On my return trip from Afghanistan this past June (yes this post is long overdue), I met up with my girlfriend Jocelyn for a week-long trip to Italy, including Ischia, Pompeii, Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, and Capri. The first 48 hours, after not having seen each other in four months, we spent on the beautiful island of Ischia, just off the coast from Naples, Italy.

Castello Aragonese from our hotel in Ischia

Castello Aragonese from our hotel in Ischia

We decided to rent a car for our trek as I really wanted to drive the Amalfi Coast, but we decided against putting the car on the ferry to Ischia. It was an adventure almost worth its own blog posting trying to navigate from Naples to the long-term parking lot and then to the port! I’ll skip that and instead focus on the beauty of Ischia. We stayed at the Villa Durrueli to the east of the village of Ischia and within an easy walk (and great view) of Castello Aragonese.

Ischia is known for its natural spas and luscious gardens. We used the island bus system to work our way to one of the more well known spas, Negombo Giardini Termali, and spent most of the first day enjoying the numerous spas and the private beach. We made our way back to the hotel on a crowded bus and walked down a wonderful, shop- and restaurant-lined street to the port. One of my favorite things to do in Italy will always be visiting little shops, eating gelato while strolling down the street, and just watching the people of Italy live life as if nothing else is pressing. I just love how everybody is out and about on any given evening. In the end, we ended up at a little pizzeria by our hotel for a small dinner and glass of wine before calling it a night.

We had big plans for Ischia with its many gardens, beaches, and spas. In the end, I can say 48 hours is just not long enough. I think I could easily spend an entire week on Ischia. Our last morning on the island, we decided to tour Castello Aragonese (self-guided). The views, architecture, and flowers at the castle are simply amazing. The castle was built on a large volcanic rock which at one time housed nearly 2,000 residents (according to the Aragonese Castle Wikipedia). It’s now an unmissable landmark anchoring the NE corner of the island.

I’d love to give more advice on where to go, but Ischia for us was a chance to reconnect after four months apart and for me, a welcomed break from a four month deployment. We lazily strolled and just enjoyed the scenery most of the time and that’s what I’d recommend you do if you visit!