castello aragonese ischia

Castello Aragonese Ischia

Charlotte and I are currently working on a travel story on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Napoli. The above photos depict Castello Aragonese d’Ischia, an ancient castle that was originally built some 25oo years ago. That’s a mind-bogglingly long time ago. Even for this country.

My very first visit to Italy was in 1983 during a month-long Inter Rail tour of Europe. It started with a few hours in Ventimiglia, three or four days in Rome, and before heading to Corfu on a night ferry across the Adriatic Sea (when I slept on the top deck next to four Danish gals and two guys from Canada), I spent a day in sleepy Brindisi.

In the forty years since, I’ve been fortunate to have experienced Venice, Siena, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Sorento, Florence, Capri, and now Napoli and Ischia.

It just struck me that aside from Sweden, there is no other European country I’ve visited more or as often.

So, I asked myself why and came up with a few, reasonable answers.

• How could I not fall in love with the country that “invented” pizza, pasta, and parmesan?
• How can I not appreciate a country with a language so beautiful and full of drama that even when spoken casually, it sounds like an opera (or, a spaghetti western)?
• How can I not admire a country with such a rich, colorful history spanning at least two millennia and with a reach as far south as Egypt, as far west as Portugal, as far north as Britain, and as far east as Turkey?

• How could I possibly not be in awe of a country with so many world-class artists, designers, and architects?

• How could I not adore a country that has had close to 70 different governments in less than 8 decades, an average of one every 1.11 years?
Italy is certainly the gift that just keeps on giving.