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Ischia Island

“(…) who will drink from this bowl will be soon captured by desire of Aphrodite of the beautiful crown”

As Venus, also Ischia was born by the sea and, like the goddess of beauty, has the gift of the never ending youth: young land, bestower of youth, the island was born in consequence of a series of volcanic eruptions, even if for a long time it remained submerged in the depth of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Only during the Quaternary period – a recent epoch according to the calendar of the geological eras – the first nucleus emerges from the water: it is the north-east part of the island where there are today Ischia Ponte, Campagnano, Piano Liguori. During several epochs other lands slowly emerge together with other lava vents.

For many centuries Ischia is continuously changing: lava, flowing through its bowels, bursts out violently from the numerous volcanic vents. The frequency of the eruptions makes the island uninhabitable for a long time but also creates one of the most enchanting landscapes of the earth. How could we not be fascinated by the brown outer belt of petrified lava of the Zaro coast, where the primeval aspect suggests moon fantasies? And the verticality of the rocky faces that jut out over the woody plateau of Falanga or the calcareous spires of the natural cathedral of Pizzi Bianchi at Fontana?

With time, the island slowly develops and its sceneries are very different: huge beaches gently sloping down to the sea, rocky inlets over deep water, such as the Wizard’s Cave at Lacco Ameno, where, according to some scholars, during prehistory the cult of the Sun was celebrated, or such as waving hills covered by vineyards and woods. The impressive stateliness of the Epomeo Mountain. The island is moulded by the fire of volcanoes: trees, herbs and flowers are more than thousand; tropical plants: the Woodwardia Radicans and Pteris Longifolia ferns; the very rare Fumarole Papyrus, whose real name is Cyperus Polystachius, a plant of mysterious and very ancient origin, perhaps a vegetable going back to interglacial stage, that grows just on Ischia and the tropical lands; the unique Limonium Inarimensis, growing just on our island. Plants on rocks: mugweed, helychrysum, rosemary. The maquis: myrtles and strawberry-trees, heather and olive trees, lemon trees. The mountain plants: chestnuts.

The giant Thyphoeus, chained by order of Jupiter at the centre of the island, whose body enlarges the Epomeo mountain, that makes Ischia “the climatic jewel of the Mediterranean”, by raising clouds and keeping rain and cold at a distance. The Epomeo actually divides the island into two different areas of light and tones: the pastel colour dawns of Ischia and Casamicciola, the colour thickness of Forio, when sun goes down.