For more than two millennia, the thermal waters of Ischia have been known for their extraordinary healing properties. Here, waters issuing from more than a hundred springs are able to ameliorate ailments such as rheumatism, arthritis, osteoporosis, sciatica and a host of respiratory illnesses, allergies and skin conditions. Ischia’s waters’ magical properties were first recognized by the ancient Greeks, who established a trading hub on the island in the VIII century B.C.
It seems like a veritable who’s who of Greek and Roman poets and commentators such as Virgil, Homer, Ovid, Statius and Lucan, to name a few, described Ischia as having been inhabited by giants. One in particular, named Typhon was the monstrous son of Gaea, goddess of the Earth and Tartarus, god of the Underworld. He was the personification of volcanism since flames gushed from his mouth. In a presumptuous move, he challenged Zeus to a fight, which he lost. Seeking a suitable punishment for the hothead, Zeus buried him under the island of Ischia. Unable to endure the humiliation, the angry giant struggled to free himself, spewing forth flames and boiling water and shaking the earth with his restless movement. Frustrated that he could not escape his fate, he began to cry so intensely that Aphrodite was moved to free him, turning his tears into waters with healing powers.
The refrain shakes me, comes and goes, hovering in memory: «È del poeta il fin la meraviglia... // ... chi non sa far stupir, vada alla striglia!»
These are the famous verses by Giambattista Marino, the Great poet of baroque poetry. It has been four centuries, and its strength does not leave me for the disruptive contemporary, dressed up with a peppery vein that reveals a necessary, essential and raw truth. The “poet” of rhyme is the “artist” in itself, to put it bluntly. Why do I start with him? It is easy to say.
I returned days ago in the monumental area of the Aragonese Castle.
«Ischia, a paradise seen from the sky» welcomes shooting by Gianni Mattera, chef and photographer in love of his land in the sea I had the good fortune to fly over the island for three times. In the beginning of August a long time ago, tied to the rigid safety belt on a heavy institutional helicopter with the legendary photographer of Il Mattino, Antonio Troncone, we had to make a report of the press and tourism and, for a few minutes, we touched lightly crests of hills upside down, because our phantasmagoric pilot wanted to play a little bit with us guests on board, bipeds with roots accustomed to the ground!
I meet Maria Luigia Ungaro, called Marilisa by friends and known as “Mari di Guai”, to the sea. A day with the sun, and while in Naples it rains, we taste coffee in Bagno Ricciulillo. “I dream of waking me up one day and face the satisfaction of having achieved what I wanted”, she says. Independent, determined, she loves being the center of attention because she loves the exchange that comes from the audience, especially when she performs.
Meeting with a master of lettering design, graphic design and visual communication. Born in Forio, he lives in Brooklyn and teaches at the university in New York, is the creator of “Serif Gothic font”, and is viscerally tied to the land and language of origin, in the spirit of pleasure. And of a contagious and ironic transgression.
Sehnsucht for Ischia - The Poseidon Gardens, the island, the shapes, the colors, the charm and the desire of desire closed in a jar
My first encounter with the island dates back more than 30 years ago: with my father to buy the Poseidon Gardens, shortly after the purchase. It was love at first sight, the first impression from the boat was that of a large rock, covered with a soft green cloak. The road that led from the port of Ischia to Forio was a succession of twists and surprises: I was kidnapped and enchanted by the place and returned to me insistently to mind some lines of Goethe:
Know’st thou the land where lemon-trees do bloom,
And oranges like gold in leafy gloom;
A gentle wind from deep blue heaven blow, (...)
The crag leaps down and over it the flood:
Know’st thou it, then?
’Tis there! ’tis there
Our way runs; O my father, wilt thou go?
In this short Mignon song, the girl of Italian origins protagonist of a novel by Goethe, recalls with nostalgia her country and for generations of Germans become the personification of the south desire. In this vision of the landscape and classicist architecture is the Sehnsucht, or the misery, the longing for Southern Italy which lasts from ‘700 to date.