“Islands are like ships at permanent anchor,” Truman Capote wrote when stepping onto the shoresof the tiny Italian island of Ischia in 1949. “One is seized by the same feeling of charmed suspension.” Wefelt the same way when we arrived here more than 60 years later. Little has changed in the portof 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, Ifollowed the advice of friends and set out from Forio, the island’s largest town, to find the MezzatorreResort on the northwestern shore. In the 16th century, the building, which is carved into the bluffsoverlooking the sea, was a lookout tower that Ischians used to search for pirates. Todayit’s the most glamorous, relaxing place on the island. A pool, ringed by chaise lounges, shimmers underthe sun, while Italians—who have reached a uniquely Italian shade of bronze—drink local Biancolellawine 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 thedelicious 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.