Ischia

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Parco Termale Castiglione
NOT TO MISS

NOT TO MISS

NOT TO MISS IN ISCHIA

  • The Cup of Nestor, the oldest surviving example of poetry written in Greek at the Archaeological Museum of Phitecusae, in Villa Arbusto, residence for many years of Angelo Rizzoli in Lacco Ameno (www.pithecusae.it).
  • A visit to the bay of Carta Romana in search of Aaenaria, through guided tours by sea (marinadisantanna.it) or a simple trip to one of the establishments in the bay taking the opportunity to also visit the Tower of Michelangelo from which you can admire a splendid panorama.
  • The Aragonese Castle, which in its heyday also housed a convent, an abbey and more than 10 churches and thanks to the development of Vittoria Colonna’s court attracted artists such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, Bernardo Tasso and Ludovico Ariosto (castelloaragoneseischia.com). On the occasion of the festivities in honor of S.Anna, on July 26, the Castle is “put on fire” during a traditional festival of lights and very scenic music.
  • The Hermitage of San Nicola, one of the most significant examples of rock architecture, built as a retreat for the nuns before they moved into the Castle. At the top of Mount Epomeo, visible from all over the island with its 800 meters above sea level, the hermitage can be reached with a beautiful trek on a path in the green tuff of about 1hr recognized by the CAI. (www.caischia.it)
  • Ischia is also called the “green island” due to its lush vegetation present in every corner of the island. However, its incredible gardens are also worth visiting: La Mortella (www.lamortella.org), created by Susana Walton, wife of the composer William Walton, and built by landscape architect Russell Page at the foot of Mount Zaro, which collects more of 3000 species of exotic and rare plants with a suggestive view of the bay of Forio and the Ravino gardens (www.ravino.it) specialized in rare succulent plants put together by Captain D’Ambra during his exotic travels. The garden with its incredible cacti and glimpses of peacocks moving among the plants is an explosion of colors and Mediterranean nature.
  • A visit to the island cannot fail to include a stop at the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, built in 1350 on the Soccorso promontory in Forio, with its white facade and its particular architectural structure that stand out against the blue background of the sea. Initially dedicated to the Madonna della Neve, it became a place of devotion for seafarers thanks to a crucifix found in the sea and which, according to tradition, protects sailors from shipwrecks. The churchyard extends into a panoramic terrace with typical stone seats that turn around the Church and is a magical place to watch the sunset and the colors of the sky and the sea.
  • In addition to the sea, greenery, spas and archaeological treasures, Ischia is home to some of the most beautiful villages in Italy, each of which hides a small treasure. It starts from Ischia Ponte, at the foot of the Castle, with its picturesque streets of basoli, with shops and typical shops, Borgo San Angelo, typically Mediterranean thanks to the crowded colored houses and surrounded by the splendid beaches of Cava Grado and Maronti with fumaroles (clouds of steam emerging from the boiling sand) and the village of Campagnano, immersed in the countryside, where the original aspect of the island is preserved, more peasant, and with a spectacular view of the rest of Ischia. Then a visit to the most famous villages of Forio, Lacco Ameno and Casamicciola Terme should not be missed, to be visited in the cooler hours of the day, through squares, streets and promenades and which, during traditional festivals (such as Santa Restituta and Santa Maria), allow you to fully understand the true Mediterranean spirit of the island.

THE HISTORY OF ISCHIA AND ITS THERMAL BATHS

The Island of Ischia has a very ancient origin.

The colony of Phitecusae was certainly founded by the Greeks around the middle of the eighth century BC, but was also frequented as a free port by different populations and by artisans from Syria, Egypt, Puglia, Calabria, as evidenced by the many materials found. With the Roman domination another settlement was founded, Aenaria, now submerged due to a volcanic eruption but whose remains are very visible in the bay of Carta Romana.

With the decline of the empire began the looting and raids of the barbarians first and the Saracens later, which led to the beginning of the construction of the castle starting from the fifth century BC. The Castle increasingly became the strategic and defense center of the island, first reachable only by water, then towards the middle of the 15th century, also through a bridge and a tunnel dug into the rock and commissioned by Alfonso of Aragon.

Theater of the continuous wars between Angevins and Aragonese and of heroic defenses described in poems, dedications and finds, the Castle continued to be the center of power of Ischia for the whole 500 until the arrival of the Turks and the pirate Barbarossa who to take revenge of Alfondo d’Avalos who had defeated him years before in Tunis, in 1544 devastated many municipalities of the island, killing and deporting many islanders.

From the sixteenth century onwards, the history of Ischia coincides with that of the Kingdom of Naples and the various dynasties that succeeded the throne until the unification of Italy.

For years, the focus of the island was agriculture, fishing and some handicraft activities, among which the working of ceramics, developed since the ancient Greek presence, and

the coexistence also with tragic events, such as the Casamicciola earthquake of 1883, to which the population responded with determination and great strength in the reconstruction and a series of migratory waves, especially towards the USA where there are still large communities of Ischia.

Since the mid-1900s, Ischia has become one of the most renowned tourist destinations thanks to the patronage of large industrialists, including Angelo Rizzoli, and to the renewed interest in thermalism and Mediterranean life.

In 1956 Rizzoli produced the comedy “Vacanze a Ischia” which launched Ischia as a privileged location for national and international film productions, such as “Cleopatra” (1963) with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, and “Caccia alla volpe” (1966) with Peter Sellers. up to “The talent of Mr. Ripley”, with Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow thanks to whom the island conquered Hollywood in 1997. Since 2018 Ischia has also been the scene of many locations in the series “The brilliant friend” by Saverio Costanzo based on ‘homonymous novel by Elena Ferrante also set partly in Ischia.

For this reason Ischia has been hosting, for many years now, both the Ischia Film Festival (www.ischiafilmfestival.it) dedicated specifically to cinema locations and the Ischia Global Fest (www.ischiaglobal.com) which host directors, actors and producers. internationals in the beautiful frames of the island.

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