The whole island of Ischia is an “open air” SPA. The overall good health and wellness on the island is due to the friendliness of its inhabitants, exquisite gastronomic specialities and above all it’s the miraculous waters. Splendid thermal water springs flow almost everywhere on the island. The tradition of thermal treatments goes back to the 1960s on Ischia, when tourists from all over the world, travelled on the island to enjoy the beneficial purifying energizing effects of these miraculous waters. Hot under soil vents emitting stream can be found almost everywhere on the island, especially on the southern side towards the beach of Maronti (fumarole) and in the area of Panza, a small hamlet in the town of Forio. Systematic wafts, blistering soil and sulphurous fumes are evidence of the tales of myths, of the activity of the hidden giant, not yet dormant. Until recently, in the area of the Fumarole, chicken and potatoes could be baked a meter deep in the hot sand and during the day it is possible to cuddle down into a pampering hot sand bath. The antique thermea Cavascura containing natural baths dug from the tuff rock and a natural steam sauna, is a little further along the beach. The whole gorge is a picturesque place with various naturally sculpted rocks, shaped by rain and wind creating an almost lunar landscape. The bay of Sorgeto in the area of Panza is an unforgettable experience at night, and you will feel as if being in a natural wide-screen open-air cinema offering an emotional evening beneath a roof of heavenly stars. This pleasant area, hidden in a small cove is reached by a very steep flight of steps which descend down the hillside to the sea below. This entrance is only suitable for the fit and healthy as the steps are very steep and rather long. Another easier access to this cove is by taxi boats from the harbour of Sant’Angelo. The cove is a magical place formed by stone cliffs and water offering the surprising discovery that the seawater is warm. A stratum of thermal water beneath the bay of Sorgeto mixing with the colder sea water above, allows for bathing even in the coldest months of the year. You can feel free to swim in the center of a natural swimming pool and maybe enjoy lunch at the bar in this small bay. Other than these natural phenomenons, there are also spas set in the local vegetation where pools and waterfalls have been carefully sculpted from the rock.
Culture and history info
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(c) The New Art Gallery Walsall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation[/caption]
The paramount example of such a succession of invasions is evident in the stupendous Aragonese Castle (reconstructed by the Aragonese approx XIV century AD), which for centuries has been admired for its architecture which overlaps Moorish, Gothic and Baroque styles. In the aftermath of pirate incursions an auto-sufficient citadel developed within its walls, with a Bishop’s Seat and a convent for the care of souls. In the XIX century the Bourbons of Naples transformed the Castle into a prison and it became national property when the troops of Garibaldi, who travelled from Sicily to Rome and united Italy. It was only in the XX century that the stone bridge connected the fishing village to the Castle and it is thanks to this that nature walks can be taken to admire the battlements of the Castle. Tickets to visit the Castle may be purchased at the ticket office at the entrance to the Castle. A visit to the Castle is obligatory to better understand the history of the island from the Renaissance to present day. A visit to the Nun’s cemetery will also prove to be an unforgettable experience. Second to the Castle, holding first place in archaeological importance, the most antique artifact of the Magna Grecia is The Cup of Nestor
. This vessel demonstrates that the most northern colony in the Tyrrhenian Sea, was actually Ischia, and in that period was called Pithekoussai.
The origins of the name are not clear as it can be translated into ‘island of monkeys’ due to the intense volcanic activity and its peculiar population of monkeys. Ischia is also called the ‘island of vessels’ due to the significant traces of Greek pottery or, according to some notable opinions, it was simply the vulgar form of the word sailors gave to the archipelago of Ischia, Capri and Procida. The Cup of Nestor
in Greek), is so called due to engraving on its borders which mentions such a name. It is on show in the Archaeological Museum of Santa Restituta
in Lacco Ameno together with other various examples of objects of Greek origin found on the island dating back to the VIII century BC.