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Christams in Ischia



The island of Ischia each year renews its traditions with religious celebrations that attract not only an Ischian audience but also many foreign tourists who visit it. To start the holiday season is the Immaculate Conception celebration that occurs on December 8th and usually represents a real long-weekend suitable to organize trips, holidays last minute, weekend floor door for the whole family, adults and children, so do not miss the opportunity to visit us!

Christmas is just around the corner, and the streets are decorated with lights and Christmas trees that will ‘brighten’ these cold winter days. Various events, exhibitions, festivals and Christmas markets will be organized. It is also an opportunity to take part in, on the Eve of the Immaculate, the all-night cultural festival with masses, hymns and religious functions, or to go to the cinema or theater.

Christmas is a magical time, especially in small everyday emotions, such as the arrival of the pipers, the scent of mandarin and Rococo, when in the evening homes or the basement to play bingo and tell jokes. Deep emotions on the Christmas Eve, when at three in the morning there are those who are still busy in preparing good things. The bells gather the people of the country. Even the owners of small businesses stay open by helping to make the squares so living and full of decorations. Admiring the starry ski, feeling cold on Christmas Eve, it is like admiring diamonds in the sky. Between exchanges of greetings, jokes and Christmas carols, people hope that the dawn to come later. After leaving the church after Mass, pasta and beans, bread and tomatoes and other recipes prepared by many housewives in the center, nothing remained. The streets were beginning to crowd of people, projecting the light of day to reality.

The crib, our history…

Living Crib zampognari precessione-vigilia

The crib represents for Ischia an ancient tradition. Everywhere it is possible to see the small masterpieces made with passion. Groups of people, adults and children united by their passion for the crib, since October, gather to create great works, open to the public for a theme tour around the island. Works that create a magical atmosphere to the streets of downtown, with colors and Christmas music, often confused with other sounds. It’s traditional that Campagnano returns with sounds, lights and colors. A crib set with over 250 characters dressed in nineteenth-century clothing. Atmosphere and a suggestion that are made in a myriad of wineries, gorges and natural caves.

Autumn... Magic Season!


After that summer has taken away the heat of a burning sun at last we will recover our space, our time, our inner world. Available and more calm, we observe the nature around us that vibrates full of life.

Autumn is the season of melancholy and sadness because the trees are naked and winter approaches, but it is the season when we feel the need to explore the trails, mountains, forests of oaks and chestnut. For those who enjoy outdoor walks, the island, despite his physical limitations, appears as a continent to be discovered. The hinterland drives us into a dimension that is not chaotic and unnerving the towns, but it is intimate search of ourselves and our roots.

From September 15 onwards, there is a “people” who eagerly awaits the rain and listens to the predictions of old farmers to calculate the right time for climbing the mountain: they are lovers are searching for mushrooms, but for the islander just one is trophy: "U-Cap 'Nir', in short, the porcino mushroom of island of Ischia.

The islander dedicated to this hobby with interest, respects the poisonous species and the undergrowth, trees and all the natural environment in silence and description. Our mountains are invaded every year by “professionals” of the collection, from families who are trying to teach their children the love and respect for different “pittate” (steep walls where usually the best species of mushrooms lurk between grass and leaves), but also by non-experts who are content to walk in this beautiful autumn campaign with the mysterious island rich in golden tones with red trees, plants that shine in the sun warmer in October, with fallen branches covered with green moss.

In Ischia there are many places where in the days following the rain we went in search of 'Cap' Nir ', a fungus rather short in the stem, with dark brown hat. But there are also other species of edible mushrooms that grow in Ischia under chestnut trees, oaks, beeches, firs, which are soaked in oil for seasoning tasty salads, or served as side dishes. Among the most rich locations of mushrooms is a must remember Rotaro in Casamicciola, Fiaiano in Barano, but also Santa Maria al Monte and the slopes of Mount Epomeo, not to mention historic sites such as “creteca”, “u'raron”, “tribbit” or the “falanga”. Of course you have to be expert, if you know the mushrooms well, wicker basket under your arm and walk away in a hunt for musk flavors.

The meteorological conditions are essential: the mushrooms are friends of rain and mild temperatures. Always. A very abundant rainfall, prolonged for days and followed by good weather, represents a favorable condition. In addition, the wood must be perfect to look for the characteristic of being little known and attended, because the mushrooms require perfect environmental balance in order to bear fruit. The most difficult area to reach are those where it is easier to be lucky, but be very careful if you are not familiar with the place. In fact rule is: never alone, never at dusk without notice, never lose your way (but do not panic if it happens). Orient yourself with the sun, with strategically placed trees, and then in time for collection, you are never alone. One thing is for sure, caution must always be the constant companion of those who venture into the woods!

Spa in Ischia


Here is the good life, here is the quality of life! That's why people choose us!

As in this month of October, when Ischia, after the summer crowds, back to being the perfect place to stay and fell better. A place to return the balance to anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of its climate and the miraculous healing powers of its thermal waters.

Back to Ischia for a holiday in early autumn is an opportunity to discover its most secret and intimate aspects: the wide and sunny beaches bathed by its clean and temperate sea, the restful pinewoods and fertile fields where the green hills and rocky crags of Epomeo invite invigorating walks and hikes.

It is time to regenerate due to the famous “gold mines”, the hot springs, each with its own characteristics and healing properties, useful to give back strength and vigor to your body. But Ischia is also famous for its mud baths, valid for the treatment of rheumatic and gynecology.

The use of thermal waters on the island dates back to the first few years of the seventeenth century, when from several European nations began to flock in search of cures. It was the beginning of tourism on the island.

Over 300 hotels, mostly with their own spas and hot pools, are an advanced reality in Europe. The traditional treatments are now accompanied by massages, physical therapy and corrective exercises and rehabilitation, as by a growing tendency, the spa has become a place of recovery and mental well-being of the individual. So also on the island rose hotels that combine best-equipped beauty farm, spa baths with fitness, nutrition care, beauty treatments. Exploiting all the benefits of a healthy environment and ecologically sound, able to promote a peaceful and pleasant holiday.

The island of Ischia is also the only place in the world where nature and human effort have created the wonders that are the thermal parks, open until the end of October, in the most scenic island , offering visitors swimming pools of different temperatures, set in lush gardens, equipped with private beaches, spa departments for traditional treatments of good quality.

Suggestive is the tale of the myth that gives origin to the numerous healing thermal waters of Ischia. The mythology tells about a conspiracy against Zeus, ideated by Gaea, who triggered against the Titans, the giant monsters, born from the blood of Uranus, who had enormous snakes for legs. From Campi Flegrei, where they lived, began their ascent to Olympus, hurling rocks and burning trees. The monsters would have won the battle if Zeus had not called for help a mortal, Hercules, semi-divine hero who, with cunning, defeated them, chaining each under a volcano from which they continue to erupt their anger: Enceladus under Etna and Typhon, the most terrible monster, under Ischia. Typhon continued to squirm under-earth, giving tremendous shakes and crying constantly. Juno, annoyed by his crying, promised Typhon the Jupiter’s forgiveness and anything else as long as he stopped crying. The giant agreed on condition that his tears were turned into healthy waters and his legs into branches. The Typhon’s request was accepted by Zeus, and so the tears were turned into giant hydrothermal springs on the island of Ischia and his feet, scary snakes before, became the vine branches that gave origin to the wine capital of the island. Many beneficial effects of the Ischia thermal waters, like fertility, according to mythology, brought about the birth of Aphrodite, because its radioactive waters mingled with the sea, fertilized by the Typhon’s genitals, Uranus’son.

Grape Harvest


Starting from the Carmine Parish in Serrara, going down along the winding path guarded by two rows of houses, just at the roadside, you arrive suddenly at a plain surrounded by two small plots of land cultivated by old vine-dressers. The place is called 'IESCA' and the vineyard is part of the Terra Mia company, the largest concentration of land producing Pietratorcia wines. It has located to the east-west-south of the island, in the foothills of the island 500 meters above sea level. It has vines like Biancolella Forastera, full of grapes.

We were about fifteen with will to do and armed with pruning shears, plastic baskets, good will and a lot of inexperience. Franco, MEP and for some time entrepreneur, immediately explained: “the pine cones must be collected in the baskets of grapes and not thrown, not even a grape away because it would mean losing a drop of wine, let on the vines only 'rasciuoppoli', Franco explained.

Starting from the bottom of the soil by dragging out the baskets it is more easy to transport the harvest and transfer it to the cellars”. Each couple cultivates a row and, taking own pick to harvest more of the best mature blond grapes, puts aside those that would be super to pay in the nature our work.

At half past ten: snack break, more commonly called 'u'muzzicone. A salad, dry sausages, oven bread by Florio, which I had brought from Pilastri, house wine (what wine!).

At half past ten: snack break, more commonly called 'u'muzzicone. A salad, dry sausages, oven bread by Florio, which I had brought from Pilastri, house wine (what wine!) The restarting of the vintage was difficult because the place allowed only a healthy walk in nature. “Come on, we finish at 13 and only then we will tell you the surprise of the day”, the Franco’s proclamation didn’t take us by surprise, we knew the inventiveness of his diabolic mind, and it was the right spur to us to work (bank’s objectives and Productivity Bonus and come forth in his mind of ex-manager!). At one o'clock we had completed our work, just a patch of land remained to be picked , called 'u Sorice' which was cultivated by the whole group and settled in ten minutes. We gathered in the courtyard, we were very sweaty even though the weather was cool and the sun in Serrara was veiled by a thin layer of clouds that were increasingly intensified, and Franco informed us soon that the harvest had gone very well thanks to hot summer and the providential rains that made turgid the grapes. We harvested approximately twenty tons of grapes to wineries, having delivered 120 baskets of twenty pounds and our labor would result in about 50% or 60 % of wine because the local winemaker, Gino, preferred to produce wine in the first part of the wine pressing. “And the surprise?” said ladies showing to be intriguing and curious. Everyone in the car and at top speed towards Sorgeto for a healthy bath and lunch at the restaurant where, as tradition says, we eaten spaghetti with clams and chicken Cacciatore. Half an hour later we were with the ‘bottom’ in the water, in the true sense of the word. The sound of a Tofa (a seashell) informed us that dinner was served .We voraciously consumed everything and just after lunch we began to chat. Mimì, the restaurateur has made a single mistake: he served us grapes as fruit. Grape for us that smelled of must!

After four hours of bending for the grape harvest, the result was a bathroom that, contrary to what we thought, had consumed the last bit of energy remaining and the thought of those 300 steps with a lift to overcome, we needed only a good rest. At five o'clock we were ready and Franco did not lose the opportunity, at the time of farewell, said: “Dear friends I really appreciate your sense of duty, the dedication with which you have worked, the contempt of danger - someone had to harvest rows of vines on the edges of the hills - the cavalry men, and the availability of the Lord, in homage to the famous aphorism ‘utilia bis repetita iuvant’officially invites you to the harvest on next Saturday according to the way of 'Chignole' "... he had not finished when a chorus yelled ‘nooooo’. I, that like quotations in Latin, replied: “dear Franco ‘semel in anno licet insanire’ and we have committed today the 2011’s foolish act”...

St Michael the Archangel celebration


"Going down towards the sea, St. Angelo appears surrounded by air of peace. Escaping from central part of the Island, first of all, stands the homonym islet with its cliffs and rocks above the waves, accessible only from the North-East by a stretch of sand 119.50 meters long and 30 meters wide to close the Island. It is a rock of volcanic origin 105 meters high. A gigantic altar beneath the sky, an altar shrouded in mystery and historical splendours where the cult of St. Michael the Archangel established, the guardian angel that gave name to the village".

On that island the Benedictine Monks during the 1000 A.D. built a small monastery which abandoned in 1432 maintaining the cult of St. Michael the Archangel. There was also a church with a lookout tower that was destroyed during the British bombardment of 1808. Since then, the island was abandoned. The small fishing village began to extend to the sea with houses clinging to the rock.

The popular tradition says that the little statue of St. Michael the Archangel was moved to a small chapel above the village called "S. Maria a Terra" that a priest, Don Giuseppe Iacono, son of wealthy family of landowners and merchants of wine, expanded also thanks to donations in 1850 to build a parish that had the canonical recognition in 1905. The church was built next to the tiny cemetery where the soil had been donated by the same Don Giuseppe Iacono. The church and cemetery are separated only by the small churchyard.

Don Vincenzo Fiorentino is 81 but shows less years. He is son of peasants in the nearby village of Panza and the longevity is one of the family, for centuries. His mother died at the age of 100.

He is priest of St. Michael Parish for 49 years - he tells me - and is the third priest since the erection of the parish after Father Giuseppe Iacono and Don Luigi Trofa, a great priest and educator who was pastor from 1913 until 1962.

The feast of St. Michael is very important for the population and very popular for tourists, many of which, for years, book hotels on the occasion of two days of the event.

The St. Michael celebration refers primarily to the extraordinary beauty of the "procession on the sea" on Friday, Sept. 30. The St. Michael’s statue shows “the warrior and the driver with a drawn sword against the dragon”, Don Pietro Monti presents in his book. The statue is carried on the shoulder of sailors of the St. Angelo church going down the lane to the square and from there set on a vessel on which there are Don Vincenzo Fiorentino, civil and military authorities, members of the committee and then hundreds of crafts of all kinds with the population and tourists to follow the St. Michael’s boat. It comes up from the harbor to Punta Chiarito towards Forio, and then circumnavigates the small island that everyone calls "The Tower", to the Maronti marina village and finally they return to the port and the square. The procession begins on the sea at 18 and finishes at 20 in the square, where Don Vincenzo celebrates the Mass of thanksgiving.

The celebration ends the two feast days , during which religious services are intertwined with the band concerts in the square, the spectacle of the fireworks at midnight on September 30 in the stretch of water of Cava Grado with the Island of Ventotene before. Eighteen miles away it is possible also to catch a glimpse of Ischia, the Mother Island of the Gulfs of Naples and Gaeta. On the Pontine Islands nowadays "Ischia settlers" are still living and bear surnames like Iacono, Mattera, Taliercio. Descendants of peasants and fishermen, men and women of land and sea, have sailed the Mediterranean islands settling on the islands, even in the Tuscan Archipelago, trusting in the holy protection of St. Michael the Archangel, their own guardian angel.


Serrara Fontana - Loc. Sant'Angelo - St Michael the Archangel celebration:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

  • 07.30 - Holy Mass.
  • 09.00 - A loud reveillewill greet the main day of the celebration.
  • 09.30 - Arrival and tour of the country with the Aurora band.
  • 12.00 - Morning concert in the square.
  • 18.00 - Holy Mass and procession through the streets.
  • 21.00 - Aurora Band in concert.

Friday, September 30 2011
  • 09.00 - A reveille will wish people goodbye to the last day of the celebration.
  • 09.30 - Arrival and tour of the country with the band.
  • 11.00 - Procession to the square where the statue of St. Michael will remain on display for the veneration of the faithful
  • 12.00 - Tour by boat with the band to Punta Chiarito and along the Maronti beach.
  • 18.15 - Procession on the sea: embarkation at the small port of pescatori, and further inshore to Punta Chiarito, then Maronti stop and return.
  • 20.00 - Landing at the Tower and torchlight procession to the square. Celebration of the Holy Solemn Mass celebrated by Father Filippo Strofaldi, our Bishop. Finally returning to church with torches.
  • 22.00 - Classical music concert in Naples, with Marinella.
  • 24.00 - Pyromusical fireworks at the conclusion of the solemn celebrations.

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