Free Time in Ischia: 2024 Annotated Travel Map

Inspired by nearly a decade of travels to the Italian island of Ischia, this annotated travel map by Drew Heffron includes local restaurants, small-production wineries, thermal springs, snorkel spots, ancient walking trails, cafes/bakeries and niche local businesses.

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Description

Planning an itinerary

My favorite side of the island is Forio due to it’s less commercialized, village-like scale. Cava is a great beach near there, with many restaurants and cafes in between. On the other side of the island, Ischia Ponte also has a more local feel, overlooking the eternally beautiful Castello Argonese, which now is a fantastic hotel (if you don’t mind steps). To get more off-the-beaten path, check out the higher altitude parts of the island, such as Panza or Serrara Fontana.

Renting a moped is a great method to explore the island. There are also frequent public buses that circumnavigate the island in both directions. The first time I visited I was surprised at the scale – it’s much larger than it looks on a map. There are frequent car ferries as well from Naples, but make sure you rent a compact car.

Best Wineries in Ischia

If you’re traveling to Ischia to visit wineries, a fantastic time to visit would be the Andare per Cantine / Let’s go the cellars festival which is typically held at the end of September during the grape harvest and features a series of guided walks to visit wineries. Each route is named after one of the indigenous local grape varietals Biancolella, Forastera, Frassitelli, Piedirosso, etc and includes several stops. This ischia map includes many of these small-production wine makers & their cellars, a few approved by Ian D’Agata.

This map features over 20 wineries and small-production cantinas that can be found on Ischia. While there are several large production winemakers, make sure to check out smaller producers and restaurants that also serve their own wine. Cantine di Crateca is one of note with an incresdible Rosato di Aglianico. There are also several great wine bars such as Enoteca la Stadera in Sant’angelo.

Vernacular Architecture

Unlike other parts of Campania in mainland Italy, Ischia retains architectural elements that still feel very Greek / Cycladic / Aegean in origin – white washed simple shaped buildings, rounded archways, windows, and even Moorish coppolas are visible throughout the island. The backside of the map features 18 photos highlighting distinctive architectural features found on the island.

Prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (PAT)

Italy has a classification system for protected local foods similar to DOP for regional wine classification which is a great research tool. While the Ischian rabbit stew is well documented, another local dish absolutely worth seeking out but lesser known is the humble bagpipe bean (fagiolo zampognaro). Grown on the south eastern side of the island exclusively, you can find in restaurants throughout the island, such as Cantinando in Casamicciola, frequently serving in a Gragnano pasta dish with mussles.

Location

Ischia, located in the bay of Naples, stands out as a captivating Italian island to visit due to its size and geographic position. It’s large enough to support year-round inhabitants with preserved cultural traditions, and many residents focus on the production of local natural products: wine, agriculture, livestock, hand-made crafts and more. For being a relatively small volcanic island (it takes about an hour and a half to circumnavigate), every side of the island has it’s own unique charm and swimming opportunities as well as preserved culinary traditions, crafts, folk customs and even distinct dialects.

When to visit

April, May, September & October are great to avoid summer crowds though I’ve been many times in the middle of August during Ferragosto which creates a very festival atmosphere on the beaches. For those interested in local food and drink, pick a time to go when a local festival / sagra is being held on the island, such as the Sagra del vino e saucicciata (a local pork sausage) in Serrara.

Free Time in: is a series of annotated travel maps for destinations of particular cultural merit and natural beauty by Drew Heffron.

Published by Sundries, 2024
Folded map, 4.5×6, flat: 27×17″
Offset printed on 70# text natural white stock
Edition of 500
Map photography by Ian Loring Shiver

Additional information

Weight 0.125 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 4.5 × .25 in