Discovering Italy’s Well Kept Secret Islands

You may have probably heard of Capri, and even Elba, which are both Italian islands. However have you ever heard of Giglio, Giannutri, or Ischia? These are only a few of Italy’s secret gems, waiting to be discovered by private crewed charter. You may be surprised on the actual variety of Italian islands off of the west coast of Italy, stringing along the coast from the top of the boot to the toe about which we never hear. Let’s take a look at the islands of Giglio, Giannutri and Ischia, all relatively unknown delightful inclusions in a crewed yacht charter itinerary.

Off of the tip of the Argentario Peninsula and a part of the Tuscan Islands, is the island of Giglio. Giglio has appeared in history for centuries, first mentioned by Julius Caesar in his “De Bella Gallico”. However the crowning glory of Giglio is the medieval walled village, Giglio Castello, which is perched on the very top of the island.

Giglio Castello, still an operating village, is surrounded by medieval stone walls complete with 10 towers. Take a trip up to the top of this island to wander the little winding streets of Giglio Castello, a village stopped in time. Have lunch in one of many restaurants offering simple local food, and sample the local amber colored wine called Asonaco. A town bus that toils up and down the switchback roads from the harbor to Giglio Castello throughout the day is obtainable to all for a small fee. Any local can direct you to the bus stops at both the underside and the top of the island.

Surrounding the primary harbor, at sea level, is Giglio Porto, a charming fishing village with multicolored buildings. Giglio is thought for crystal clear waters as is obvious in the harbor, where the harbor bottom is definitely seen. If there may be room in the harbor for visiting yachts, your Captain can tie up stern to, otherwise, the Captain can anchor your yacht off of Giglio and you can take the ship’s tender into the primary harbor. Giglio is a superb overnight stop on a personal crewed yacht charter itinerary. Near Giglio is the island of Giannutri, just south of the Argentario Peninsula, and the most southerly island of the Tuscan Island Archipelago. Giannutri and Giglio are joined together not only by proximity, but also by government for the two islands are part of the same Italian “frazione” or government territory.

This island, which is barely 5 kilometers in length, has now been declared a national park, and there are specific areas with mooring balls available for visiting yachts. The shoreline is stuffed with caves and grottos worn into the cliff sides. Due to the remote unspoiled nature of the island, the encompassing waters are still home to whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Inside the caves and along the shoreline are urchins, sponges, starfish, and other underwater life. This is great spot for snorkeling, however fishing in this designated national park area, aside from by island residents, is not allowed. In the course of the Roman Period, the island belonged to the powerful Enobardi family who built a magnificent villa sheathed in marble. This villa was rumored to have had a pool filled with Moray Eels, kept as a visual reminder of family power. The outlines of this villa and pool are still to be seen today on the island. Take a picnic ashore and wander through the ruins of this Roman villa. Stop in Giannutri for a morning or afternoon, and enjoy an island that few have visited, and about which even fewer are aware.

Further south off of the coast of Naples, and a part of the Naples Bay Islands, is the island of Ischia. That is a big island in comparison to the remainder of the Italian islands along this coastline. Unlike neighboring islands, Ischia is volcanic in nature and still has active bubbling volcanic activity with many hot thermal mineral springs and the resulting volcanic mud. Long considered an island with healing waters, Ischia has been visited by many over the centuries hoping for the stated healing qualities of the thermal springs. Now the island survives on tourism oriented around the many health and wonder thermal spas and pools.

Stone IslandThe Aragonese Castle is a landmark on the island built on a nearby islet, connected by a stone bridge, inbuilt 1438. While a fortification has stood on this volcanic rock since 474 BC, the principle castle seen today was largely built by Alfonso of Aragon in the 15th century. After the volcanic eruption on the island of Ischia within the early 1300’s, most of the inhabitants fled to live on this islet, which was home to over 1000 families for several centuries. While the Castle is now privately owned, certain parts of the fortifications, and the enclosed village built by the villagers over several centuries are open to visitors, including a small museum featuring instruments of torture. During this period of inhabitation, an active convent was located inside the castle walls from the 1500’s through to the 1800’s. Still standing within, is the Nun’s cemetery, where bodies of deceased nuns were perched on chairs that surrounded the living nuns as they said their prayers while meditating on mortality, a clearly evident lesson.

Through the centuries, the inhabitants of Ischia from the early Greek to modern times have also been active in viticulture, because the mineral rich volcanic soil is superb for wine grape growing. Now plenty of boutique wineries are operating on Ischia. Besides producing some award winning vines, several of those wineries welcome visitors. Winery Pietratorcia has a restaurant serving dinners with reservations only, where typical country style foods are served in compliment alongside their estate produced wines. These boutique wines are gaining recognition as Ischian wines have been long recognized over the centuries as a superior wine. Other island products include lemons, oregano and capers, all basics for southern Mediterranean cuisine.

A new marina has been in-built Ischia, however there can be dockage in the main port, which is very busy, and anchorages around the island. Visit the Aragonese Castle, make a reservation for a healing spa or pool treatment, and enjoy fresh seafood in an area shoreside restaurant. Ischia also has the unique attraction of thermal parks. Within these parks, are quite a lot of pools with mineral waters from cold, warm, hot to very hot. Spend time inside a park rotating between the pools or relax in a natural sauna. In case you have a robust interest in the suggested healing qualities of the varied thermal mineral springs, all of island natural springs have all been examined and documented for the mineral contents of the waters. The minerals and proportions of minerals do vary from spring to spring, so check for the very best spring to your particular interests. Spending not less than a day and night in Ischia is a must and spending even two days during your crewed yacht charter may be very easy to do.

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