Bummeln im Forio und verwöhnen lassen im Beauty Salon Belleseere ...
... und Prosseco
... Kaffee trinken
Nel 1949 il musicista William Walton decise di stabilirsi nell'isola d'Ischia con la moglie argentina Susana. I coniugi costruirono ai piedi del monte Zaro, una colata di roccia lavica, una villa circondata da un grandioso giardino botanico. La realizzazione del giardino (la cui ideazione risale al 1956) fu affidata, negli anni '60, all'architetto paesaggista Russell Page, il quale disegnò tutta la sistemazione del giardino a Valle, integrandolo fra le pittoresche formazioni rocciose.
Oggi La Mortella è composta da due parti profondamente diverse: La Valle, appunto, disegnata da Russell Page, caratterizzata da un clima subtropicale, umida e protetta dal vento, e la Collina o giardino superiore, interamente ideato e sviluppato da Lady Walton, con zone assolate e battute dal vento e caratterizzate da vegetazione proveniente dalle aree mediterranee. Nel giardino superiore sono presenti la sala Thai, circondata da fiori di loto, bambù e aceri giapponesi, il tempio del Sole, arricchito da bassorilievi di Simon Verity; la cascata del Coccodrillo; il Ninfeo; il Teatro greco e la roccia di William, un masso trachitico posto su di un promontorio a circa 120 metri dal livello del mare, dove sono custodite le ceneri dell'artista e di sua moglie.
Il giardino si sviluppa su un'area di circa 2 ettari e raccoglie più di 3000 specie di piante esotiche e rare. È inoltre arricchito da ruscelli e laghetti, fontane, piscine, corsi d'acqua che permettono la coltivazione di piante acquatiche come papiro, fior di loto e ninfee tropicali, mentre dai terrazzamenti delineati sui muri a secco mediterranei è possibile godere di una delle più suggestive viste della baia di Forio.Read more
The Citera Beach south of Forio (end of Line 2) is very nice, resorts along it and then Poseidon at the end. It is quite large and a bit of a process getting organized - €10 deposit for bracelets, then need to rent towel (€4) and robe (€7) with a deposit for those (cash only for deposits). Quick salad and water in the self serve restaurant (€10,50, not a rip off) and then we went through the suggested route taking 2 hours to go from coolish pool, to a sauna in the rock grotto, plunge, and then increasing temperatures in the pools. Liked Arethrusa 36 C the best as it has a great view. The sauna was a feature — a cleft/cave in the mountainside that is a volcanic vent and the hot water runs under the benches and out beneath your feet.
Gardens were lovely. Pathways quite safe, good handrails. Bring your own bottles of water with you if you go as there are no fountains around.
Had to be certain to leave time for catching the bus but it was right on time for departure from just outside Poseidon. Pleasant ride back in time to look around Porto a bit and get on the ferry.
A somewhat rushed but enjoyable day overall and now we know what Mediterranean islands look like. The Greek colour scheme is entering the environment as we saw more houses of white and bright blue trim on Ischia than anywhere else.Read more
Our mission today was to enjoy a little bit of the western section of the island, by first heading to Giardini La Mortella. This garden is one of the top things to do here on Ischia, and was recommended also by our Air B&B host in Rome, and after a long morning we knew why - it was truly spectacular.
Mortella is in fact the Italian name of Myrtus communis (a relatively common hedging plant in Australia with edible berries), which used to grow wild and populate the hillside where the gardens were developed.
The garden is the life’s work of the 1900s composer William Walton’s wife; Susana Walton. Gardening was her passion, and she created the garden for the sole purpose of providing her husband with a place to relax. Landscape designer Russel Page was adopted to support in the early stages of the gardens design; a project at the time which expected to take 10 years. Since it’s inception, it’s continued to be developed to this day, but its bones and core aesthetics remains the same. Page took his inspiration from the surrounding environment. This meant embracing the naturally rocky outcrops of the garden, which features steep steps and dry stone walling created from rock mined on site. The curved paths create a sense of mystery, with small rooms providing vistas to Forio, and irregularly shaped ponds full of water Lilly’s and other Italianate features.
While the garden today begins in the valley beneath the rocky face and features a long simple water feature connecting three small fountains, Russell Page originally said no to any water (as it wasn’t natural given the landscape), until Naples connected Ischia on town water supply some 12 years later.
One of the fountains is octagonal shaped, created for Williams 80th birthday. Interestingly and hilariously, William had a button installed in his room so he could turn off the fountains after Susana had entertained guests, and continue composing in silence.
One of the gardens prize pieces is it’s Victoria House, a small glasshouse with a pond featuring three different species of of Victoria, the giant prickly water Lilly’s. Rhett themselves are fascinating, closing their flowers in the evening and overnight turning in colour and gender from female to male.
There is a small recital hall on site which was created after William’s death to provide aspiring artists a place to practice and develop confidence in front of real audiences. This opportunity continues to this day, as does the outdoor concerts in the on site performance open air theatre with stadium seating built into the rocky face of the gardens, and with Forio as the backdrop far below.
We watched a 45 minute video (made in the ?90s?) that had Susana guide us through the garden. In this, she shares a drink of Prosecco, Lemon and Mortella with a young artist who has just performed a recital. This is a drink she proudly created and self describes as ‘a miracle combination’! One which we enjoyed afterwards at the dainty little garden cafe, accompanied by a deliciously sweet and savoury bruschetta and a lemon almond cake - molte bene!
The last interesting point I’ll mention is that William’s remains were put inside a natural pyramidal rock over looking the garden. Next to ‘William’s Rock’ there is a permanent bowl of Felicia’s, paying tribute to the colour of his eyes.
If one ever finds themselves in Ischia, visiting Giardini La Mortella is essential. The spirit of both Susan and William Walton lives on in the garden’s aura, bestowed to the trust that maintains it.
After visiting the garden, we made a beeline to the slither of ‘free’ beach in Forio where we cooled down in the Mediterranean. We wandered the streets of Forio, visited its Basilica atop a spur jutting into the sea, then returned back to our beloved (and quieter) Lacco Ameno.
After a cooling shower, we headed to the local Archaeological Museum of Pithecusae to see ‘Nestor’s Cup’ in all its glory. This pottery wine cup dates back to the eighth century BC and was discovered in 1954 at Pithecusae (first Greek colony name of Ischia). It is significant in having one of the earliest surviving examples of writing in the Greek alphabet.
That evening, we wandered into town and feasted on seafood while watching cute Italian children dance their little hearts off to the music blaring in the streets. Tonight was some kind of musical street party, with numerous performers busting out tunes on the foreshore. We spent some time on the fringe of the dance floor bopping along to what must have been popular Italian songs, with the locals singing along, worded for word.Read more
We decided before we went to sleep last night that today would be dedicated loosely to life admin (ie. washing a tonne of dirty laundry) and exploring the area of Lacco Ameno. That seemed to warrant a sleep in.
After a homemade breakfast of champions (supplies entirely by our lovely host Bjorn - thanks Bjorn!), Ant set off to run errands around town while I....did Pilates.
We both had a productive hour as Ant was able to book us tickets for the boat to Amalfi on Thursday and also grabbed some washing machine detergent at the local supermarket. He even made a new friend in one of the local nonnas who helped him pick some natural detergent. Awww.
Clothing was washing and hung.
Sunscreen was applied.
Another supermarket run was made for dinner supplies - I can’t communicate what a hectic experience that was, it was every man for themselves (and deli meats!)!
Snacks and bottled were packed.
Beach time was upon us!
We spent a few hours at the local beach (Spiaggia di San Montano) before we both had had enough of the loud locals standing close to our faces, the smoking and the dusty sand. But the water was really refreshing!
After a cold shower we did some necessary Sri Lanka research and started prepping dinner. We have been looking forward to having a kitchen to cook food in for weeks, so we kept it simple - oven baked chicken with onion, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, lemon and extra virgin olive oil alongside fresh bread and a caprese salad. We’re all about variety here...
We decided to go for a quick walk through the town after dinner, as it’s at its best at 10pm at night, when the temperature is cooler. It’s apparently also an opportunity tor the holidaymakers to put on their best clothes and go out for dinner. We however, feel like it’s perfectly acceptable to rock dirty jeans shorts and Tiva sandals while we scope out the gelato options...Read more
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