Italian spa expert Raffaella Dallarda shares her favourite thermal spas in Ischia, from family-friendly Sorriso Thermae to the dolce vita time capsule Albergo della Regina Isabella.

BBC Travel – Many may have first heard of Ischia through Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, but Italians have long adored this verdant volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples for its spectacular sea views and the healing powers of its thermal springs.

Ischia’s mineral-charged thermal waters – terme – were discovered 3,000 years ago by the Ancient Greeks. The bubbling fonts quickly became famous for their restorative properties, said to heal infertility, rheumatism and all manners of skin conditions. A thriving island spa culture emerged, thanks in no small part to Ischia’s year-round mild climate and lush hiking trails.

Today, there are dozens of thermal spring experiences throughout Ischia – ranging from ultra-glam resorts to rugged natural bays. To uncover some of the best, we spoke to Italian spa industry insider Raffaella Dallarda, a holistic expert and spa guidebook writer who has visited every thermal spa in the country.

“I love Ischia,” said Dallarda. “In Italy we have more than 400 certified natural springs, but the kingdom of the natural springs in Italy is Ischia.”

That’s because Ischia’s waters receive an extra charge from the volcanic craters in the seas surrounding the island. “[It’s] called L’Isola Verde; the Green Island,” said Dallarda. “The volcanic ash nourishes the land. [And] the volcanic waters are hotter than waters in other places [in Italy]. They have more positive properties on joints, bones, arthritis, arthrosis.”

Just a short ferry ride from Naples, Ischia is the perfect escape for anyone who desires a laidback, truly restorative Italian spa experience. “A spa has a character,” said Dallarda. “Like a person, like a wine. [In Ischia], you can find terme for all needs.”

Here are Raffaella Dallarda’s picks for the most relaxing and spectacular spas on Ischia.