Update from Ischia

Reflections on Ischia from Barney’s menswear guru.

“Islands are like ships at permanent anchor,” Truman Capote wrote when stepping onto the shores
of the tiny Italian island of Ischia in 1949. “One is seized by the same feeling of charmed suspension.” We
felt the same way when we arrived here more than 60 years later. Little has changed in the port
of this volcanic island across the bay from Capri. The buildings are still pistachio-and-sorbet-colored,
and the rhythms are syrupy slow. But the island surprises. On a crisp morning last week, I
followed the advice of friends and set out from Forio, the island’s largest town, to find the Mezzatorre
on the northwestern shore. In the 16th century, the building, which is carved into the bluffs
overlooking the sea, was a lookout tower that Ischians used to search for pirates. Today
it’s the most glamorous, relaxing place on the island. A pool, ringed by chaise lounges, shimmers under
the sun, while Italians—who have reached a uniquely Italian shade of bronze—drink local Biancolella
wine poolside. That night I returned with my friends to eat at Chandelier, one of its two restaurants.
The sunset and scores of candelabras provided the golden light. Chef Giuseppe D’Abundo provided the
delicious Mediterranean menu, which included homemade egg lasagne filled with lobster and crabmeat.
After dinner we retired for drinks on the patio, the Med endlessly crashing in the darkness. “Ischia,”
Capote wrote, “is no place for the rush of hours; islands never are.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

Mezzatorre Resort & Spa: sea-view rooms in the tower, from $450;
Via Mezzatorre, 23; 39-08/198-6111. The 2012 season begins April 19.

Member of Fine Hotels, Resorts & Spas.