Ischia may not be the most well-known island off the coast of Italy, but it is certainly one of the most beautiful. Reached by hydrofoil, it sits in the Bay of Naples below blue skies and above azure seas. Having been created by volcanic activity about 65,000 years ago, Ischia is bathed in thermal waters, has an abundance of rich soil and features a towering mountain at its heart. The thermal activity is a key reason why there are so many great spas here and even some of the beaches give you access to the healing powers of the water.
The way in which the island was formed also has a lot to do with its rocky landscapes and bountiful blooms. A soft rock known as tufo can be seen in many places - its malleable qualities allowing it to be shaped by the changing environment to the point that it is now intertwined with the landmarks. In fact, one of Ischia's most famous landmarks, the Mushroom Rock, is made entirely from the rock. Meanwhile, the fertile soil, enriched by minerals from thousands of years of volcanic activity, has enabled many species of flora that you would usually find in tropical climates to flourish here in Italy.
There is plenty of history to learn about on this beautiful island as well. The Aragonese Castle stands on its own island and is joined to Ischia via a small isthmus. Along with a number of smaller towers dotted around the coastline, it is a great example of the defences built to deter the French, Spanish and, later, pirates.