Ischia Tourist Guide
Ischia is an island of volcanic origins in Italy's Campania region, at the northern end of the Bay of Naples. The island is easily reached by ferries and hydrofoils from Naples, and every summer Italian families flock to Ischia's beaches in their thousands. As well as sandy beaches and blue sea, the island
also boasts natural thermal springs, and the spa complexes around these are another major holiday attraction. The hot springs and the island's natural beauty make Ischia a popular destination for German tourists in particular, and many signs and notices around the island use German as a second language.
When to go
Italians take their holidays en masse in July and August, so the island fills up and hotel prices rise in this period. For more space on the beaches, and an altogether calmer experience, try visiting outside these months. The island enjoys a mild climate all year round, although some hotels close and ferries are scarcer in winter months.
Ischia covers 47 square kilometres, with around 37km of coastline. The island's resident population is 55,000 and it is divided into six comuni, or administrative areas: Ischia, Barano, Forio, Serrara Fontana, Casamicciola Terme and Lacco Ameno. The island's highest point is the summit of Monte Epomeo, which is 789m above sea level.
History and Geology
Ischia is part of a large volcanic area that was very active in the distant past, and its rocks and mountains bear witness to their volcanic formation. In the eighth century BC, Ischia was colonised by the Greeks, and belonged for a time to Gerone of Syracuse (Siracusa), who built a fortress on the spot of the present Castello Aragonese. Repeated earthquakes and eruptions finally caused the Greek colonists to leave the island. An eruption, possibly from this time, left a round crater which is now the circular port of Ischia Porto. The island's fertility led to its resettlement, however, and in Roman times, the island belonged to the Emperor Augustus, who gave it to the Neapolitans in return for Capri.
The most recent eruption took place in 1302, and since then the bubbling volcanic activity below ground is evidenced only by the island's 69 fumaroles and its hot springs. Earthquakes have been more common in recent centuries, and a large earthquake in 1883 destroyed many of the island's historic buildings, almost flattening the town of Casamicciola.