OSI-VIII
Optics of Surfaces and Interfaces VIII

Excursion


James Bond-style grappling-hook assaults on the castle are not advised.

An afternoon will be dedicated towards a visit of some of the attractions of Ischia island, including the Aragonese Castle and Sant'Angelo.

The Aragonese Castle was built on a rock near the island in 474 BC, by Hiero I of Syracuse. At the same time, two towers were built to control enemy fleets' movements. The rock was then occupied by Parthenopeans (the ancient inhabitants of Naples). In 326 BC the fortress was captured by Romans, and then again by the Parthenopeans. In 1441 Alfonso V of Aragon connected the rock to the island with a stone bridge instead of the prior wood bridge, and fortified the walls in order to defend the inhabitants against the raids of pirates. Thanks to Alfonso V the Castle was frequented by artists and men of letters, it became the center of the court life; between the XV and XVI centuries the Castle flourished. For a long time the story of Ischia was bound fast to the Aragonese Castle where the Ischia inhabitants could find secure shelter in case of attacks. The XVIII century marked the decline of the role of the Aragonese Castle which was abandoned by the rich families and isolated from the rest of the Island. It also underwent a bombardment in 1809 and was sold to a private owner. Nowadays the castle is the most visited monument of the island. It is accessed through a tunnel with large openings which let the light enter. Along the tunnel there is a small chapel consecrated to Saint John Joseph of the Cross (San Giovan Giuseppe della Croce), the patron saint of the island.


Breathtaking!

(click image to enlarge)

Today the old fishing village Sant'Angelo d'Ischia is an international tourist resort. No cars are allowed to enter, and for this reason Sant'Angelo can be considered a peaceful oasis. With an area of 150 hectares and about 400 inhabitants Sant'Angelo is on the south coast of the island Ischia. Full of trees and plants of any kind, Sant'Angelo offers a marvellous panorama featuring colourful houses joined to the small hill on the harbour, whose small roads overlook the clear blue sea. You can taste and enjoy different fresh fish and Ischia's special gastronomy in the restaurants near the sea. A very special dish is the "pollo alla fumarola" which is cooked under the local vulcanic sands at the "Fumarole" beach. But what is really unique and distinguishes Sant'Angelo from other villages in the world is the small island called "la Torre". It is a volcanic rise island with lots of semicircle terracings. Once at the top of this 105 metres high formation there was a small church, where the cult of St. Michael's Archangel began (Sant'Angelo's Patron Saint).