The glamour of the Flegree Islands - Capri, Ischia and Procida
The adventures of Chili III
Peter & Belinda Vernon
Sat 7 May 2022 17:17
After the Amalfi coast it was difficult to imagine anywhere could be swankier - but Capri certainly is. Mooring overnight was going to be ridiculously expensive so we decided to stop just for lunch. We tried our luck in the harbour and found a berth on the harbour wall where the friendly Ormeggiori kindly said we could stay for a few hours for free - a big win! We took the funicular up to the main town and Ed, who had been before, acted as our tour guide. It’s a beautiful spot with lovely houses, fabulous views and endless opportunities to spend plenty in the many restaurants and chic shops. We resisted the temptation, but found a good spot for lunch in the harbour before continuing on to Ischia - with wallets intact.
Ischia is the largest and greenest the three islands in the Bay of Naples, and is dominated by the 800m peak of Mount Epomeo. We entered the main harbour of the main town of Porto d’Ischia through the narrow entrance and moored up alongside a 53ft motor boat with full time uniformed crew that we soon realised was the launch for the Superyacht moored opposite us. To be fair, it was the only Superyacht there, but it is probably a different story in the height of summer. The harbour is a real delight surrounded by pastel-painted houses and restaurants but it was very busy with ferries and hydrofoils coming and going at top speed, creating a lot of wash. We visited the fort complex of Castello d’Ischia we had sailed by on the way in which was impressive but involved a lot of climbing up and down steep steps which was a bit of a challenge for Ed given his recently- broken leg. The next day Peter & I took the bus to the west of the island to visit ‘La Mortella’ - a garden created by the composer William Walton and his wife Susana. It is described as the finest botanical garden in Italy which is not difficult to believe. The ‘lower’ garden is a shady glen of ferns, orchids and unfamiliar giant trees whilst the upper areas include a Japanese garden, various ponds, fabulous views (as usual) as well as an amphitheatre for music recitals. In fact there was a music recital that evening so our tour was accompanied by the rehearsal which was wonderful. The one thing we didn’t do was visit a spa which Ischia is famous for - maybe we will have to come back for that!
Procida is very close to Ischia but much smaller and much less touristy. However, in contrast to Capri and Ischia, there is quite a large marina - perhaps because there are severe restrictions on overnight anchoring. It was the most expensive so far but it was worth it for our one night stay. We walked over the hill (through the square featured in ‘The Talented Mr Ripely’) to the waterfront of the fishing harbour of Corricella which seemed like the perfect spot for a drink and supper. One memory of Procida will be walking through the small town on Sunday morning and hearing rather beautiful singing from the church being played through loudspeakers as the whole town (or so it seemed) came out of church. It was obviously the social event of the week.
We could happily have stayed quite a bit longer, but Ed and Lydia had to fly back from the Naples the next morning so we had to get ourselves to the mainland.
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