The CAI in Ischia


Ischia, the green island, the largest island of the Gulf of Naples, is an island where facts, myth and legend blend giving to anyone visit it a cocktail of flavors, smells and emotions. Of volcanic origin, young and lively (it’s only about 150,000 years old) the island is still affected by the volcanic phenomena (high thermal quality of the soil, the presence of fumaroles, hot springs and spas etc. ..), these features make the island territory extremely varied from different points of view.

In fact, the complex morphology, together with the presence of different microclimate zones, has ensured very different habitat from each other, giving very special environments that are considered as real ecological niches, where we find in a few square meters some very rare plant species and interesting for their biology, ecology and chorology.
The close relationship between natural, geological, historical and cultural elements makes the journey of discovery 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 seismic and volcanic nature of the island of Ischia has influenced, over the centuries, the stories of local people, forcing them to continuous adaptations to the territory. This has meant, for example, that an extraordinary example of rock-cut architecture developed, due to the long work of transformation of green tuff boulders tumbled down from Mount Epomeo. This complex is known as the “stone houses”, real homes entirely dug into the tuff, used as cellars, deposits and temporary shelters. The complex land provoked also an extensive network of connections (paths, mule tracks, steep steps), often dug into rock layers, while the cultivated land, divided into terraces, were supported by a typical drywall containment: the “parracine”. They are certainly a jewel of technical skill, knowledge of the area and use of the materials available. Given the current development of tourism activities, the old crafts and traditions were a little overlooked and the route network of trails has lost its original function. Today the modern user of the ancient rural infrastructure is the walker and the path becomes, then, a means to ensure sustainable tourism.
In order to rediscover and enhance the extraordinary potential of the island, to strengthen the knowledge of its geo-biological and anthropological heritage and to promote the tourist and environmental offer -, focused on walking and on the correct use of the trails and mountain, contact with nature and territory, it was formed the subsection of the CAI (Italian Alpine Club). The Italian Alpine Club has among its tasks that one to “provide for the tracking, implementation and maintenance of footpaths, alpine and climbing equipment”. The aim is to offer to anyone who has this passion serious incentives, for every interest valid arguments for cultural enrichment. These are concrete nationwide answers to the many shelters (for example on our island) guides, escorts, countless courses, conferences, debates and schools especially designed as training centers and witness of values. The National Corporation of Mountain Rescue and the Avalanche Service are valuable aids, books and publications for an in-depth knowledge, the numerous committees that deal with mountain medicine and the study of the territory. Environmental protection is the prerequisite for the promotion of nature tourism with cultural and exploratory features (mountaineering, hiking, caving, etc.), aimed at the knowledge and study of the area. It follows, therefore, that it is taken as a commitment to “active protection” (promotion of the territory and its inhabitants) and not merely “passive and conservationist”.
The CAI is structured into sections and subsections. They consist of members who find themselves sharing the same passion for the mountains. An interest that, more and more as I mentioned above, along with the free trekking and mountaineering activities is characterized as attention to the culture and history of the mountain.
In Ischia the group, although recently formally constituted and which will be officially unveiled on May 18, is already active for a year. In this period we have focused on the digital detection of paths, in order to create a network, with its cartography. All is started from the work that the Department of soil conservation in Campania region has made in the form of a geo guide - environmental and cultural, with related thematic maps. The significant elements of the landscape were selected as geological sites, or places through which it is possible to illustrate the stages of the geological evolution of the sector of the island at issued. The routes identified were included in the cadastre Campania CAI paths.
At the same time, considering the routes mentioned above, another important aspect is that of their signature, which began in January 2013. Last but not least there has been the organization of excursions to allow members of other national sections or fans come into contact with the heterogeneity of the isle environment.
The hiking is becoming a cultural-recreational-sports practice increasingly widespread, to the extent that a growing number of tourists are now attracted by the opportunity to walk the trails and to associate to the discovery of physical activity, healthy landscapes, encounter with nature, with the ethnography, with the culture and traditions of a territory. Despite having a priceless heritage from this point of view, we are not yet equipped to ensure a correct and continuous use all the tourists hikers who choose the island to live these moments of integration and balance with nature and with themselves. What is still missing is definitely an idea of the whole, a structured network of trails covering the whole territory of the island and not the individual or common fraction, and especially the problem of maintenance is absolutely essential from the previous year and that would ensure continuity over time. These are the goals that the subsection arises, it is necessary to achieve a dense network of partnerships between the various stakeholders in the area.
The paths and different areas of the island are the pages of a history book, in which the chapters are made up of almost all signs still (thankfully) well preserved and that tell us about the evolution of the territory and its social fabric. And it is not to lose these stories that it is necessary to give more attention to these places. The protection and enhancement are a social duty that we owe to this land, and so it is necessary a more involvement of all: administrators, associations, entrepreneurs and anyone who cares about this magical island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Shown below the official activities of subsection planned for the year 2013:
1) May 18: Subsection press conference at the Hotel Gattopardo
2) May 19: activities planned for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the CAI: on the trail of the Tufo Verde (Green Tuff - CAI path 501)
3) May 26: Andar per sentieri (Hiking along paths)
4) June 2: activities planned for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the CAI: Between Craters and thermal waters (path from Casamicciola to Nitrodi)
5) June 23: The path of alum rock (CAI 502)
6) August 11: walking beneath the stars (program in progress)
7) August 29: activities in collaboration with the mountaineering section of the youth section of Naples: from Fontana to Sant’Angelo
8) December 31: Piano Liguori and Monte Vezzi.


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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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