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In a monastic hotel near Naples

In Napoli, everything happens at once. Vespas veer, sirloins seer, plants and laundry flutter from verandahs, bread is always baking and homemade shrines are constantly garnished with artificial flowers. It's a mystical city in which all life occurs outside.

Jean-Paul Sartre once said of the Neapolitan people: «I imagine that nowadays under this austere Fascist regime they conceal themselves when they make love. But 20 years ago they probably did it on the front door step, or maybe in their large beds with the doors wide open.»

Napoli wears its heart on its sleeve, but it has one well-kept secret. An hour's ferry ride away is the Castello Aragonese d'Ischia, a castle built in 5th century BC within which lies Albergo Il Monastero, a monastic hotel. Located on an islet, the castle is an intriguing palimpsest of histories.

After a series of invasions, raids, battles and sieges, through which the castle saw itself transform fr m an entire village to a literary salon with Vittoria Colonna, to a nunnery, a political prison and a healing chapel, it became a national monument in 1860. In 1912, it was sold to a private family who care for it as both cultural heritage and artistic slate. Today the hotel retains a reverence for its layered past.

It stands noble in its minimalist modern interior and magnificent ancient exterior, and is surrounded by the sea that blends seamlessly into the sky. Inside, you can wander through its ruins, a museum of medieval weapons, an old cemetery and an art gallery. An organic vegetable garden hangs over the ocean.
The food at Il Cafetaria features freshly-caught fish, garden-plucked vegetables and other “zero-kilomitri” produce and poultry. In contrast to Napoli, almost nothing happens here. The past is a drop in the ocean, and the ocean is ever more.

By Himali Singh Soin, Vogue India, February 2019

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My Brilliant Ferrante

…While you might come to Ischia for Ferrante, you'll stay for its thermal wellness, sunken ruins, and world-class restaurants. Plus, once you're there, you can't leave without visiting Castello Aragonese d'Ischia, a 15th-century mediaeval castle on its own private island and that has been converted into a stunning hotel.

Albergo il Monastero, Ischia

With views befitting a cliff-top fortress on its own private island, this hotel built into a 16thcentury convent is beautiful yet simple, with history lurking behind every nook and cranny. Take breakfast (a delicious buffet) on the terrace while watching the boats below.

High Life - British Airways magazine, November 2018

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