Celebrating September, between mountains and sea

Santa-Maria-al-Monte-forio-ischia

September, the month of strong and intense colors, where nature gives its most beautiful fruits after the summer heat, for Ischia is also a month of important religious festivals or not. Two in particular, reveal "pristine" all their beauty and their charm despite the diversity that characterizes them.
On September 12, the Mary’s name day, the Church of Santa Maria al Monte in Forio 400 mt. height above sea level, is "light of life" and welcomes pilgrims from all over the island.

Excavated in the tuff part, this "stone church" can be considered a typical example of rock-cut architecture.
Abandoned around 1930 and used as a shelter for animals and storage of wood, it was restored in '57 thanks to the donations collected by the Forian faithful and grandmother Carmela Picarelli. It is just she who represented the life of the party for many years along with other local people, devoted to Our Lady, as the pastor still very active Don Pasquale Sferratore, Luigi Luongo said "bijoux" and Bartholomeo Impagliazzo, "Bartiluccio" to which is named the hill climb race that takes place every year on the afternoon on September 12, starting from the "Cinema delle Vittorie".
A fascinating day, that the feast of Mary's name, which flows through celebrations of Masses, a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to "Punta Gallotta" and lunch together, a sort of "second Easter Monday" for the islanders and the inhabitants in the area who do not hesitate to open to all on that day their simple homes.
In the afternoon, the last Mass and the arrival of the festive participants in the footrace close a lovely page of Ischia, which brings us back in time for a few hours moving away from the chaos of daily life, making us breathe the scent of things simpler and therefore more beautiful!
Of a different "kind" but no less engaging and fascinating however, is the feast of St. Michael, in Sant'Angelo, a small fishing village in the south of the island, which on 29 and 30 September renews the homage to the patron saint.
Don Vincenzo Fiorentino, son of the nearby village of Panza, is exactly for 50 years pastor of St. Angelo, at the head of one of the smallest parishes of the island, such as active since 1905 after years of "dependency" from the Parish of St. Maria del Carmine in Serrara.
It is him to talk about these wonderful days per year expected by islanders and tourists, who do not hesitate to book in advance their stay in the hotels in the area.
There was one time, already near the top of the island of St. Angelo (the "Tower") that there was a small Benedictine monastery with an attached tower. The monks had to leave the place around 1432, leaving, however, the cult now firmly rooted to the Archangel Michael, and for the bombing of the British in 1808, and for the expansion of the village towards the sea, was transferred to the village where there was already the chapel of "Santa Maria to Earth" (in the locality "Madonnella"). In 1850 was later built the new and current Parish Church and the adjacent cemetery that arise on land owned by the Iacono family, whose son priest can. Giuseppe was the first pastor of St. Angelo until 1912. It was he who apply for and obtain recognition of the forcefully Parish in 1905 for the community of St. Michael (also including the rectory of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Succhivo) that in 2005 thus celebrated its centenary as a parish community .
After that, for 50 years to the day (1912 - 1962) was Don Luigi Trofa to lead the young community of Sant'Angelo, before the arrival of the ever dynamic and beloved Don Vincenzo! There are two intense days, September 29 and 30 with a program that varies very little from year to year, but that gives new emotions to the person who lives and makes them own.
Striking is the procession of the first night, the feast day of the patron saint, Saint Michael carried on the shoulders of the faithful along the narrow streets and steep in the upper part and the simple and picturesque yacht harbor, and at dusk, as if by magic, here light all the cliffs of little flames shining! This is thanks to the hard work of a group of youths that to set the stage, positioned on the rocks in large jars with rags soaked in oil, which are then turned in two days with torches to the passage of San Michele.
On 30 September, in the morning the statue of San Michele is transferred to the square of the village where remained until evening, to be carried in procession again, this time to sea and towards Punta Chiarito in the nearby village of Panza, and towards the beach of Maronti - Barano (granted annually by an inscription on the sand composed of many small torches by tour operators of the place).
A river of boats, large and small come from all over the island and follow the "Pellicano", the fishing boat that has the honor of carrying the Saint, escorted by all law enforcement agencies.
An endless show from Punta Chiarito to Maronti beach, a flash of multicolored waterfalls mixed with flames illuminated the cliffs creating a wonderful atmosphere.
After the Mass celebrated in the square and the concert band, a thunderous final colors the sky in San Angelo to give appointment to all next year awaiting further Santangiolesi wonderful days!

by Francesco Antonio Schiano

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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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