomatoes.

Underneath the restaurant the family has created a natural sauna and hot pool from the thermal water that runs beneath it. It’s a trio of water treatments: a sauna in a rocky cave that’s seriously hot, followed by a jump into the sea and then a hot pool. I repeat the process a few times and then lie on the beach watching the fishing boats pass by. It’s the perfect simple day.

Ischia is just over an hour’s ferry ride from the main port of Naples, Napoli Beverello, and many of the hotels on the island offer free transfers from the ferry dock on the island.

The most upscale hotels, like the Mezzatorre Hotel and Thermal Spa, include destination spas — don’t miss the mud treatment (doubles from €495). The Regina Isabella, an old school grande dame on the water, also has a Michelin-starred restaurant, Indaco, run by the chef Pasquale Palamaro, and worth a meal even if you don’t stay there, doubles from €335).

The newly opened Botania Relais has the island’s ravishing vegetarian restaurant, Il Mirto (doubles from €350), while another grande dame, the San Montano Resort and Spa, recently opened chic new rooms from its birds’ nest location (doubles from €350, with free transfer to the great beach below). And Costa del Capitano has equally evocative views from its recently refurbished property above the sea near the picturesque village of Sant’Angelo (one-bedroom apartments from €470).

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