Ludo and her family run two of the biggest clubs in Ischia. During the week she takes the ferry to Naples to attend school and on the weekends comes back to the island. She is the ideal person to have as an Ischiatani Night Life Ambassador.
I met Ludo while we were out one night and she graciously offered to talk to me about the nightlife on the island. After she helped me navigate the club scene, we exchanged emails and I met her a couple days later.
FYI: She said it was ok for me to record the interview but asked that I correct any grammar mistakes. She speaks awesome English, so there weren't many.
Greg Kamradt: So you were born in Ischia?
Ludovica Bondavalli: Yep, I am 21 years old.
GK: So you've lived here your entire life?
LB: Yes, but now I study in Naples. There isn't a university in Ischia so I have to go to Naples during the week. On Fridays I come back to Ischia, and on Sundays I go back to Napes. But in Ischia a lot of people do this because if you want to do university then you have to go out.
GK: How come you don't just live out there the entire week?
LB: Because I work here, I have my family, I have my friends. And plus, during the weekend I love Ischia. I don't like to go out in Naples because its quite different. Naples is not so calm like in Ischia, its more high energy. Here I can go out alone and I will find someone that I know and then I will stay with them for the night. In Naples, there are a lot of guys that will kick and dance too hard.
GK: So you're family owns Ecstasy?
LB: Not only Ecstasy but also and Valentino. Before we had a lot of other discos but with the crisis in Europe (recession) we had to close them. But its ok because Valentino for me is the best.
GK: Did your family start them? or did they buy them?
LB: No, no, we started them. I think 35 years ago? They are run by my father, and his brother. And you know, its a big important thing for us.
GK: Yeah absolutely, it is important for the island
LB: Yeah because, we live on tourism and a lot of people from Naples, they know about Valentino. You've never been there, but if you go inside you realize its different. Its not like the modern day disco but more like a place where they take wine to age. Like a wine cellar.
GK: So you work at the clubs then too?
LB: Yeah, but only on the weekends because I'm young, I like to have friends, I like to party. But I like it because maybe in the future I will have to run the business.
GK: Do you want to do the business side of the club?
LB: Of course dude, its amazing, you know. My father says, "You're a girl, you cannot do this." And so he sent me to Naples to study English and Russian. He said, "oh lets go away from the island." But I think that Ischia is perfect for taking care of a family.
GK: Would you say the people that go to the clubs, are they mostly people from Ischia, or are they mostly tourists?
LB: Um you have to think about Ischia from two points of view, from the winter, and from the summer. In the winter its quite boring but in the summer there are a lot of tourists. Its fun! I like summer better. I like to speak with people that I don't know. People from Ischia love summer. We have a little "thing" in Ischia; during winter you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and in summer you break up. Because always, the little girls are like, "ohhh people from Naples are coming to Ischia for the summer." And they get wow'd and break up with their boyfriends. But Italian people, they don't like Ischia, I don't know why. They only know Capri, "ahhhh Capri is the best," they say, I don't know.
GK: So do Ischia and Capri get along?
LB: Not really, because you know, Ischia is better than Capri. Hah. But Capri is more famous because, its really expensive. I got a coffee and orange juice and it cost me 10 Euro. 10 Euro! How is this possible. There aren't a lot of beaches, too many cliffs. In Capri I don't think they like Ischia because we are cheaper. Well but you have to think, in August, the prices actually go up in Ischia so things do get more expensive. I think we (Ischia) are stupid. We don't think about how the tourists can come back. Only think about getting the most money out of them right when they come the first time.
GK: So is the best night life only in Ischia Porto? Or are there also good clubs/bars also in Forio? (Two towns about 20min car ride apart)
LB: So for me, I'm from Ischia Porto, I think we have the best scene, especially for night life. Forio maybe on Tuesday nights. In fact during the summer on Tuesdays, tourists are in Porto but the real Ischitanis are in Forio. The real locals know the nice places to go in Forio. But for the beaches and for sunsets Forio is the best. In Forio there is a beautiful beach with a restaurant that we have lunch at, we have it at 7 oclock. Cause you know, here, time is different here on the island.
GK: Wait so yeah, can you tell me more about the timeline that people go out on the island. When do you see your friends, when do you have dinner, when do you go to the club?
LB: Yeah, time on the island is different, I don't know why. I don't understand, but its like this. So at 11pm I'm going to go see my friends. At half 11pm I'm going to have my dinner. And then at midnight or half midnight I'm going to drink something on the port, on the right hand side of the port. After this, at 2am, you go to the club. Maybe 2:30am but not before 2. Its not possible. Because you won't see anyone if you go before 2am. And then we will finish at 5am-6am. Depends how the music is. After this you will go and have breakfast, because you can not go to sleep without eating something. Ha but maybe you just want to eat because you are a little drunk ha.
GK: Ha so where do you get the food? At your houses?
LB: No ha! no no we have a lot of food trucks, and there is a place on the left side of the port where they all park. Always, Always. During summer, everyday they are out. After you get breakfast, you go directly on the beach.
GK: And then you sleep there?
LB: Yeah but at 10am you wake up because the sun is too strong. You can not sleep because you are like **#*#grauggg*#*#* (Groggy noise) and you will stay like this all day. But its nice. But I think I know why its like this. Because you come home from the beach at 8pm. You need time to get ready and need time to rest before you go out. That is why we start so late. But its really strange. I was thinking about a friend of mine from Spain, and even she thought it was late. But if you think about it, in the cities, happy hour is at 6-7pm but here in Ischia, happy hours are at 10-11pm.
GK: Lets switch it up, what do you think about how the guys dress here? I'm referring to the low crotch pants
LB: Ha ok this is a nice question. I have a story about this. You know, people from Ischia, they are in competition with Napoli. They think we are from the country, but we want to show them we are better ha. But sometimes we try and do better, but we do worse. In Naples you find girls who are nice and pretty. But here you find girls who are 16 who were really big heels, who have a ton of make up. I was one of them, I have to admit ha. But here the thing that I don't like, is that you can't go out here without shoes that are huge. I don't know why. Because in Rome, you can go out in converse. And here we must where short dresses.
GK: Do you think it look good? Or do you think its too much?
LB: Have you ever seen Jersey Shore? Well they say they are thinking about Italy. Like Snooki, she says, "oh I'm like Italy because I like shoes and dresses," but I think she is actually talking about people from Ischia. I think we dress and its nice, kinda nice. But sometimes its too much.
LB: There are some types of guys that will dress nice, and its really handsome to see. Other guys will dress with really long shirts and have holes in them, and its trashy. I don't like. I don't know why they wear the low crotch pants but I don't like. But only during this last year have they started to do this. I think that they think they are like prisoners from the prison full of baggy clothes and tattoos. When you go on the beaches during summer, you can see a lot of tattoos. You can see a lot of tattoos and know who the tattoo artist is because there are only two on the island and they have different style. There are some guys who are too elegant, and a part that are too trashy. There is no middle part. Why not? Why not?
GK: Ha well maybe they say the same thing about girls.
LB: Ha maybe yes. People here do a lot for their looks. During summer we have a competition for who is the most tan. We have a lot of homemade oils to put on our skin. Yes! I swear. A friend of mine used oil for cooking and a lime and she put on her skin. She smelled like she is cooking. Or you can put beer. A lot of people put beer on their skin, because it makes you look darker. There is too much competition. And on the beach there is a competition about guys with how much muscle they have. They will go to the beach with eggs.