In case our life of retirement in the hills of Cervinara was too stressful, we decided we needed to get away from things and enjoy a few days in Ischia. Once again, it’s a bit of Unexpected Italy that isn’t often on our traditional itineraries.
Ischia is an island off the coast of Naples, bigger than Capri but far smaller than Sardegna. It is about an hour by traghetto from Pozzuoli to the island, and it is well worth the trip. When we arrived yesterday it was pouring rain, everything was gray and sorry and depressing. I wasn’t happy! As the day wore on, the rain stopped and the clouds parted and we could see some of the beauty that was hidden behind the drizzle. By evening, we were in love.
Our hotel, while not much to look at, is in a nice location in the town of Forio. It is right next door to some wonderful gardens, I Giardini della Mortella. These gardens were started by William Walton, an important English musician and composer of the 20th century, and his wife, an Argentine woman who loved flowers and plants. My niece, the cultural expert, highly recommended that we visit these gardens and, since there was a concert there that night we decided to kill two birds with one stone. The evening’s entertainment was a recital using two pianos, the musicians a young Russian woman and an equally young German man. We were enthralled from the first notes.
The program consisted of music from Bach, Mozart, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and Gershwin. It was thrilling to watch the communication of these two fine pianists as they wended their way through their repertoire. The room was packed with music lovers and the response to the performances was positive and enthusiastic. We felt so lucky to have found such great entertainment in such a beautiful setting.
After the concert we walked through the gardens, enjoying the fountains, flowers and fragrances that surrounded us. It was so nice to have this quiet interlude as the sun began to set over the water. It is so important to leave yourself open to opportunities such as this, to find the unexpected that awaits around the corner, and to take advantage of these moments when they present themselves. It is far too easy to get bogged down in our daily lives or to get so tied up in our “bucket list” that we fail to see the gifts of the unexpected. La dolce vita!