There is no doubt that we prefer exploring islands rather than the mainland: at least in this part of the Mediterranean, islands tend to offer way more options for cruisers when it comes to anchoring. In this “episode” we take you to some of the nicest islands we have visited this year.
After spending another rolling night at the anchor next to Amalfi, we got up at 5am, had a quick breakfast and motored along the Amalfi Coast: once again we were heading north. We decided to skip Capri and Sorrento, as we were expecting to find the same chaos we had to deal with in the Cost.
Instead, we crossed the Gulf of Naples and reached the island of Procida, where at 10:00am we were already berthed in Chiaiolella at the Procida Yachting Club: a really small and nice natural port, on the west side of the island.
Procida, together with Ischia, Vivara and Nisida is part of the Phlegraean Islands. In Procida we spent 3 days, working and visiting. One of the places we loved the most was Corricella, the oldest village of Procida.
Corricella is arranged in an amphitheater on the sea and surrounded by nets lying on the dock, the small fishing village is a peaceful and attractive place. For movie lovers: Corricella has featured in more than 30 movies including The Postman (Il Postino), The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cleopatra.
Taking about culture: for those of you willing to travel to Italy next year, keep in mind that in 2022 Procida will be the italian capital of culture. You can check out the webpage procida2022.com to find useful information on the events that will be organized throughout the year.
After spending the night at Corricella, we crossed the 1,3 nm narrow Ischia Channel to get to Ischia. Immediately, our attention was captured by the ancient Aragonese Castle, a majestic structure built by Hiero I of Syracuse in 474 BC.
We anchored next to the castle to better admire its awesomeness, we found out that, not far from where we dropped our anchor, submerged by 9 metres of water, lies Aenaria: small Atlantis, an ancient Roman city that is still today a place full of mystery. For the Romans, Aenaria was an important industrial centre: clay, iron, copper and lead were processed here.
We spent several days in Ischia and managed to visit the island extensively. On a couple of occasions, at noon, we were allowed to moor Bolero for free in some of the main harbours of Ischia. When we berthed in Ischia Porto, after an unsuccessful attempt to get our second shot of vaccine, we had lunch at “dal Calabrese“. There, we were very well welcomed by Chiara, the owner of the restaurant. Chiara is a charming lady who used to work on luxury yachts and was really interested to listen to our sailing adventures.
Immediately she told us that if we wanted, we could have spent the night moored for free at the nearby gas station. Without hesitation, she called her friends at the local port authorities who gave us the needed authorization.
At 8:00pm we moored stern-to and a few minutes later we were watching Italy playing the semi final of the European Football Championship. Italy won. It was just a perfect day.
The next day we sailed to the nearby village of Lacco Ameno and anchored 500 meters from the small harbour. We then paddled to land and enjoyed some of the typical neapolitan pastry: the so called sfogliatella napoletana – filled with a custard-like mixture of semolina, sugar, ricotta, eggs, candied citrus peels and a hint of cinnamon…so gnammy!
Before lunch we continued our journey around Ischia and we reached Forio, on the western side of the island. Forio is a favorite among visitors to the island both for the beauty of its beaches and for its charming historic center with noble palazzi, art shops, and small artisan boutiques.
Some of the must-sees in Forio are the Saracen watchtowers and a number of historic churches, including the Chiesa del Soccorso, Santa Maria di Visitapoveri, and the Papal Basilica of San Vito Martire, known by locals simply as the Church of San Vito.
In the afternoon, we rejoined Bolero and sailed a few miles to Seno di San Montano, on the northern tip of Ischia: a bay surrounded by the hydro thermal park of Negombo with several pools of marine and thermal waters.
Before leaving Ischia, we wanted to visit the southern area: we spent a day anchored at the San Pancrazio Bay as we took shelter from some strong northerly winds. The bay offers superb protection thanks to its high cliffs: we didn’t notice any wind in the bay but we did notice how it got crowded during the day, with many small local boats.
Finally, the next day, we sailed to the nearby village of Sant’Angelo, our last stop in Ischia. Sant’Angelo is a small but truly beautiful village built next to a giant rock with a small strip of beach that joins the two parts of the town. I’m sure Sant’Angelo gets very busy during the high-season, but this time of the year (beginning of July) it was just perfect.
Ischia took a special place in our hearts. There is something special about the island and its inhabitants: we had great experiences and unique interactions with them. Until the next time!