Visiting Wineries along the paths

sentieriThe close relationship between natural, geological, historical and cultural elements makes the journey of discovery around the island of Ischia a way to observe and experience the region in systemic key, highlighting the close relationship between past and present and highlighting the strong local identities perfectly integrated with the environment.

In fact, the volcanic nature and the fertile soil have allowed the development of a peasant culture that finds its maximum expression in the cultivation of the vine and wine production; culture that grew steadily over time and even today , sometimes hidden, sometimes obvious, is along the maze of paths and trails that weave around the island . It is so strong that connections that you cannot think of proposing a hiking trail without going through the reality that still retain and reproduce the traces of the agricultural traditions of the past, but it is also true the contrary. Considering that one of the objectives of subsection of CAI (Italian Alpine Club ) is the promotion of the routes and local traditions , that’s why in the calendar events this year as part of “Visiting wineries” we wanted to participate by inserting a couple of routes.
The routes proposed here are just an example of how the interplay between history and architecture (ancient human intervention), is in harmony with the environment, but also meant to be a contribution so that there is a greater power consciousness with respect to the care of this territory, its protection and enhancement.
The first one starts from the center of Panza (seat of the Pro Loco) . The town retains very well the traces of the use of the natural element, transformed by human intervention, the typical local rock used to derive houses, cellars, and cisterns. But the intervention farmer is clear even in the dry stone walls (the so-called “parracine”) which, built with the same local stone, mark the path. Begins our journey towards Sorgeto and follow the driveway, we come to a small fork: to the right, we walk a few meters along a series of houses surrounded by greenery and we come across a junction from which start two paths. The first one, with a moderate altitude (about 100 m), goes forward in a valley planted with orchard and continues until the small and beautiful bay of Pelara . The descent is introduced by a steep staircase with wooden steps carved into the tufa leading to a stratified wall of pumice, ash and lapilli. From here, the trail winds through a lush grove of oak trees, but we also find species typical of the Mediterranean maquis: heather, arbutus and mastic. In the forest hides the “hermit’s cave”, dug into the tufa rock. Beyond this, literally we bump into a beautiful glade of ferns, where in spring it is easy to pick wild asparagus. Beyond the clearing, a rustic scale, made by volunteers of the Pro Loco Panza, allows to overcome the difference in height easily, to get to the coast and the sea . The descent is wonderful, since it gives the opportunity to observe the multi-colored cliffs, ranging from gray to black to red (blackish trachytic rocks alternating reddish pyroclastic). The different colors indicate the presence of different lava minerals. It is, in fact, a remarkable geological site, which culminates in an imposing gray lava rock, about 80 meters high and dominates the sea, creating the magic of light and color of a certain rarity.
To reach the second path, we go back and go towards Mount of Panza among vineyards and scrubland areas, whose predominant color is yellow of brooms in late spring. In addition to the typical coastal vegetation is of particular interest the presence Orchid Serapis. Crossing a wide and flat ridge, the look is totally free to expand offshore on a clear day, towards Punta della Campanella and Capri eastward and Ventotene westward. A viewpoint that invites to meditation designed to redress the psycho – physical balance, together with some bench, closes the highest and flat part of the mountain: from here you can admire the area stretching from Santa Maria al Monte, Bocca di Serra, up to Serrara, Monte Vezzi, Monte Cotto , the Maronti bay, Sant'Angelo and, finally, Sorgeto. A visit to this area will only be complete with a visit to the Bay of Sorgeto . The driveway to go down in the bay, starts from the same fork in the road that led to the two paths described above. So, back there, turn right and proceed comfortably up to an open space in front of the restaurant "Da Gisella”. From this point, depart 300 steps that lead to the hot pools of thermal water that characterize and give the name to the bay. During 500, the Calabrian doctor G. Jasolino, who first examined all the thermo-mineral waters that come to the island to study its various healing effects, judged the warm current of Sorgeto “beneficial to gout , to frigidity and sterility”. Embedded between two headlands, pebble, not too extensive, the valley is full of warm water up to 90 °, and then mix in the cold sea, creating, even in winter, the opportunity to plunge into it with pleasure and benefit. The tour ends in Punta Chiarito, an important archaeological site and a visit to visit the winery “Antica Fattoria Greca” where you can enjoy good wine and local products.
For the other path we travel across the island, from the center of Panza by a shuttle bus that takes us up to the riding stables of Fiaiano, where we start. We exit immediately through a chestnut forest. During spring ( best time to travel this path thanks to many blooms) the view is immediately kidnapped by the light color of the flowers of chestnut, Mount Toppo (427 m asl ) to rise, golden brush strokes appear in the sea deep green typical of this island side and a large index of floristic richness . Take the path that goes up to the valley of Buceto , where there is a source of the same name , the first stroke is accompanied by the remains of the old aqueduct that captured the water from the source and took it to the village of Gelsa (today Ischia Ponte). Given the strong position of this first section the predominant vegetation is typical of the Mediterranean maquis, distinguished by the fragrant essences of myrtle enriched by the aromas of wild mint and thyme. After a while, as if by magic, the landscape changes: the particular position and geomorphology of the valley, as well as the wealth of water (the source of Buceto), the presence of tall poplars and ailianti epifitati in ivy crawling and streamers that look like creepers and low ferns and tall burdock leaves at least one meter wide, the chirping of birds, make this stretch like a tropical forest. There was immersed in this world, losing for a moment the knowledge of space - time. But Ischia is also this: thanks to its geo - bio - morphic - climate variability, in a limited space grow many different environments, from those typical of the Mediterranean area, to those of high mountains and tropical environments.  
After leaving this place, you get into a forest of chestnut trees at the foot of Mount Trippodi (502 m asl), until you get to Piana San Paolo, old fossil beach , witness of the past of a part of the island. Abandoning the forest and began the descent , the landscape opens , offering a glimpse complete of the Gulf of Naples , with the flegree islands, Campi Flegrei , Vesuvius and the Monti Lattari . It is the path of Buttavento , on the Costa Sparaina , which stands on a volcanic dome , which leads to Candiano fraction of Buonopane , where there is a centuries-old oak tree , silent witness to the passing of time. Along this stretch there are also a number of cellars dug into the soft rock, which highlight the strong interconnection between the natural and the man-made landscape. It will be an opportunity to visit a number of wineries and producers of local specialties and soak in the smells and tastes that only such an experience can give. This means that the description of the routes that I have told is not complete. You will complete it with the emotions and feelings that you will experience along the way, which I assure you will touch all your senses.

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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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