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Ischia

Ischia

Tourist resort famous for its beautiful nature and landscapes and the numerous spas therein, Ischia attracts a large number of Italian and foreign visitors. Known as the Emerald Isle because of its lush vegetation, Ischia has ancient origins. In fact it was in the 8th century B.C. one of the oldest Greek colonies of Magna Graecia, Pithecusa. It became an important commercial power thanks to the processing and production of pottery, as evidenced by the numerous finds preserved in the archaeological museum of Pithecusae. A notable find is the “Cup of Nestor”, the inscription of which is considered the most ancient example of Greek writing. It was the destination of the Romans, who discovered the qualities of the thermal water from the natural springs of volcanic origin, as evidenced by the numerous votive depictions found in the springs of Nitrodi, whose fresh waters are considered sacred. With its 103 thermal springs of fresh water with excellent therapeutic properties, Ischia has a hydrothermal heritage among the richest and most interesting in the world.

The Island is administratively divided into six communes and Ischia is the most important. Into the harbour area is the trading part of the town and another important area is that one around the “Castello Aragonese” which is called “Ischia Ponte”, a picturesque ancient fisher’s village. The castle, one of the oldest Italian castles, is located on a small island originated as a result of a volcanic eruption. It was built as a fortress by the tyrant of Syracuse Girone in the 5th century B. C. and later in the 14th century A. D. transformed into a castle by the king of Naples, Alfonso of Aragon, who chose it as his residence. In the Renaissance it became an important religious and cultural center that housed artists and writers. In 1823 it was used as a prison by the Bourbon government and the prison also housed political prisoners, or the patriots for independence and unification of Italy. You enter the castle along a wide gallery hewn by Alfonso I of Aragon, which presents in its ceiling large openings that served as the launching point for hot water, molten lead and stones on any enemy. Once at the top of the hill you can visit the Church of the eighteenth century, the convent of the Poor Clares with its cemetery (XVI century), the panoramic terraces, the Cathedral of the Assumption (XIV c.), the Crypt of the Cathedral (XIV c.) with frescoes of the school of Giotto and the Church of St. Maria delle Grazie (XVI c.). Near Ischia Ponte is the “Cartaromana” bay famous for its beautiful beach, the hot springs of hot water that flow directly into the sea and especially for its waters that are home to the ancient Roman city of Aenaria, submerged in the waters of bay. The sea is beautiful, blue and transparent rich in flora and fauna. Always in Cartaromana there is the Tower of Guevara, a square tower built in the late fifteenth century with predominant functions of defense and refuge from foreign attacks. It is a symbolic monument of Ischia together with the Castle.

There are many events, festivals and cultural events on the island. The island of Ischia has always been a meeting point among different cultures. Beside patronal feasts, festivals and pageants, there are events full of culture, such as journalism awards, film festivals, exhibitions and shows. Every year on July 26 Ischia Ponte celebrates S. Anna with a big party at sea in front of the Castello Aragonese. After the parade of boats at sea, there are the typical fireworks accompanied by the striking fire simulation of the Aragonese castle. From 16 to 18 May the feast of Santa Restituta is celebrated in Lacco Ameno. According to tradition, she was a Carthaginian martyr dying on a boat landed on the island. In these days Lacco Ameno celebrates its patron saint in a religious ceremony during which the sixteenth-century wooden statue, adorned with precious objects, is carried in procession, greeted by fireworks. Noteworthy is also the feast of St. Alessandro on August 26 characterized by a parade of costumes of all periods of history.

The rugged coastline, the beautiful bays of crystal clear sea, the transparent waters, a mild climate, the ancient thermal baths, as well as art and culture make the island of Ischia a place of unforgettable charm…

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