Ischia an Island Off The Coast of Naples

I came across and article on Ischia today that appeared in Forbes Magazine a while back. 

I remember it for its beauty and ease of transportation via the city busses.  The food was excellent and thermal baths abound in this little volcanic island. Take the ferry from Napoli and enjoy your stay. 

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It is just s short ferry ride from Naples to Ischia. On the way uou pass the equally enchanting island of Procida. 

CIMG0715The island  of Pricida

A 2018 article in Forbes magazine said “Ischia may be one of Italy’s best kept secrets”. It is certainly a relaxing and interesting place to visit. It is affordable with excellent restaurants. It is more casual than Capri and much less hectic. Thermal hot [springs feed pools for a relaxing warm swim. Parts of the movie “The Talented Mister Ripley” were filmed here. Great seafood abounds on this 18 square mile island

 

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On the ferry  from Napoli to Ischia. We brought our car on the ferry, is was a reasonable price.

CIMG0471 The Castello Aragones  is a medieval castle next to Ischia (one of the Phlegraean Islands), at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, Italy. The castle stands on a volcanic rocky islet that connects to the larger island of Ischia by a causeway (Ponte Aragonese).

CIMG0473Insalata Caprese for our lunch

 

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Lava formations from past eruptions on this volcanic island.

 

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Getting ready to jump. 

CIMG0499Diving into the sea brings relief from the warm summer day.

 

 

CIMG0501Each day the pool is emptied and refilled from the thermal spring. The water is warm, and if filled with minerals.

We took a bus to get to Lo Scoglio, in Sant Angelo. It was s short ten minute drive to an amazing treat. 

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The entrance to Lo Scoglio

 

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Frutti di Mare

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My wife Angela was thrilled with all this fresh seafood.

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A cruise ship passes by.

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Outside dining makes for an enjoyable evening. .

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Samt Angelo, Ischia. Check out the fumarole beaches with steam jets rise up  through the sands.  Food is cooked by burying it in the sand and letting the volcanic steam do its thing.

 

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A salumaria or delicatessen has the real bufala mozzarella. This is best served at room temperature and best kept only on day. It is different from the fresh mozzarella which we find in American supermarkets.

 

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More views 

 

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It is well worth the trip.Stay for a few days to enjoy the shops, dining, and the swimming. You can bring your car over on the ferry. Busses run to many of the attractions.

 

 

https://maps.apple.com/?address=Ischia,%20Naples,%20Italy&auid=12476986191221287559&ll=40.732341,13.944971&lsp=6489&q=Ischia&_ext=Ch8KBQgEEJABCgQIBRADCgQIBhADCgQIChAJCgQIVRAHEiYpt/GC441aREAxdM70t6naK0A5eWwVDs5fREBBwAZEiCvvK0BQDA%3D%3D

 

 

 

 

Non vedo l’ora. I can’t wait.

The best cheese comes from Italy. Visiting this year is out, and I got hungry, DSC 1697

So I searched on Amazon for Pecorino cheese. Sheep’s milk cheese. I found a great product and decided to order it,

 

IMG 2166It was shipped UPS Air and arrived in two days from Parma, Italy. 

 

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It was packed with a styrofoam inner container with cooling jej.

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This is it.   Just about 4 lbs.  

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It even includes a cutting knife.

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It is a softer cheese than Parmesan with a wonderful aroma and taste. Pecorino Toscano is a PDO cheese made in the Tuscany region of Italy. You can order directly from them at the following web site

http://www.parmashop.com

 

For me all cheese that I have eaten in Italy is great, and now I can bring it home. My 2 kilo order cost $79 with UPS air shipping.  That was a good price. See the photo below that show a shop window in the Trastevere section of Roma where the price for kilo was 63 Euro. 

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In Florida you can visit Doris Market in West Palm which specializes in Italian Foods.

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I Never Forget A Meal

I am borrowing the title of a book by Michael Tucker who also fell in love with Italy and has always loved food.  Italian food and Italian meals are to be savored and enjoyed. His book was great and you can find copies on Amazon. Also recommended is “Living in a Foreign Language” also by Michael Tucker which is similar to Under the Tuscan Son, but with more humor and a bit of attitude. 

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We are on the island of Ischia, a small island off the coast of Napoli. We stayed in a small hotel with great views of the area and had a pleasant lunch of  Prosciuto e Melone.

 

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We also hand Insalata Capresse with fresh mozzarella di buffala

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At anolther ristorante in ischia we had frutti di mare. As fresh as you can get.

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While staying on Lake Carda in the town of Brenzone we had a waterfront dinner of Cacio e PepeIMG 1785

Lunch at a winery in Vicenza IMG 1787

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Below is home made pasta in Milano, I took a pasta making class. 

Felt is was time to lear how to do it, I had a pasta making machine at home that my bother bought about thirty years ago.

 

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Nothing like your own fresh pasta

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IMG 1445Pasta alla Norma 

 

 

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Mixed fruit that we bought at the market in Siracusa  Sicily

Below is beefsteak Florentine

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You start with aged meet. This is from Il Pandemonio, Florence Italy

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It comes rare to medium rate, It is a think steak, about 1.5 to 2.0 inches. 

There is nothing like it.

 

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Back in Catania, Sicily

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An entire meal of antipasti 

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My wife Angel and I after a wonderful meal.

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Il Torre Del Mangia, Siena

Piazza  del  Campo

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Insalata Capresse

Pasta with Pesto

There are more to come. This Brunello from 2011 met it Demis in 2020 as we reminisced about Italy.

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The Markets of Italy

To me nothing is more beautiful than the way Italian markets display their food.  The quality is overwhelming, the aromas intriguing, and the tastes are fantastico. 

 

Catania Fish Market

Fish Market In Catania, Sicily

Catania Fish MarketCatania Fish Market

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Stall in Amalfi

 

 

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Catania

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Fruit and Vegetables

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Lemons, Catanzaro Calabria 

 

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Autogrill 

 

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A Pasticciera in Erice

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Blood Oranges, Palermo

 

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Garlic Aglio

 

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Melenzanie – Eggplant

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Mushrooms, Rome

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Artichokes, Carciofi Roma

 

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Fresh Bread, Roma

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My banana harvest, Vero Beach, FL 

Not Italy but this came from a Tree in our front yard.

Ciao

My Favorite Streets In Rome

This year we returned to Rome for eight wonderful nights.  In 2017 we were in Rome for two weeks, and enjoyed becoming familiar with the city. It was no longer intimidating. On our last visit we stayed in an Airbnb on Via Dei Bianchi Vecchi. It was a great location to walk to many of Romes’s attractions. This year we found an Airbnb that did not have 67 steps to climb to the second floor. It was located on Via Cappellari about 200 feet from the Campo Dei Fiori.

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From our location which was “Via dei Cappellari, 124 primo piano” we were able to walk to the following sights.

Chiesa Dei Stata Barbara Labrari

Chiesa Dei Santa Barbara Dei Librari

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Chiesa Dei Santa Barbara Dei Librari Interior

Well worth the visit, small and beauitiful

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Campo dei Fiori

The Campo dei Fiori is a great place to wanter and view the sights night and day. Surrounded by restaurants and shops, it transforms from a daytime tent city to vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and other items to a huge area wandering people. 

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Stalls and shops at the Campo

St Peters is about 10 min from the area. Walk down Corso Vittorio Emanuele and cross of the bridge by Castel Sant’Angelo and make a slight left and you will see it ahead.

 

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St Peter from the dome

 

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On to lunch in Trastevere

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The chiesa of Santa Maria in Trastevere was another short walk

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Always a wedding seven days a week

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Crossing the bridge headed back to our Airbnb a beautiful view of St Peters in the distance 

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Lost In Rome, Again

Being lost in Rome is a treat, not a problem.  We dropped our rental car off in Venezia, how amazing  it is to drive to the edge of this cluster of islands. After leaving the car inform of the Hertz office, we walked across the street and closed a bridge to Venezia. IMG 1172

Next we walked to the Santa Lucia station to get our high speed train to Rome. Reserved seats and a great ride. IMG 0982

Italo provides fast and nice transport, It was a pleasure to travel by train.

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Beverage service was provided and restrooms were spotless.

After arriving at our Airbnb on Via Dei  Cappellari i, we head one block to the Campo Dei Fiori. We chose this location as it was near our last Airbnb and enabled us to walk to most of the destinations in Rome we wanted to see. 

 

IMG 1009Campo dei Fiori at night. The market is gone, now it is dinnertime and people watching. A full moon came to welcome us.

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Quick walk to the Vatican 

DSC00444We were located so close to so many wonderful sights ant things to do.

 

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The downtown market was filled with food and wines. 

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A Rome market. 

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This small Filetti di Baccala is a tiny space which specialized in Cod Filets which were delicousIMG 1059

One man runs the kitchen. Everything is prepared while you wait. 

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Find  at Largo dei Labari, near the church of Santa Barbara

 

Some more walking and another wedding. First of several we saw.

 

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A walk across the tiber to a new area of Rome. Trastevere, another jewell.  Trastevere translates to across the Tiber

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An uncrowded street in Trastevere. Via del Moro. 

 

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This post will be continued.

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Caico e Pepe, Osteria da Fortunata , Via  Pelligrino

MILAN, ROME, LAKE COMO AND MORE ONE MONTH FOR TWO $4500

In five days my wife and I leave for a month in Italy. The cost is about $4500 which includes airfare, car rental for fifteen days, Airbnb apartments with wifi, ac, and kitchens, one extra night in Miami on return.  A similar tour from Globus costs $5,400 and does not include airfare. And it  is for 10 days, not 30.    I have not included meals in my trip, and Globus usually does include some meals. Globus states it’s meals as follows “Full buffet breakfast daily; 2 lunches in Gabiano and Vercelli; 2 three-course dinners at a local restaurant in Milan”  So that is two lunches, two dinners, and breakfast each day.   

If we were t compare the Globus tour to mine, it would cost approximately $15.000 plus AIRFARE to get close to mine. PS, I purchased my tickets from AirItaly in February. I flew with them last year and it was a perfect trip. 

The best way to travel so inexpensively is shoulder season,  We fly out of Miami on Sept 19th and got airfare for $780 round trip non stop for two people.  Flying into Milan less expensive than going to Rome. You can get rail or air transit to Rome at very reasonable prices. So why not see more, do more and enjoy more with the $10,000 you can save by doing it on your own.

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Our Airbnb in Milano. Elevator service and lots of windows. 

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Our Airbnb in Vicenza

Each of our reservations has reasonable rates. Rome was the most expensive costing $120 a night for a first floor apartment in the Campo Dei Fiori neighborhood. We like this area as you can walk to the Vatican, the Ghetto, Piazza Navona, and many more locations. Bust stops are just a block away. 

IMG 1714Vicenza, Italy last fall.

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Milano, trams are the best way to travel.

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Prada, Milano

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II , Milano

Prada, Versace, Pasticceria Marchesi, Luisa Spagnoli. Tod’s , Giorgio Armani, Gobbi 1842, all these and more await you at the Galleria 

Follow the blog next week as I report on our trip. Airbnb review, dining, shopping, and doing it on a budget.

How to find a great Airbnb in Rome

We have visited Rome several times and always enjoyed our visits. Location is one of the most important factors. If you have a favorite neighborhood such as Trastevere, Testaccio, or Campo Dei Fiore base yourself there. Save time and money by being able to walk the areas. In 2017 we stayed near Campo Dei Fiore.  It was a perfect place to explore the neighborhoods and walk to some many places. The Vatican and St. Peters was walkable. Restaurants abounded and shopping for food was close by.

When we booked it, the description looked great. The fact that it was on the Second Floor sounded doable.  Keep in mind the Italian way of numbering floors is quite different from ours. The ground floor or piano terra which is what we in the US would call the first floor. The next floor is the first floor, or primo piano, then on to the second floor which piano second but you are really on the third floor.

Keep this in mind as elevators in the older ( but beautiful) buildings are not prevalent. This is a time lapse of the descent which makes it look easy

52 Steps each time you go in or out

 

 

 

Here are photos from Rome in 2017. Not bad, reasonable space and would return if not for the steps ( 52) 

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This year I began my search by indicating the dates I needed, the number or people and I specifically searched °Campo Dei Fiore°. This reduced the number of locations and I then searched from the map.

 

Airbnb map rome

Viewing each listing VERY carefully, I looked for WIFI, KITCHEN, A/C, and NO SMOKING. When I found all of these I looked at all the photos, and at least the first four pages of reviews. It is important to evaluate a review.  As some one who has stayed in Airbnb in the US and Italy I check carefully and recheck with my wife. One bad review does not make a place unworthy of staying. Keep in mind that the map prices shown do not show what the prices really are if you did not fill in your dates of travel. The time of year makes a big difference.

 

This is a review I posited after a stay in Rome for 18 days in 2017″

“Overall we enjoyed our stay with Marzia. She was very quick to respond to our requests. The location is amazing. Walk out the door to restaurants, shops, a wine bar, and Campo de Fiore. Vatican is about 7-minute walk, save with Piazza Navona. Bus stops on Via Vittorio Emanuele. There is a restaurant on the other side of the building is excellent, Polese, we spent several evenings there. Also,check out the Suplizo on the same street as you head to Campo de Fiore. Great for take out. Kitchen is small but fully stocked with pots pans etc. Small frig but grocery store and the market are so close you will always have fresh food. The bed is comfortable. Hot water works well. WiFi good for browsing and email. AC works, but we arrived in mid September and found building comfortable with out it. The rear has a small terrace which was nice for dinner and wine. It does not have a view, but it was very pleasant. This is an older building and you have 52 steps to get to the room. It was not a bother to me at 74 years old, but my wife took a break going up the stairs. Neighborhood is good and safe. Only problem was major construction going on next to us and loud banging on walls starting at 7 am. I believe this is now finished as far as the wall banging goes. My wife and I enjoyed our stay.”

 

I would add that I was give a refund of 300 Euros to compensate me for the noise.  I would return there again, if I could not find something on a lower floor.

 

For this years trip, we found a great place on the Primo Piano which will make things much easier. Located steps from the Campo Dei Fiore, I look forward to walking to so many sights and attractions. The bus stops are close by and the neighborhood is very safe.

The photos below are of our Airbnb for this year.

 

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This is a decent sized apartment and we are looking forward to it. I will review it in full when we return from Italy in October.

 

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What I Loved About Tuscany Part 2

Siena is beautiful. From the towers to the countryside, it is full of beauty. 

Torre del mangia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

 Torre del Mangia towering above of the Palazzo Pubblico
 
Torre del Mangia.
The Torre del Mangia is a tower in Siena, in the Tuscany region of Italy. Built in 1338-1348,[1] it is located in the Piazza del Campo, Siena’s premier square, adjacent to the Palazzo Pubblico (Town Hall). When built it was one of the tallest seculartowers in medieval Italy.[2] At 102 m, it is second tallest after Cremona’s Torrazzo (112 m (367 ft)) the Asinelli tower in Bologna at 97 m being third.

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Piazza del Campo

 

IMG 5336From the top of the Torre. 

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My favorite lunch. 

 

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We found a wonderful BnB just outside of Siena

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The Duomo

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A small salumeria we picked out our lunch. 

DSC03671No crowds on the street at lunch time.

Siena is a good home base for touring around Tuscany. It is definitely car country to access all these beautiful spots. 

To be continued. 

Cycling Bolzano to Venice, 2018 Complete Video

I left Miami on September 26 to fly to Milan and start a wonderful vacation. I had three days in Milan and then I would take the train to Trento where I would meet my group to begin the tour. 

 

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Lift off from Miami.

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Highspeed train to Trento from Milano.

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I mounted a GoPro on to the handle bars of the rental bike.  I did get some vibration, so I had to adjust it using the video editor on my Mac.  For the most part this did well with the exception of cobble stones. 

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A bike path through the vineyards and down to the lake. 

The cycling was amazing, of the 230 to 240 miles it was about 90% on bike paths, some with the most amazing views.

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Riding along the Adige river

With the Dolomites in the background the trip got better by the mile. 

The video gives a riders perspective of riding from Bolzano to Trento, Riva del Garda, Verona, Vincenza, Padova, and arriving in Venice ( Mestre)  I had three nights in t Venice/Mestre which was another wonderful experience.

 

Here is the link to the video which in on Vimeo.  https://vimeo.com/305380233

 

 

I hope you enjoy it.  

Greg 

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The opera house in Verona, Italy

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