Villa Beatrice is located in the centre of Ischia, which is reached via an easy hydrofoil ride from Naples port. The island is very hilly and green, full of Italians, but with great charm and sensational views across the Bay of Naples and to Vesuvius. The island is famous for its spas – apparently the German equivalent of the NHS include free visits to Ischia for thermal treatment for deserving cases. The mind boggles as to what the British equivalent would be – Bognor? The two spas worth a visit are Negombo and Poseidon. They are completely different. Negombo is built into the rockface with pools of varying temperatures positioned at different levels, including an amazing hot spring shower at the very top. Well worth the climb. Then there is a big seawater swimming pool on the lower level and a chidren’s pool as well as good beach (packed with sunloungers, which seems to be the case on the beaches everywhere – the Italians love their sunloungers!). Poseidon is a lot smarter and all on one level. There are some interesting pools including one indoors, but it feels a bit more clinical and you have to wear ridiculous blue stripy hats to go in the pool (which can only be purchased in the shop of course).
Villa Beatrice is a lovely villa with a great pool, and lots of outdoor dining space. It is managed by the guardian, Pietro,for whom nothing is too much trouble. On arrival, hot and tired from a long wait at Naples port, we were greeted with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella which tasted better than I can describe. Each morning he delivered fresh bread, and he kept the pool sparkling and took the strain away from organising car hire and restaurants. He didn’t speak a word of English but somehow we got by with sign language and a lot of arm waving.
Car hire is a good idea if you don’t mind the very narrow roads, hairpin bends and constant mopeds. There’s a good bus service on the island, and frequent boats from the port for island hopping.
A final word for the beautiful port of Sant’Angelo. Well worth a visit to stroll the pedestrianised streets, or take out a pedalo. It seems to be where the glamourous Italians hang out – a little like Capri but a lot less intense.