Auteur Forio

forio-autoreThe islands are always like ships at anchor. Set foot on an island is like getting on a boarding bridge: it is taken from the same magical sense of suspension, it seems that nothing bad can happen to you; and while the "Princess" was slowing down in the tiny cove of Porto di Ischia, the sight of pale colors which is flaked on the houses of the port, seemed familiar and beneficial as the beating of his own heart.

In the confusion of the landing, I dropped and broke the watch - a bit of symbolism too, too obvious: you could tell at a glance that Ischia was no place for a breathless chase of hours, the islands are not ever...”

He describes his first "impact" with the island of Ischia, Truman Capote (1924-1984), the great American writer, inventor of the "novel-truth".
It was the spring of 1949, Capote was only 25 years old and had already achieved notoriety with his novel "Other Voices, Other Rooms".
He came to Ischia with Jack Dunphy, who was his "partner" for 38 years. The two men stayed at the Di Lustro hotel in  Forio and remained in Ischia for 4 months. In Forio staying in the same guesthouse Tennessee Williams (1914-1983), the author of  “A Streetcar Named Desire” along with his lover Frank Merlo.
“Once in the hotel of the tiny village of Forio - Gerald Clarke recounts in his biography about Truman Capote - Truman and Jack forgot Sicily: forty-six square miles of Ischia, all volcanic rock washed by the sea and the sun was everything they were looking for”. “What place is this strange and strangely enchanted”, Truman wrote to Bob Linscott. “It’s an island off the coast of Naples, very primitive, inhabited mostly by winemakers and goat herders, by WH Auden and the Mussolini family”.
To Cecil Beaton - continues Clarke - who during the days he had spent in England he was very fond but is really very beautiful and strange, we occupy almost an entire floor right on the seafront, the sun is as hard as diamond and there all over the pleasant smell southern wisteria and lemon leaves”.
Truman Capote and Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973), one of the greatest English poets contemporaries, were the first major foreign intellectuals who "discovered" Forio and the island of Ischia the end of the 40s when the island had a tourist accommodation of a dozen hotels, all of the third category, with a limited commercial activity.
The drinking water came with the tankers and maritime links were provided by the "post" of the Company Neapolitan Navigation (Span), with whom Capote had come.
The island of Ischia was virtually unknown to the major national and international tourist flows were so scarce knowledge about its traditions, its environmental features and its history.
In the 1950s the "Caffè Internazionale" by Maria Senese, the ‘cafettera’ as Elsa Morante called her, has seen many artists of contemporary culture.
Characters like Renato Guttuso, Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante, Capote, Willians and Auden would meet at the Caffe by Maria to sip her “watered wine” as Capote joked remembering in his "Local color".
Auden remained in Forio six years with his American friend Chester Kallman and devoted himself to Forio and the island is a beautiful poem that Gerald Clarke reports in his biographyabout Capote. Affected by the enchantment of the sea of Ischia became a refuge for intellectuals tired of the hectic pace of industrial cities.
One of these was the prof. Malagoli Edward (1923-2001), from Marche, a teacher of literature at the high school in Ischia for over twenty years, who moved in the 1950s from Brescia to Ischia to never leave it again.
Today, the island of Ischia is no longer that one seen by Capote. The sea is no longer as clear as the one that enchanted prof. Malagoli. Even the "Caffè Internazionale” has changed, as fashions change, but the spirit is the same here because the clock does not need”. The development has its price. The hotels are hundreds, the water comes with subsea pipelines, ferries and hydrofoils connect the island with the mainland at a frenetic pace, creation of thousands of homes, often in the most beautiful, which have made the island less green. The weather unfortunately did not stop. But the development has allowed everyone to enjoy the beauty of the island as it was right before it was while it was a privilege for the few. But the island, even if it differs, is still as beautiful as 65 years ago?
For those coming for a vacation of a few days or a few months, the island is still the place where “the weary hours must not chase”? In Forio, the center of the island and the most romantic place favorite artists, you can breathe the same air as “bohemian” of that time?
Tourists have the answer, but we have reason to believe that the island "is still" in spite of the failures of the messy urban economic development. The view you see from the roads of the island is still incomparable like that, moreover, is seen from the Aragonese Castle. The more than 70 churches scattered in its 46 km2 still retain their charm and guard - perhaps even better than before - their treasures.
Many “houses of stone” where peasants took refuge to shelter from the Saracens in the sixteenth century are still engaged in the old "cellar" where it is prepared the good wine of Ischia.
The thermal waters to which miraculous Giulio Jasolino, the Calabrian doctor of 1500 at the Neapolitan court, called “new life”, continue to make miracles and "spa gardens," which are a specialty of the island, still have most enhanced the ability therapeutic thermal waters.
If it is true that the development has led failures also allowed us to discover new opportunities for well-being and health.
The ancient traditions of Ischia are jealously guarded as that of the dance of the “Ndrezzata" in Barano and dozens of patronal feasts. The charm of the moon is always there.
Truman Capote when it came to Ischia was working on a novel - "Summer Crossing" - which was released posthumously. There he discovered his love for Jack which - with ups and downs - remained tied throughout his "scandalous" existence.
“Ischia remained for Truman - Clarke writes - a place of happiness and Capote lived just a few moments of happiness was a" unruly and brilliant writer in all senses, ambitious and blatantly homosexual, shipwrecked in alcohol, drugs and medicines on August 24, 1984”.
Truman Capote remained in Forio the entire spring and never returned.
At the end of 1949 gave to his American publisher all travel articles, nine in all, that were collected in a book entitled “Local Color” .
The article of his stay on the island of Ischia appears in the pages ranging from eighty-seventh to ninety-five. It's one, or perhaps the most beautiful ever written reportage on the island of Ischia.
He writes, concluding Capote: “We followed the spring. In four months since we arrived here, the nights have become hot, the sea became more calm, green water, still winter in March, has turned into the blue one in June, and the screws, then gray and nude on their poles twisted, you will cover the first green grapes. There are swarms of butterflies just born and the mountain many sweet things to bees; in the garden, after a shower, you can hear, yes, barely perceptible, the unfolding of new buds. And as soon as we wake up, a sign of summer, and in the evening linger until late and this is another sign.
It is difficult to plug in the house with nights like the moon descends closer and winks on the water with amazing splendor; and along the parapet of the fishermen’s church, which juts out into the sea like the prow of a ship, young people walking back and forth, whispering, then cross the square, take refuge in some dark secluded corner. Gioconda, the maid, says that was the longest spring that she memories: the longest and the most beautiful”.
YES, Ischia is still timeless.

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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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