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ISCHIA: Island of Flowers

I am presently enjoying several weeks in my beloved Italy.  There is so much to write about but I think I have to give first place of honor to the Island of Ischia, which sits just off the coast from Naples.  We arrived in Naples, via Rome, on a Thursday evening and after six days catching up with jet-lag, eating LOTS of mozzarella (among many other good Italian dishes!), and going to Bahia Blanca, a favourite beach on the other side of Gaeta, we took the ferry over to Ischia. This is an island formed by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago.

The first thing that visitors to Ischia notice as the ferry approaches the island is how green and fresh everything is despite the heat.  Because Ischia is a volcanic island it is quite mountainous and its slopes are a rich green as they come down to meet the various towns and villages.  Almost every garden is rich in flowers which at the moment are in full summer bloom.

All of the streets are lined, usually on both sides, with tall rhododendron trees dripping flowers in every shade of pink imaginable.  Bougainvillea in all its many shades spills over walls, climbs fences, and trails up and down the walls of houses as though an artist had dipped many brushes into different colors on his palette and splashed them here and there in wild abandon. Hibiscus offer up their beautiful shallow open trumpets as though about to create some romantic perfumed symphony, and huge pregnant balls of mauve and blue blooms top the stems among the lush green foliage on large hortensia bushes. Everywhere is a riot of color.

But color does not stop with God’s amazing creation.  The residents of Ischia have added their own artistic touch to their island.  Houses are painted in every pastel tint available.  Shops are decorated with colorfully decorated tiles or painted murals and a wild profusion of products hangs in doorways, spills out onto the sidewalks, or fills windows in such a way as to entice the passerby to stop and peruse and, perhaps, buy. My heart and soul are filled with color since being here in Italy and Ischia has played a principal part in that.   

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