Ischia Town, whose 18,000 inhabitants are spread over an area of around 8.05 square kilometres, is regarded as the main centre of the island as far as services, facilities and nightlife is concerned. It consists of Ischia Porto, Ischia Ponte, San Michele, Sant’Antuono and Campagnano. The first two are the most populated areas, situated along the coast, while the other three are found further inland among the hills.
Ischia Porto gets its name from the most important port of the island, where hydrofoils and ferries connect the island to the mainland and the other islands in the Gulf of Naples. The shape of the bay originally comes from the mouth of a volcano crater which was later filled by the sea and enriched with thermal waters of the ‘Forniello’ spring, forming a lake. The lake’s properties made it highly suitable for fish breeding and in the seventeenth century King Ferdinand II (the Bourbon know as Francischiello) made it his private fishing reservoir. In 1845 he turned the little lake into the present day port of Ischia (see the memorial stone plaque at the port entrance).
The two ends of the port offer tourists two different delights. On the left we can see the ‘Pagoda’, a little garden full of pine trees which overlooks the Gulf of Naples. It dominates the whole port of Ischia and takes its name from the oriental-style villa which was built in honour of King Ferdinand II of the Bourbons. On the right we can see the ‘Rive Droite’, the tourist port with its taverns, bars and restaurants renowned for their local cuisine based on fresh fish. This area is highly popular during the summer months for a relaxed stroll. Boutiques can be found in the nearby via Roma, via V Colonna and the main high street. The high street is a pedestrian-only street and offers shops of all kinds and welcoming bars where you can sit down and taste the local produce of the cake shops.
Ischia Ponte, once known as the Borgo di Celsa, owes its present-day name to the bridge originally built in the fifteenth century by Alfonso I of Aragon. It was later rebuilt in the sixteenth century by the town council to connect ‘l’insula minor’ (where the majestic Aragonese Castle stands) to ‘l’insula maior’ and is 230 m long. The unusual architecture of Ischia Ponte tells us something of the town’s past. The fishermen’s simple houses which lie along the coast speak of the economic difficulty which the Ischian commoner once had to face, while the sumptuousness of the houses found inland which belonged to the Ischian nobility tell us the opposite. It has been said that the Ischian rich forbade the fishermen to build houses with more than one floor because otherwise they would spoil their view. Every tourist should visit Santa Maria della Scala (XIVth century), the church of the Santo Spirito (XVIth century), the Congrega of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli, the Bishop House (XVIIIth century), the Clock Tower where the Sea Museum is housed and Michelangelo’s Tower which is situated in the Bay of Cartaromana.
If you leave the coastal area and head inland, you will find San Michele, Sant’Antuono and Campagnano which, contrary to Ischia Porto and Ponte’s bustle of tourists and modern lifestyle, represent oases of Ischian rural life, where the inhabitants still live off fishing and agriculture, tending their vineyards and citrus fruit orchards.
Mezzatorre Resort & Spa Near Forio d’Ischia, perched atop the cliffs in the midst of a thick pine grove of seven hectares, in one of the most enchanting and still unspoiled corners of Mediterranean maquis ...
Forio is the second major town of Ischia according to population number and importance. It stretches between two promontories, Punta Caruso (at Zaro) and Punta Imperatore, between the considered most beautiful beaches on the island ... (Forio d'Ischia)