Treasures of Marsala

If you are entering Sicily via Trapani Airport, you might want to check out the nearby town of Marsala before you head out to the island’s more popular destinations.

True, this coastal town cannot compare to the attractions of Palermo, Agrigento and Castellamare del Golfo but history enthusiasts will delight in what it has to offer. It is not only a gateway to the archaeological island of Mozio and home to a valuable archaeological museum, it also boasts of the famous Marsala wine that wine-drinking visitors will surely enjoy.

Begin your tour of Marsala at the tourist information office located right smack at the town center, along Via XI Maggio. It is a must visit place not only for a map of local attractions but also for bus timetables that are valuable for scheduling trips to your next destination. It is also good to know that the town is located along the railway line of Palermo to Trapani, so it makes a practical and convenient take off point to the rest of Sicily.

From the tourist information office, proceed to the nearby Piazza della Republica, also known as Piazza Loggia. The towering Duomo stands proudly at the center, adjacent to the handsome Town Hall and surrounded by charming architecture. It is the ideal place to get a feel of the local atmosphere, take a seat at one of the cafes or restaurants opposite the Duomo, order a refreshing drink and watch people idle by.

By the color of the walls of buildings and balconies with hard iron, the square is very much reminded of the squares of Spanish cities.

You can then proceed to Porta Garibaldi and learn what role it played in Garibaldi’s historic feat. Take lazy strolls along the winding alleyways and discover impressive palazzi with ornate balconies. Be on the look out along the way for bars and wine shops where you can sample the famous local wine and perhaps, buy a bottle or two. Wine lovers can even take a tour of the town’s wine cellars along the wine road or the Strada del Vino Marsala. Of course, don’t miss the Museo Archaeologico where you can take a closer look at the ancient Phoenician Punic warship, antiquated artifacts, exquisite ancient jewelry, and the magnificent headless marble statue of Venus.

Each stay in Marsala, no matter how short it is, can not be imagined without visiting the famous “Florio” winery. Florio is one of the oldest wine companies in Marsala and the history of wine in this city is interwoven with the history of this company. The Winery was established in far-off 1833 by Vincenzo Florio, who was the first Italian entrepreneur to be passionate about the production of Marsala wine.

Nowadays the Marsala Florio production still occurs here, even though a part of the historical cellars have been restored and available to be visited by those who want to discover the world of this famous wine. The cellars are easy to reach and they can be visited all year round.

The tour begins with eight gigantic vats, made at the end of the 19th century and still used for ageing marsala, and continues through different rooms and numerous aspects of historical interest to the actual Cellar, where about 5.500.000 litres of Marsala are kept in silence and peaceful stillness.

Finally, no Marsala visit is complete without a side trip to nearby Mozia. Take a ferry to the island and begin your tour at the museum. The facility provides valuable information that will help you gain a better appreciation of the ruins and the historical significance of the area.

Some of the items on display include a vast exhibit of terracotta masks and funeral stele but the main attraction remains to be the 5th century Greek marble statue known as Giovanetto di Mozia or the Youth of Mozia. From the museum, bring along a copy of the island map and simply wander around. Follow one of the many footpaths, consult your map and you will soon have a pretty good idea of what the sprawling ruins represent.

Also, don’t miss the salt pans and their windmills on the shore of Mozia and do not forget to pass by Museo del Sale if you want to check out how a windmill looks from the inside.

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Ischia, an authentic Mediterranean beauty

Ischia, the largest island in the archipelago of Naples, is well known for the famed healing qualities of its thermal springs, that can be located in both public baths and dripping from sprouts throughout the beach. Around 28 km of attractive sandy beaches encircle their way around mountains and volcanoes with magnificent sights above oak and beech forests.

While Italian and Neapolitan are the main languages on the Ischia island, lots of people working in the travel sector communicate at the very least one more foreign language, with German and English being definitely the most commonly communicated and foreign languages.

Almost the entire coast of the island is suitable for swimming. There are also free but clean and well-equipped beaches. Some have, among other things, their own healing mud and thermal springs, which come directly to the sea. This natural attraction allows you to swim throughout the year, which is impossible in other areas of Italy.

If you want to visit the destination full of natural beauties, history, culture and much more surprises, definitely Ischia It should be on your list of ideal destinations.

Join us and discover with us some of the most beautiful corners of this magnificent island and experiences an authentic Mediterranean beauty.

Forio

Photo by: Fiore

Forio is a charming place of great beauty, famous to be one of the few places on earth wherein particular weather condition, during the sunset, the luckiest people can see the optical phenomenon of the green flash.

One of the main tourist attractions of Forio is the La Mortella tropical garden, whose creator was British composer William Walton, who founded his residence there. This floral paradise has an impressive variety of vegetation that is combined with basalt stones and fountains.

To discover the beauty of La Mortell takes time because it is full of surprises, unforgettable species and beautifully-decorated places. The botanical garden is open from April to November 4 times a week. You can also watch concerts in the summer.

Aragonian castle

Aragonian castle

The spectacular Aragonese castle is one of the main tourist attractions of the island. This fortress is located on an island east of Ischia, connected by a 200m-long island bridge surrounded by pine forests and beautiful sandy beaches. Its great historical and cultural value is surrounded by a privileged geographical position from which you can enjoy the beautiful views of the island and the sea. The height of the castle is 115 m, the total area is 543 m2.

Guevara or Michelangelo’s Tower

This is one of the best-known symbols of the island, just in front of the Castle, rebuilt on the ruins of an ancient fortress, likely one of the defense towers built from the XV century as a protection against pirates.

Casamicciola Terme

One of the aspects of Ischia’s most famous is its thermal water, In Casamiccioli, especially, from antiquity there are three most famous pools. These include the swimming pool Gurgitello, the swimming pool of Cotto and Sinigallia and the swimming pool Rita.

Poseidon Gardens

The most famous thermal park, located in Citara bay, is listed on UNESCO protected sites. In the cascades, there are 18 swimming pools, Roman baths, Japanese bath, nice infrastructure and, if you want, professional help and advice.

Baia De Sorgeto

Bay of Sorgeto, with hot thermal springs

In addition to the above mentioned thermal springs in Ischia, there are also “wild” sources of spa treatment. In the Bay of Sorgeto, the hot springs hit the sea, creating natural thermal baths. You can swim here even in winter. The experience is completely free of charge and opens all year round. It is accessible both by sea and on foot via a steep ramp of stairs that leave from the village of Panza.

Serrara Fontana

Serrara Fontana , Sant'Angelo

The area of Serrara Fontana, with Frassitelli and Falanga forest, represents the heart of the ancient rural and agrarian Ischia. Here is where you can still find green fields full of grape-vines, stone-houses once used as shelters by the farmers during harvest season, snow-pits where ice and snow were collected during winter and stored for the summer.

One of the main attractions of Serrare Fontane is the small town of San Angel. San Ángel also has a magnificent spa with an ancient tradition of treatment. No cars are allowed to drive in Sant’Angelo and unlike the other Ischia’s villages, it’s still a peaceful oasis.

While travelling around Sant’Angelo there are several footpaths that can take you up the hilltops. One of these is a footpath that goes to the thermal springs of Cavascura. Cavascura is a natural catchment area hollowed into the rock of a deep valley. This amazing ancient place still preserves its caves, its little waterfall, its hot springs that continue to come down from the mountain to a very high temperature of 90° C.

Photo by: www.serrara-fontana.eu

The place can be reached by the beach of Maronti in Barano, one of the biggest of the island. From the beach, a small path penetrates the hill. A stream of water indicates the presence of a spring, and, after a few meters, you will arrive at a place which is still intact from the times when Roman emperors and senators came here to get a dose of “leisure time and wellbeing”

People who love plants will be satisfied because the path that runs along the small river is full of spontaneous plants, like canes and papyrus.

In the baths carved in the volcanic rock, it is possible to soak; there is also a natural sauna carved in a cave and some baths of cold water. In the Spartan cabins, the wellness therapy continues with mud treatments and massages: Just like the Romans used to do two thousand years ago.

MONTE EPOMEO, iSCHIA

Also, there is an excursion to the Mount Epomeo, that tourists prefer to takes by night to can admire the wonderful sights of the daybreak.

Lacco Ameno

Lacco Ameno, Ischia
Photo by: Chiara Marra

In the municipality of Lacco Ameno we can find many tourist places, Among them we can highlight the City Hall, built in the seventeenth century; a natural amphitheater facing the sea; the parish of Santa María de las Gracias; museum and excavations of Santa Restituta and the church of SS. Annunziata, among many others.

Lacco Ameno is best known for its giant mushroom that juts from the sea. This unique tufa rock formation called Il Fungo is the result of the volcanic activity that blessed the island with its hot mineral springs.

Barano d’Ischia

Barano d’Ischia is the second largest city on the island, although not by population, but by territory. There are numerous places of extraordinary natural beauty, as well as a high historical and cultural value that is worth visiting.

Do not miss visiting the church of San Juan Bautista, one of the oldest buildings on the island dating from the fifteenth century, windmills in Montebarano, Pilastrian waterway dating back to 1470, and the Saracena Tower.

On the island, the largest number of pine forests are located in the municipality of Barano, which is an ideal place for an afternoon excursion into untouched nature. This regeneration oasis offers walking in the shade of pine, chestnut and oak trees and allows you to enjoy the characteristic Mediterranean fragrances.

Gardens of Villa Ravino

Cactus

Giardini Ravino is an arboretum with one of the greatest compilation of cacti and succulents planted outdoors in Europe. Giardini Ravino is also the location of Meristema Fair, an exhibition dedicated to both professional and quality amateur gardeners, enriched with seminars and hands-on experiences regarding biodiversity in nature.

Villa La Colombaia

Villa La Colombaia promotes cultural activities such as music, cinema, theatre, art exhibitions, workshops, and cinema reviews. For lovers of a good Italian film, a small museum, located within Ville La Colombaia, is a real attraction. It stores photographs and stuff, stages and objects related to the films of a great director. The villa and the park are open to the public.

Island Festivals

Ndrezzata Dance

Festa della “Ndrezzata” – Easter Monday
The “Festa della “Ndrezzata” is held in the village of Buonopane, near Barano. The “Ndrezzata”, is a typical dance from the island. It is a kind of rhythmic, violent and picturesque fight where the dancers are dressed in traditional island costumes and fight each other with wooden swords.

Festa San Vito – 14-18 June
Saint Vito is the patron of Forio, and in dedication, a four day festival is held at this time. A large amount of preparation goes into making this festival as alive and exciting as it can be. The streets of Forio are crowded with stalls selling all kinds of things from local delicacies, to island artwork, even pets like cats and parrots. The village is decorated with an array of lights and there is a massive fireworks display on the final eve of the festival. Festa San Vito is one of the most beautiful and busy festivals the island hosts and is a must to see if you are on the island during this time.

Foreign Film Festival – June
A cinema festival with premieres and retrospective themes dedicated to films located in Europe, especially Italy. Ischia, for example, was one of the favourite locations for films made in Italy from the 1950s onwards. Some of the films made here are “Vacanze a Ischia” with Vittorio De Sica, the colossal “Cleopatra” with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor and the more recent film “The Talented of Mr Ripley” with Matt Damon and Jude Law.

Vinischia – July
An event, which is entirely dedicated to food and wine and regional crafts. It has been organized each summer since 1999 at Torre Guevara at Ischia Ponte. Shows, concerts and dances are organized around the exhibitions, the food, and wine tasting.

Festa di Sant’Anna – 26 July
The Festa di Sant’Anna is held on July 26th each year in the borough of Ischia.
On that occasion, there is a sea parade of figurative boats from the island’s various boroughs and also from Procida, under the Castello Aragonese. The parade ends with a prize-giving ceremony and fireworks.

Settembre sul Sagarato – August and September
A village festival has been organized every year since 1988 in Ischia, that is held in Piazzale Battistessa, opposite the Church of San Pietro. The festival lasts for two weeks and is filled with painting exhibitions, parades of traditional costumes, wine tasting, “fagiolate” (bean stew tasting), concerts and shows

La Festa di Santa Restituta

La Festa di Santa Restituta is a festival in Lacco Ameno to commemorate their Patron Saint, Santa Restituta.
The festival begins each year on the 17th May until 19th May with religious ceremonies in homage to the saint at La Chiesa di Santa Restituta in the main piazza.
The period is marked with special lights being erected throughout the town while market stalls are set-up and sell all kinds of delicious local sweets and treats.

La Festa di San Michele

La Festa di San Michele takes place on the 29th & 30th September in Sant’Angelo. The celebrations begin from the small square by the harbour where a flotilla of small boats follow the statue of Saint Michael as it’s paraded on the sea towards the bay of Sorgeto. Along the shoreline the whole village is beautifully lit with candles and fires.

La Festa di Santa Maria al Monte

La Festa di Santa Maria al Monte takes place in Forio on the 12th September every year when the people of Ischia and Forio in particular converge on the hilltop location to celebrate the day. The occasion is marked by a series of masses at the church, a running event that starts from Forio town centre and finishes outside the church and hundreds of people having picnics in the forest close to the church.

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Ravello will make your vacation a memorable one

Are you planning a holiday vacation? It could be with your family, spouse or maybe alone. You might be wondering where exactly to travel to for this vacation. Ravello will make your vacation a memorable one. Actually, Ravello is Amalfi Coast hidden treasure.

Ravello is a picturesque place that proudly points out the name of the most romantic place in southern Italy. It is located on steep terraced slopes 400 meters above sea level. It is made up of quiet alleys and elaborate gardens. The place has always been appealing to artists from all over the world so in this place the famous composer Richard Wagner composed parts of the opera Parsifal.
Ravello because of its high position has no direct access to any beach, but still carries a title that is being visited by couples in love or various artist because of its perfect and unmistakable views of the sea and the nearby cliffs.

Looking for a holiday to Ravello?

Ravello as a lot to offer that will make you visit the town regularly. You and your loved ones will be able to enjoy the following while on vacation here in Ravello:

Spectacular restaurants/hotel environment as well as yummy meals.
There is a wide variety of foods that you and your loved ones will be able to benefit from while on vacation in Ravello town. These foods include Chicken, seafood, eggs, dessert and many other delicious dishes to select from. If you are going to take a dessert as your dinner meal, try the Lemon cake, which is a local speciality. Then, top it up with limoncello, which is a local liqueur prepared from the lemon. In fact, the liqueur has become very popular internationally.

You will not have fully discovered the beauty of Ravello if you haven’t tasted the Cuisine. In Ravello are located some of the best restaurants in the region. Some of these restaurants are, Rossellini’s, Belmond Hotel Caruso, Il Flauto di Pan Restaurant, Villa Maria’s Restaurant, Hotel Villa Fraulo, Hotel Palumbo, Hotel Rufolo, Hotel Graal, BW Hotel Marmorata and Villa Amore’s Restaurant.

Nonna Orsola Culinary Art School
If you want to learn more about cooking then, visit this art school and advance your cooking experience. You will get the opportunity to learn from some of the experienced chefs as well as gastronomic experts.

Short walks for exercise
You are able to enjoy beneficial walks while on vacation in Ravello. Some of the important walks that you can make are:
• Three hours Walk from Villa Cimbrone to Villa Rufolo and Back
• Two hours walk from Piazza Fontana Moresca to Duomo and Back
• Less than one hour walk through the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium.

See most spectacular viewing points:
• Belvedere Princess of Piedmont.
• Villa Cimbrone’s Terrace of Infinity.
• The terraces of Villa Rufolo.
• The Cathedral.

Belvedere Princess of Piedmont
Belvedere Princess of Piedmont is small grassy garden shaded with beautiful trees and planted with seasonal flowers. This is a very popular spot for weddings in Ravello since the city hall is just a short stroll away. There are some very well placed benches where you can sit and relax while enjoying the view.

Villa Cimbrone’s Terrace of Infinity
One of the main attractions of this place is Villa Cimbrone with an amazingly beautiful garden open to the public.

Before becoming a hotel and a site for weddings, conventions, and other events, the grounds were passed down from one influential family to another since the 11th century. It became apart of a nearby monastery around the 17th century and eventually fell into disrepair. In 1904, a British baron named Ernest William Beckett fell in love with the villa and purchased it with plans to renovate the grounds. With the help from Ravello architect Nicola Mansi and a French botanist, Beckett added the Villa’s garden, small temples, gazebos, and bronze and stone statues.

The Villa has attracted many famous admirers, including E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and Winston Churchill. Hollywood actress Greta Garbo and conductor Leopold Stokowski had a famous romantic getaway on its grounds in 1938. A stroll through the estate will reveal poetic inscriptions found on plaques and numerous replicas of Roman busts. One attraction is a statue of Mercury, the Roman messenger god, who invites visitors to a few moments of introspection. Another sight to see is the Terrace of Infinity, a serene location that sits high above a sheer cliff facing the ocean.

The terraces of Villa Rufolo
The 13th-century, Moorish-style Villa Rufolo offers far-reaching views from its terraced gardens. It is situated in Ravello’s main square and is a ten-minute walk from Villa Combrone. The Villa Rufolo is comprised of a main building that adjoins a chapel with a reception hall and an entrance tower. The tower, known as the Torre Maggiore, is 30 metres high and was once used to spot pirate ships arriving to the Amalfi coast. The estate overlooks the Bay of Salerno and its upper terrace gardens contain cypress trees, cycads, yuccas and palms.

The Cathedral
The Cathedral (Duomo) is Ravello’s cathedral, which is located in the town’s main square. Founded in 1086, the entrance of the Arabic-inspired church features two bronze doors that picture the 54 scenes of Christ’s life. These bronze doors are one pair of only two dozen in Italy.

Inside, the cathedral’s interior is made of sculpted white marble. Visitors can climb behind the altar to get a look of vials that contains St. Pantaleone’s holy blood or see a fragment of St. Thomas’ finger bone. In the crypt, the cathedral’s two-room museum features a third-century sarcophagus, marble slabs decorated with mosaics, and a reliquary bust that holds the skull of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of artillerymen and miners

Have your dream wedding in Ravello.

Ravello is a great wedding site. Actually, the town has become a wedding destination for Hollywood celebrities as well as rock/pop stars. Ravello guest book will confirm this.

Enjoy in great music
There are talented music artists in Ravello, who will entertain you. So if you love dancing, don’t worry because in Ravello you will get lifetime entertainment.

What are you waiting for; make that booking to Ravello now and have a great vacation.

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