Ischia is the largest island in the Campania region; it belongs to the Phlegrean Islands and is visited each year by over 6 million people who are attracted by its vast and varied landscape. There are six towns on the island of Ischia. The town of Ischia is divided into two parts:
- Ischia Ponte, the old Borgo di Celsa (named after its excellent mulberries), with a historic centre characterized by narrow streets and small shops;
- Ischia Porto, a small fishing village known for its famous thermal baths that are renowned worldwide for their health properties and healing waters.
Ischia is currently the heart of the island, with its white and colourful houses, large mansions, quaint narrow streets and a beautiful pine forest that stretches to the beach. Ischia is famous for its beaches, thermal springs, tourism and historic sites like the famous Aragonese Castle, which used to house the governor and bishop of the diocese.
Aragonese Castle, built by the tyrant Gerone I of Siracuse in 474 BC, is a fort that stands on the eastern side of the island. It is connected to Borgo di Celsa, by a 200-metre stone bridge. The Castle is located on a small, dome-shaped island that reaches 113 metres above sea level and was created during a volcanic eruption around 300,000 years ago. Today, you can access the Castle through a 400-metre tunnel lit by skylights. Inside, paths and trails lead to its buildings and gardens. Since the twentieth century, an elevator facilitates access to this stunning location. At the top, you can visit the Cathedral of Assunta, bombed by the English in 1809, and a crypt that contains frescoes from the Giotto school and preserves the remains of many of the island’s noble families.
In addition to Aragonese Castle and the Cathedral of Assunta, you can visit several other sites rich in historical and cultural value on the island of Ischia:
- Maritime Museum;
- Church of the Madonna delle Grazie;
- Church of the Purgatory Souls, also known as St. Peter;
- parochial Church of St. Mary in Portosalvo;
- Church of Addolorata;
- Antonian Library;
- Palace of the Seminary;
- Church of the Holy Ghost.
In ancient times, the Harbour of Ischia was a lake that was then opened onto the sea to facilitate trade and growth on the island. In addition to being renowned for its thermal baths, the port is characterized by nearby high fashion shopping streets, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Walking along the harbour, you can also reach the stunning, lush gardens at Parco della Pagoda, named after an ancient wooden structure, and La Riva Destra, where you can spend a pleasant night in one of its traditional scenic restaurants enjoying the views and tasty local cuisine.
If you are into shopping, Ischia is famous for producing ceramics, which follow ancient Greek traditions, and terracotta. You will find several souvenir shops where you can buy some of the island’s most traditional products.