September 8, 1943


It was night between 8 and 9 September. Forio fell asleep under the spell of an armistice that brought a strange excitement and popular harmony. The desperation that a little later woke up, the town was great: betrayed by the illusion of peace, Forio lost 13 of its citizens.
At 70 years after the bombing of Forio, we want to tell a piece of our history that must not escape it to any visitor to the city to learn about and revive the local historical identity.

To do it I have opened the doors of the library of the Historical Centre D'Ambra, the source of knowledge of our island, and the historic Nino D'Ambra, founder of the Centre, welcomed me happy to share not only his knowledge but its more intimate and personal experience. Witnessed of that night, he showed me one of the bombs later found in the rubble of St. Vito and told a story of emotions.
Nino D'Ambra says in "THAT CHRISTMAS OF WAR IN 1943"
“We were just sitting at the table. Mom still fumbling in the kitchen with an unusual bustle, trying to create an atmosphere of joy that hard to reconcile with the mournful events of recent months. In Forio the war was over, it’s true. But poverty, hunger loomed as before. And then the sad shadow of those thirteen dead in bombing raids during the night between 8 and 9 September, shortly after celebrating the announcement of euphoria in the late afternoon. I remember the event as if it were yesterday. The streets of Forio were suddenly filled with people. A strange excitement had conquered all. All they hugged and kissed. At one point, as if guided by an invisible hand, as if by magic people organized themselves in procession, an orderly procession that took the Via del Santuario del Soccorso. Once at the shrine, like a mass of extras under the orders of an unseen director, all fell on our knees at the same time. Chants, prayers of thanksgiving, tears of emotion. A religious function in unison so neat and I had never seen before. In the end, appeared out from somewhere, some young men of fireworks exploded as a sign of celebration and rejoicing.
In those moments of euphoria we had even forgotten the tragedy of the previous July, when the passenger ship St. Lucia had been sunk by enemy aircraft in the waters of Ventotene, killing a total of seventy-six people including five from Ischia. A tragedy that had also hit the island community! And the death of our fellow citizen, the forian Pietro Coppa, which took place in Naples 4 August 1943, as a result of aerial bombardment, while carried out his usual and timely work to the island of Ischia.
It was passed midnight and almost everyone in the country had gone to sleep with great joy in my heart and the stomach is almost empty, that the habit was not accustomed to endurance.
Suddenly the explosions much more deafening than the party had made us wake up with a start. And while we were wondering what it was, a detonation nearest shook our whole house. Frightened and overwhelmed by panic, we ran to the adjacent garden, and further explosions, preceded by a well- known deafening hiss, now had removed any doubt about the nature of those outbursts: they were bombs that fell on Forio. In the following days they said that it had been launched as many as 90, but that much , fortunately, had fallen into the sea.
We stood huddled with other relatives in the cave of the garden all night. Meanwhile, the air became unbreathable for the dust that was raised following the collapse of the buildings almost all very close to our house. The arrival of dawn began to thin out the nightmare that had taken hold of us. We began to hear a noise and shouting excitedly of soldiers and volunteers were immediately intervened to remove the dead and wounded from the rubble. Many examples of selfless dedication could enumerate but also report some jackal, taking advantage of some object of value in your pockets.
Meanwhile, the courtyard of the Church of St. Vito had been used as a temporary storage of remains that as they were extracted from the rubble.
Writing about our history, I welcome the excitement of a tragic night in which each of us still carries a trace. With my imagination I relive it in the eyes of my grandmother Teresa, a young bride and with her first child in womb, my mother ran that night in the countryside of St. Vito in search of a safe place to store the fruit of her love...

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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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