By Rosi Price.
This is my third stay in Ischia, a small island in the Bay of Naples. I’ve been keeping this place a secret, but the time has come for me to share it. This must be one of the healthiest places in the world, and yet no one seems to know about it!
That’s a pretty bold statement but where else in Europe can you bathe in warm sea all year round – sea which is infused with healing thermal spring waters?
The island is famous for its hot springs. The thermal water which finds its way out of the volcanic rocks is capable of remineralising the body, helping so many conditions from arthritis to depression.
I have met people who tell of the most amazing cures and come here annually to boost their health. At present Ischia attracts health tourists who are mainly from Germany and are brought up to understand the benefits of thermal waters.
This year, when I arrived in April, I left behind a snow-covered England. After an entire month here we have had, on the whole, bright sunshine with temperatures in the mid twenties – a fabulous antidote to our dreary winters.
Baia Di Sorgeto, a small bay on the south side of the island, is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. The hot springs run directly into the sea and form hot pools of thermal/mineral sea water making it possible to sit in the sea even in the middle of winter. Be careful, though, as the water comes out at over 90 degrees and some of the pools are so hot that locals use them to cook potatoes and eggs!
By the pools there is a cave where a man, who has worked here for years, offers mud treatments at around 5 or 10 euros – a bit cheaper than your average spa! Be sure you bring a jar of mud home with you – it will leave you positively glowing.
Whilst on the island, I always stay at Residence Baia di Sorgeto – it’s fabulous value and an ideal location.
It’s a small complex of apartments with a large swimming pool constantly heated by the thermal water and a small, totally thermal pool complete with hydrotherapy jets. These particular waters are a combination of sodium, bromine/iodine and sulphur, they are chlorine free and amongst other things are particularly good for psoriasis. During the winter the apartment’s central heating system is run by the thermal water!
Staying in an apartment is important to me because of my diet. I’m a vegan and also not able to tolerate gluten so restaurants tend to be challenging (or at least I’m challenging for them!)
Each apartment has a small cooker and fridge – and a balcony where you can enjoy your meals while gazing out at the sea.
Owners Peppino and Rosa go out of their way to make everyone’s stay an absolute pleasure. The fact that Peppino speaks English is a big advantage – he was a training manager at the Savoy in London in the late 60s.
The local town of Panza, about a 20 minute walk, has probably the best fruit and vegetable shop I’ve ever come across. Most of the products are local and whilst they are not advertised as organic, the shapes testify to the absence of sprays. And about 50 metres from the apartment my husband discovered Louisa’s tiny vineyard – she sells organic wines, lemons cut from her trees, capers and a selection of jams.
For a healthy, energising retreat that’s great value for money I can’t recommend this place highly enough.
Though I feel I must warn you…be careful because it is addictive!