- The Island of Ischia
The Island of Ischia
Situated between 13°51’10” and 13°58’11”East longitude and 40°45’39” and 40°41’29” North latitude, Ischia is the largest island in the Gulf of Naples. It has an area of 47 square kilometers and a perimeter of 18 miles. It is located 18 miles from Naples and Capri, 11 miles from Pozzuoli, and 4.6 miles from Procida. It has a population of approximately 60,000 inhabitants that rises to over 500,000 during the summertime. The island is divided into six Municipalities: Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Lacco Ameno, Forio, Serrara Fontana, and Barano. The Island has a round shape like an oval-based cone, with Mount Epomeo as its summit at an altitude of 789 meters. At least, every tourist should tour the island by land, but those who can should also tour it by sea and not fail to make excursions to the Castle, to Epomeo and to Sant’ Angelo. Tourists should not miss the joy of exploring hills, plains, and caves. They should also not forget to stop in the little alleys and churches that demonstrate the wonderful lines of Mediterranean architecture with Arabic influences harmoniously drawn up by the brilliant hand of the “Mastro” (master).
For those coming from the mainland, the island does not look like the usual, dark mass of rock in the middle of the sea. It is a dreamy vision, like a great ship decked for a feast whose flags, portholes, shrouds, masts and all its components – appear incredibly green. Even the tops of the smallest rocks along the coast seem to be embellished with green. Green even dwells in the stones, in the famous green tuff in the area of Forio, which are used to make the beautiful, original “parracine” (dry walls) that adorn the dense green bush of the vineyards.
The green, however, does not hide the beautiful, uneven nature of the land. In fact, its geography is very varied and reveals itself in mountains, isolated hills, majestic promontories, slopes and upland plains. All of these structures are easy to identify from the magnificent terrace of the “Soccorso Church” in Forio from where Mount Epomeo can be seen in all its incomparable beauty. The transparent light green of the vineyards, the bluish green of the olive orchards, and the dark green of the citrus groves are inlaid with the white lime of the island houses that give the scenery the magic touch of man’s presence. The island houses with their rare beauty are essentially in the Mediterranean style. This is the style that characterizes the constructions of the terraced roofs that are often embellished with many arches and delicately colored in white, pale pink or the yellow of Naples. All this dots the green of the fields under an ever clear blue sky. The urban centers of the island are incredibly similar, yet different. At every turn there is a new setting, a new sight and a new picture. It seems that everything was put here as a creation of art, but actually it was the pure, natural product of time and of a simple man’s desire to build a home for himself and put a roof over his head, where he could rest after his tiring day’s work in the fields and at sea.