The island of Ischia
A large island with a thousand attractions
Ischia is the biggest of the Gulf islands and is large enough to accommodate six municipalities, each with its own character. The four coastal municipalities are Ischia, Forio, Casamicciola terme, Lacco Ameno; the two in the hills: Barano and Serrara Fontana. But just as the four seaside towns have rural areas of considerable beauty, so Barano and Serrara Fontana have wonderful beaches and shorelines, such as the beach of Maronti or the village of Sant’Angelo. The island’s special geological configuration and the mild temperature have made the Island a huge nursery garden. In Ischia it is sufficient to sow a seed and you will get a tree: there must be a reason why it is called “the green Island”. There are hundreds of paths in the woods and nature trails, but it is especially worth visiting Mount Epomeo, which looks over the entire Island from its 800-metre height; the wood of the Falanga, a timeless world with its stone houses and “snow pits”; the mellow hills of Pignatiello and Piano Liguori, at Campagnano, where grapes are cultivated, suspended above an unforgettable view of the sea.
Then there are the beaches, and here, too, you are spoilt for choice. The mother of the island’s beaches is Maronti: looking south it has more than a kilometre of very hot sand, even in winter, thermal springs and fumaroles. The Forio beaches are also extremely appealing: long beaches behind which the sun sets, Citara and the more easy-going Cava dell’isola.
If the island’s nature is a prominent feature, its “historical” attractions are no less important. Ischia is an island with a very ancient past, as it was home to the first Greek colony in Occident and today it has retained many traces of its archaeological past: The Pithecusae Museum in Villa Arbusto, that exhibits the renowned Nestor’s Cup, and the Santa Restituta Museum, both in Lacco Ameno, are interesting places for those who love the ancient civilizations. But then you can continue the journey through the history of the island by visiting many places: the Aragon Castle, the Forio Keeps, Guevara Tower, the church of Soccorso, to name but a few.
Finally, another important aspect of the island not to be neglected is its anthropological and rural characteristics.That Ischia has always been a farmer’s land is no mystery. But it continues to be so even though it does it a little more secretly. It suffices to penetrate the maze of streets that go toward the hills to contemplate grapes in the sun, orchards, fields cultivated with care and cellars where they still make wine, where they keep tomatoes in bunches, old tools and bellied casks spangled with holy pictures because, you know, sometimes in order to obtain good wine the labours of mere mortal men are not enough.