Along Epomeo Paths

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«The island of Ischia is known as the “Green Island” referring to the abundant vegetation that characterizes it, consists mainly of forests, vineyards and Mediterranean maquis. And it is just the Mediterranean maquis formation, which in the past formed almost a single green cloak, to hit the various populations that came to the island, since the eighth century BC when the people from Euboea founded the first colony of Greeks, called Pithecusa.

The presence of man and the farming replaced over the centuries the maquis with vineyards and partly with the most valuable forests such as pines and chestnuts», says botanist Giuseppe Sollino in the publication “Ischia verde. Itinerari ecologici e botanici” (Publisher Valentino - 2002).

Through the paths, often uncommon tracks, one can admire the natural and cultural typicality of this land, a fascinating journey through a generous nature.

Even if one is working on posters to map and secure paths of different length and difficulty, can entrust to a good guide, like geologist Aniello Di Iorio or Assunta Calise, a hiking guide, to discover and be surprised by the spontaneity of places , the intensity of colors, the spectacle of the rock, the contrast of landscapes. An experience that excites the visitor in all seasons and allows to relive the traditions tied to a site, such as the collection of ice in the village of Falanga, or the Ischian rabbit breeding.

One can reach the lighthouse of Punta Imperatore, Piano Liguori through the rural landscape and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Naples, the top of Epomeo, Santa Maria al Monte and Falanga, the Zaro wood, the Pizzi Bianchi, Piano San Paolo with the sources and the marine fossils at 400 meters, Capo Buttavento with great views of Ischia, Campi Flegrei and Procida, the Canyon between Serrara and Sant’Angelo, the area of the park of Bosco della Maddalena and the Lizard’s trail.

«The Mediterranean maquis- explains Sollini - grows luxuriant, consisting of evergreens, xerophilous with bright bloom. The oaks, holm oaks, olive and carob trees are the elements that with fragrant shrubs such as laurel, juniper, myrtle, and the cysts phillyrea give those inimitable color variations of the green of Ischia… Even more significant is the case of the papyrus of fumaroles (Cyperus poljstachius Rottb.), a thermophilic and hygrophilous species that, outside the tropical and subtropical area, grows only in Ischia, among the fumaroles, where there is a warm and humid microclimate».

Here, these are some of the most beautiful areas of the green island that Lamartine called “the chef d'oeuvre du Golfe de Naples, Italie du monde” (“The masterpiece of the Gulf of Naples, Italy and the world” ).

The peak: Mount Epomeo 787 m

Epomeo is, seemingly, an unattainable and harsh destination, where lush vegetation gives way to the green tuff, creating a unique place of meditation and energy. From the top, with the first finger one can touch all the points, outlining the perimeter of the island. Just turn the look a bit more to see Capri and the Sorrento peninsula, Pozzuoli on the Domitian coast. There is also Ponza and Ventotene.

The easiest way to reach Mount Epomeo, beginning the road that becomes a steep path of particular beauty, is Fontana with a vertical drop of 400 meters and a distance of 3 km.

In the past, the summit was reached by pack animals. A tradition that has been repeated from generation to generation. Grandparents often speak about it remembering funny anecdotes, as when in Lacco Ameno Angelo Rizzoli was already talking about tourism, while the population in Serrara was still rural. People walk often on foot and the main means of transport were the mules, donkeys and horses. In summer, when peasants don’t work in the fields, the men take to the streets with the animals and guided tourists on Mount Epomeo. Then there was the donkey man who had the task of ensuring order and establish priorities. It was a desirable role, so much so that often men came to blows. From dusk to dawn one could also go up and down eleven times.

Thanks to the ‘Epomeo in the saddle’ excursion, created by a group of young people of Ischia, it is possible to relive this tradition. The meeting place is the square of the gift shop Miscillo, just at the feet of the mountain. From here one can go up to the highest peak riding a horse at a time. Through the forest of chestnut, which seems an umbrella with dense foliage, with the silver poplar, oak, and a succession of viewpoints colored juniper bushes, visitors arrive to the island’s oldest church, dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, dug into the tuff. Beside the chapel restored and enlarged in 1754 by Giuseppe D’Argouth, then captain of the Aragonese Castle, who survived the attack of enemy soldiers making a vow to retire along with his comrades in arms here, where he died on August 17, 1778 .

The tragicomic adventures of Henrik Ibsen among the Epomeo’s paths

Nobody is immune to the charms of Mount Epomeo. Singular as reported by Antonina Garise de Palma about the Henrik Ibsen’s hike, told by his friend Vilhelm Bergsoe, a Danish writer. Given his aversion to the mountainous and inaccessible places, Ibsen would never have gone to Epomeo, but his friend resorted to a stratagem, «erasing the fear with curiosity, because he promised to his great friend who would have read beyond the peak a no exactly flattering criticism that Mr. Petersen had made to the Bergsoe’s novel entitled Piazza del Popolo. So Ibsen agrees and in a summer morning, at dawn, the two men began climbing the mountain, on an empty stomach. Soon, the sun heats the two northern visitors. Of course, Ibsen begins to go hungry. Going up a little more, they get the house of a farmer located in a vineyard on the slopes of mount. The farmer receives them with great cordiality and offers them an omelette and wine of Epomeo. Both Ibsen and Bergsoe like it a lot and drink a lot. The Norwegian guests appreciate as our wine as the beer of their country and maybe they prefer wine because more pleasant. It is funny what Bergsoe said about Ibsen. He drinks health every time his friend was reading some of the negative criticism and Ibsen interrupted him draining another glass and saying Prosit, Jakob (this was the confidential nickname he had given Danish friend). Resuming their climb after emptying another bottle of wine, just a few meters later, when they feel the ground shudder beneath their feet, the two men decide to go back».

Confusing a cliff to a short cut, the two men were dragged down unfortunate, in a dense fog, but remained miraculously unharmed.

The path of the large crater

The Red Lizard guides the visitor, duration: 2.15 hours approx. Level II.

Trail: Fiaiano, Marecoppo, Mount Trippodi, Buceto, Carusiello, Cretaio, Fondo Ferraro, Casa Arcamone, bosco dei conti, Fiaiano.

Features: Forest of chestnut, oaks, strawberry trees and heather, source of “Buceto” one of the largest island craters - the Fondo Ferraro, beautiful view overlooking the Aragonese Castle and the Gulf of Naples.

Starting points: Fiaiano - Bar Nik.

Point of arrival: Fiaiano-piazzetta

Served by: bus line 6

The path of the ancient wine cellars

The yellow lizard guides the visitor. Duration: 2 hours approx. Level III

Trail: Buonopane, Candiano Montegatto, Floor St. Paul, selva del Napoletano, Cannavale, Cirillo, Fiaiano.

Features: vineyards, chestnut trees, ferns, heather and herbs. In the area of Candiano and Cirillo ancient cellars, panoramic view of Capri and the Gulf of Naples.

Starting points: Buonopane-piazzetta

Point of arrival: bus stop Fiaiano-line 6.

Served by: Outward: Bus line CD, CS

Return: Bus Line 6.

The path of the sanctuary

The purple lizard guides the visitor. Duration: 2 hours approx. Level II

Trail: Vatoliere, Chiummano, Schiappone, Scarrupata, Schiappone Terone, Vatoliere.

Features: vineyards and chestnut, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montevergine in Schiappone, which offers a beautiful view of Barano and other villages surrounding the volcanic crater of Vatoliere.

Starting points: Vatoliere.

Point of arrival: Vatoliere.

Served by: bus line 5 (Via Vatoliere).

The path of bays

The blue lizard guides the visitor. Duration: 1.15 hours approx. Level I °

Trail: Testaccio, Monte Cotto, Testaccio.

Features: vineyards, oak trees, prickly pears, overlooking the small fortress “La Guardiola”, breathtaking views of the bays of San Pancrazio, Maronti and Cava Grado.

Starting point: Piazzetta Testaccio.

PPoint of arrival: Piazzetta Testaccio.

Served by: bus line 5.
 

Of course, a good pair of hiking boots and a training are a prerequisite requirement for all excursions listed.

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029

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