La Mortella: a paradise of colors

Every time you walk into the entrance of Giardini La Mortella seems to be living a sort of transition between the outside world and the boundless space of greenery and flowers, making it a timeless place, thanks to the flourishing plants, which fill and color every corner, come from different countries and latitudes.Tree ferns of the Southern continent, and aloe Proteas from South Africa, Yuccas and Mexican Agaves, Magnolias, Bauhinie, Palm, Cycad, are a continual discovery, a journey around the world, which attracts the most distant and exotic places. We are instead in Zaro, in the municipality of Forio, a few steps from the beach of San Francesco, in this spectacular place elected in 2004 by the Great Italian Gardens “The most beautiful Garden of in Italy”.
The birth of this enchanted garden, is only due to the love, the one between the Argentine Susana Valeria Rosa Maria Gil Passo and the famous English composer Sir William Walton, who made their nest in flower. Lady Susana has been able to transform it in 1958 in a beautiful garden La Mortella a villa like an amphitheater overlooking the sea in Forio, who had taken care of her husband, transforming over 50 years, for love, a barren quarry in an enchanted garden with a small pond in the center, filled with aquatic plants.
How it was for us, so for sure you will not be difficult to follow the route of La Mortella, open to visitors since 1992, thanks to the map that will deliver you at the entrance that highlights the points of interest and the main plants.
It starts of course from the valley, in the garden designed by Russell Page, one of the greatest landscape painters of the 1900, traversed by a stream of water and with several fountains, such as the low eight sides, an octagon at the center of a terrace always octagonal, designed and built as a gift for the eightieth birthday of Sir William, surrounded by magnolias, and by the collection of Cycadaceae.
The journey continues. We are accompanied by the chirping of birds, from the roar of water and shadows of many specimens of trees chosen for the shape and color of their foliage, as well as larger Liriodendron tulipifere, about twenty feet high, which produce yellow flowers like tulips by hosting their trunks baskets in which they live epiphytic plants: orchids, Tillandsias, ferns and other bromeliads. Arriving at the main fountain, you can see tree ferns and Geranium maderense, while on the warmer side stands a collection of palm trees Brahea, Yucca, Agave and succulents, lovers more exposure sunny and dry.
At this point, you have to stop at the magnificent terrace of the bar, which overlooks the lush nature, to enjoy a pleasant moment of relaxation before heading to the upper garden, designed and developed by Lady Walton since 1983, the year of master’s death.
In a position that dominates the entire Forio, there is the Rock of William, where are the ashes of the master; it is a natural stone pyramid, which William Walton called “his stone” the day on which the property was purchased.
In the most remote area, far right with the Rock of William, is the Nymphaeum, which appears as an element of surprise in the entire garden. Where the landscape of the Aude is exuberant, colorful, asymmetrical, lush, the Nymphaeum is based on a geometric hedges of well-modeled. The water that feeds the fountain flowing from a small cave, carved out of the rock of the mountain, and the source is guarded by a statue of a reclining Venus. Here, accompanied by the murmur of the water, lie the ashes of Lady Walton.
Not far away is the imposing Temple of the Sun, which is divided into three large spaces located in an ancient cistern of rainwater for irrigation converted, with the walls lit by the rays of the sun filtering through openings in the ceiling and bas-reliefs of mythological inspiration, by Simon Verity.
Let us now just drive by your sense of smell. Fragrant herbs and shrubs, with a collection of ornamental sage, geranium aromatic, thyme, lavender and plectranthus will captivate you, taking you to the most scenic place, the Greek theater, which at night offers a particularly striking set design.
The summer concert season organized by the Fondazione William Walton and La Mortella, which always presents itself as a center of study for talented young musicians also offering scholarships, it is here that gives you an appointment for evenings of jazz, theater, cinema, entertainment, opera. The Foundation, now the owner of the garden, handles all: organizes visits to the garden, master classes for young musicians and concerts for the public in the Recital Hall, chamber music, and in fact the Greek theater, where concerts are held en plein air with youth orchestras.
Both in variety and richness of the collections La Mortella can be regarded as a botanical garden, the plants have not been placed on the basis of systematic or illustrative criteria, but by considerations of cultural, artistic and scenic considerations. The final effect is lush and exotic, with lush vegetation that accompanies the large volcanic rocks and sometimes seems to swallow.
In your stay in Ischia cannot miss a visit to this heavenly place!


Wineries Mazzella: the mark of quality!

Ischia land of sun, sea, nature, colors; Ischia fertile soil for growing grapes and producing wines that you do enjoy and appreciate, not only in our local ground.
The Wineries Mazzella, in Campagnano have always been synonymous with commitment, sacrifice, perseverance and passion for the screws and its precious fruit: the result can only be a wine of the highest quality ever wanted even outside the Italian boundaries.Nicola who we meet on a rainy morning in July, talks about that is a real family tradition started by his grandfather; in fact, their winery, founded in 1940, was carried forward by his father Antonio to water the villagers with simple table wines.
So three generations, and a past full of sacrifices and commitment: this is the story of the wineries Antonio Mazzella “the company in 1991 comes out with the first Doc, Ischia Bianco, then turned to Biancolella and now ‘Vigna del Lume’. The entire vineyard property is dedicated to the vineyard of ‘Vigna del Lume’. The company currently produces about 100,000 DOC bottles a year and from 30 to 50000 table wines”.
The Forestera and Biancolella in purity, basic, are the exciting and solar expression of these two vineyards of Ischia.
One on hints of yellow fruit, juicy and crunchy, tasty and refreshing; the other with a more floral note and Mediterranean maquis. The Mazzella family also buy grapes from 45-conferrer islanders who always offer a product from one year to the highest level.
Among the reds should be stressed without doubt the Ischia Per e Palumm: a piedirosso to drink, rich in red fruit, fresh and savory. Lovely in its simple design, so rare to come across.
Vigna del Lume, Villa Campagnano and Villa di Levante are also 3 other real jewels of Casa Mazzella.
The Nero 70, says Nicholas, “was designed and produced for a 70th Company and is now being produced in every year in which it is possible for the favorable weather conditions, it is in fact a late harvest, so the grapes remain on the vine until the third week of November and then be crushed pressed allowing the production of about 1,500 bottles a year”: a surprising wine: rich, yet not heavy, rich notes of pepper and ripe blueberry.
The fundamental choice is the Casa Mazzella bet on quality: “we would need even more important because the wines produced in mid-September are completely sold out and we are opening up more to foreign markets having already orders for next year both for Germany, America and the Netherlands. To be sure that next year will be foreign and even if we do not have much product we tend to centralize in other markets to let us know; certainly not because we are expanding beyond these bottles tend greatly and exclusively to the quality that today is the only way forward from my point of view.
This year we have also begun to participate Wine Competition and immediately we received two major state in the Vigna del Lume and Villa Levante while the Villa of Campagnano was not ready yet so we have not been able to send”.
We ask Nicola to illustrate the specific peculiarities of the Vigna del Lume: “It is essentially an Ischian Biancolella of Grapevine born at 30 mt. from the sea, the distinction lies in the fact that is aged from 15 to 20 days, so there are very pronounced notes of ripe fruit; is a product that is very soft in the mouth and at the same time with beautiful acidity and iodine and the sea offers these notes that are highlighted by all who pass here, an almost salty sea that gives us a special really important, therefore, that comes out.
The Villa Campagnano  is instead a blend of two grapes, Biancolella and Forastera, but the peculiarity is that they are joined together in winemaking and fermentation takes place in new barrels, not in chestnut barrels but in those of oak; once all is fermented in stainless steel and batonagge and remains with the lees are removed continuously, every other day for the first few weeks, to give fullness and body build, all this from late November to late May: this year has been bottled in early June. It is certainly a wine very full, very different from the canons of Ischia, however, working with passion among the vineyards and cellar where it is possible to make things very very nice”.
Nicola also reveals to us an important novelty of this year: “we’re going to come out with an organic Biancolella managed by a company that has a half acre of vineyards, both white and red, then this news will follow this line in which we believed from the beginning and this year the test will consist of approximately 2000 bottles, plus we have two thick ready for lands to clean up, fix up and bring to a vineyard, it will take time, it will take years to actually fix them”.
Unless of care required the company to the maximum limits treatments to offer products that are the expression of a naturalness and authenticity without comparison. It is an island that works that one we face. There is only one wine cellars Mazzella who do not deserve to be explored. There is nothing that does not make you fall in love with the precious fruit of the vine. Go and find it.


Ravino Gardens: between dream and reality

When in the 1960s he started collecting plants from around the world, Captain D' Ambra would never have imagined being able to get to introduce today a unique collection in Europe. But the passions always pays off. “Open a botanical garden was my dream come true”. Putting together many plant species, found all over the world, in one place and allow, researchers and enthusiasts to be able to appreciate the features without having to go to one side of the Earth.


The procession of San Michele

Sant’ Angelo, a small fishing village in the south of the island renews every year at the end of September the homage to the patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel.
Don Vincenzo Fiorentino, son of the nearby village of Panza, is over 50 years pastor of St. Angelo, at the helm of one of the smaller parishes of the island, active such as since 1905 after years of “dependency” from the Parish of St. Maria del Carmine in Serrara.

My Ischia: Music and Nature

My Ischia: Music and Nature

My first time on Ischia dates back to 1991. My chronic pharyngitis needed waters like those of Ischia, and the decision to make on where to go was easy to take. I, who always prefer the sea to the beautiful mountains, was able to inaugurate a new therapeutic experience combining marine vacation with thermal spa. I never imagined to meet so much beauty and history, breathtaking views, gastronomic havens, and extraordinary warmth of the people. But despite all this the following year I changed my destination. Moreover, this was a habit with my husband and the boys: the pleasure of the holiday coincided with the opportunity to visit and learn about different places every summer. It was the case of Alto Adige or Trentino, and for bathing places.


Bettina, the textile artist

The smell of vinegar comes to my nostrils just crossed the threshold of her laboratory. The wall is filled with bowls and colors. Five are fundamental ones, but the nuances created are endless. The needle and the thread are ready to finish the edges. In the pot rest just silk fibers dyed. Red and blue: vitality and calm in comparison. It's almost a science. A little of this, a little of that, the difference being that there are no rules and the arrival point is always an ongoing quess.


Collage by Rosario

Among the specialties that make even today the island of Ischia a unique place in the world, stands no doubt the manufacture of ceramics, millennia of art born from the skillful combination of what the ancient Greek philosophers of Asia Minor considered the four basic elements of the cosmos and the four roots of Being: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. And as the demiurge of Platonic reminiscence did with the world, so an island artist of rare talent enjoys today shaping the clay: Rosario Scotto di Minico, a native of Campagnano of Ischia.


September 8, 1943

It was night between 8 and 9 September. Forio fell asleep under the spell of an armistice that brought a strange excitement and popular harmony. The desperation that a little later woke up, the town was great: betrayed by the illusion of peace, Forio lost 13 of its citizens.
At 70 years after the bombing of Forio, we want to tell a piece of our history that must not escape it to any visitor to the city to learn about and revive the local historical identity.


September Time...

September, the month of harvest and intense colors given by the nature after the summer heat, it is the month for Ischia rich in religious festivals that fill of beauty and excitement the climate of our beautiful island.
The first days of September are all dedicated to the celebrations in honor of the patron saint of the island, St. John Joseph of the Cross.


Handmade emotions

Island women sitting on a small bench or on low chairs, resting on the legs an apron of heavy cloth. On the ground, on the one hand, a tangle of straw on which from time to time was threw a little water to make it more tender. On the other hand, in a bucket, a wicker treccinella, formed by circularly linked crolle: the magic of bind begins! It is an ancient tradition of Ischia to manufacture wicker baskets, round the edges more or less high, circular or oval baskets, with arched handle, made of willow and cane, baskets "with lace”.

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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