Tourist Information

About Ischia

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. It is almost entirely mountainous, the highest peak being Mount Epomeo at 788 m.

Ischia is the name of the main comune of the island. The other comuni of the island are Barano d'Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Forio, Lacco Ameno and Serrara Fontana.


Ischia Porto

Ischia is the principal town of the island of Ischia, and is located on the north-eastern coast of the island. The town is divided into two distinct settlements, Ischia Ponte and Ischia Porto. Ischia Porto, named for its port, is the arrival and departure point for most of the island's ferry services. The island's circular port was once a volcanic crater which filled up with water to become a lake. It was opened up to the sea in 1853, and now accommodates large ferries (who squeeze carefully through the narrow opening), hydrofoils, yachts and fishing boats.

The town is lively with visitors passing through, or remaining to enjoy a drink or meal at one of the many restaurants and bars alongside the harbour. At night the area is one of Ischia's busiest, with various piano bars offering evening entertainment.


The town makes a very good base for the tourist who wants to see the area. Various independently-organised boat-trips depart from the harbour, taking visitors around the island, to beaches and sights, or to the beautiful nearby island of Procida. From the bus station in Ischia Porto it's easy to take buses to other towns.

 

 

Ischia Ponte

A short bus-ride from Ischia Porto lies Ischia Ponte, a charming seaside settlement dominated by the picturesque Castello Aragonese (Aragon Castle). For a combination of convenience and attractiveness, Ischia Ponte is one of the best places to stay on the island.

 

Aragonese Castle

The Aragonese Castle (Castello Aragonese, Ischia Ponte) was built on a rock near the island in 474 BC, by Hiero I of Syracuse. At the same time, two towers were built to control enemy fleets' movements. The rock was then occupied by Parthenopeans (the ancient inhabitants of Naples). In 326 BC the fortress was captured by Romans, and then again by the Parthenopeans. In 1441 Alfonso V of Aragon connected the rock to the island with a stone bridge instead of the prior wood bridge, and fortified the walls in order to defend the inhabitants against the raids of pirates. Around 1700, about 2000 families lived on the islet, including a larisses Convent, the Abbey of Basilians from Greece, the Bishop and the Seminar, the Prince with a military garrison. There were also thirteen churches. In 1912, the Castle was sold to a private owner.

Today the castle is the most visited monument of the island. It is accessed through a tunnel with large openings which let the light enter. Along the tunnel there is a small chapel consecrated to Saint John Joseph of the Cross (San Giovan Giuseppe della Croce), the patron saint of the island. A more comfortable access is also possible with a modern lift. After arriving outside, it is possible to visit the Church of the Immacolata and the Cathedral of Assunta. The first was built in 1737 on the location of a smaller chapel dedicated to Saint Francis, and closed after the suppression of Convents in 1806 as well as the Nunnery of Clarisses.

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