Nowhere else, but on Ischia and Capri there are so many available resources for tourists. Both are famous all over the world for the highest concentration of thermal complexes, a practice already used in ancient epochs, as for example by Greeks and Romans. The thermal phenomenon, almost forgotten, and fallen in disuse during the middle ages times, started to be revalued during the XVIth century. Only at the end of the XIXth century thermal practice definitely entered in vogue, at the beginning as a life status for wealthier people, later, when science recognized its therapeutic values, it became a medical practice to all effects.
Since the most ancient times also men have shown a certain attention for the body care, sometimes even overcoming the women’s. For this reason, if you want to spend a relaxing vacation, we suggest you the many thermal centers available on the territory. Therefore for young “Narcissuses”, this will be a tailor made vacation, to be prepared after one day of true relax, to spend a night in one of the so many island night clubs; while for the eldests, or for those needing particulare cares, the period of therapeutic intervention will turn into an unforgettable vacation.
In this context, swimming pool baths, thalassotherapy and the heliotherapy sessions, will just be positive and useful moments, in a very nice entertaining context. The most suitable vacation, should be putting together relax, comfort and care. One of the most important reason for this, should be sought in the landscape beauty, in the essence of the territory that helps forgetting the external world, in presence of a possible recreational equipment, from cinemas to tennis fields, from dancings, to congres saloons, from libraries to the minigolves.
Among the different thermal centers on Ischia the island, the best centers for the most demanding are: the complex of the Giardini di Poseidon, to Forio d’lschia and the Negombo, in Lacco Ameno. The Poseidon center, besides supplying thermal cares, also offers the opportunity to have physiotherapy, and massotherapy sessions, aesthetical cares, as well as supplying clients with the use of a beach with original sun umbrella and deckchairs. The Negombo centre was created on 1946 by duke Luigi Silvestre Camerini who created a botanical garden exploiting climatic conditions favourable for the Mediterranean maquis, as well as for tropical plants. In this centre there are currently 12 swimming pools with both sea and thermal water.
This centre is particularly good for young people, because besides the beautiful sea life they can spend on the beach, it also offers one of the most lively place for nights in ischia.
Capri offers an elite vacation, and also offers the chance to fortify oneself in the numerous beautys centres. The Great Quisisana Hotel offers an atmosphere of exclusive elegance and great hotel tradition to all guests. The twenty, twenty-five days of stay recommended in order to have good results, can be cheered by tours we suggest only for the most resourceful people, to visit the territory under all aspects. For those who only want to spend an “healthy” day, we suggest the naturalistic itinerary, which will allow you to appreciate the environmental beauties of the place and at the same time to breathe its healthy air.
The island can offer different possibilities also for children. The Ischia Museo del Mare is particularly good for visits, since it preserves and expresses the maritime island nature, as well as the island civilization, linked to the sea. The nautical equipments inside the museum, mainly dating-back to the beginnings of the XXth century, will definitely draw your children’s attention, who will get charmed by the many naval tools, such as for example the inclinometer, the log and the start light. Moreover, thanks to the exposed models, your children will have the chance to observe from near boats of ancient epochs, and this will allow them to understand the various structural changes happened over the years. They will also have the possibility to touch with their hands ancient tools used for fishing, reeds creels, landing-nets, baskets and a diver suite, true symbol of the secular “challenge” between the man and the sea, to discover its secret.
Finally for those people interested in collecting, there are stamps showing the sea, or elements linked to it. Always for the youngest we suggest, among the many attractions offered by Capri island, a visit to the famous Capri in miniature, a course which allows to know the historical, environmental and habits events of the island. The work is handmade in carved stone and enriched with a dwarf vegetation and from many ceramics miniatures. At the end of the tour that can be done with the help of inside guides, it is possible to visit the handicraft ceramics workshop of the art Gallery, where skilled local artisans work the clay or paint typical objects of the island. This will allow children to appreciate manual work, and making them discover the difficulties, the skills, and the attention needed to carry-out a work, all elements that will compete to subsequently justify the respect for an art work. For children it will be enough having a look around to discover the hi¬story and the habits of Capri, contained in eleven showcases displayed to the sculpture sides.
Itinerary for young people
For young people we suggest an “alternative” itinerary that we are sure will definitely attract adults and children too: a tour around the cinema places of Procida, those places that have turned the island into “an open sky set”, for both Italian and International cinema.
The first appearance of Procida dates – back to 1954, when it first appeared as a film scenography: Graziella, drawn by the homonym novel by Alphonse De Lamartine, by the direction of Giorgio Bianchi.
So many could be the itineraries to follow, but you will be definitely attracted by the itinerary regarding the last ten years films.
II Postino, was shot on 1994 between Procida, Salina and Pantelleria islands. The film was directed by the great Massimo Troisi (Direction: Massimo Troisi, Michael Radford, who won the OscarAward as best soundtrack (music player Luis Bacalov) and Troisi got a nomination as best actor.), a film drawn by the book” II Postino di Neruda” by Anthony Skarmeta, set during the ’50s. The film scenography was prepared in thirty days, and as for Procida, the scenes were shot in Marina Corricella and at Pozzo Vecchio beach. Marina Corricella is a fishermen suburb developped around the seventeenth-century church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, maybe this is the most pitoresque and characteristic part of the island.
Walking through the pedestrian streets of this area there is a suggestive atmosphere. Watching the fishermen spinning their nets and smelling the sea perfume, now we can imagine why Massimo Troisi was attracted by this place, unfortunately nobody knew this had to be his last film. Walking though the narrow little streets of this suburb, or through the little paths leading to the sea, it seems to live inside that film. After the walk through those famous places where the film was shot, we can stop to the famous “Bar Graziella where it is possible to admire the many vips pictures, meanwhile having an icecream or a piadina.
This Cafe was obtained by an ancient fishermen cave. On the other part of the island, there is the beach of Pozzo Vecchio, which was also used to shoot another scene of the Postino film. This part of the island has a very grainy sand, and it offers the possibility to have long swims laying it in a bay. Young tourists will appreciate a plunge in this beach, where there is also a bathing establishment and a cafe.
From August 1998 to December 1999 in Procida was shot another film, drawn by the novel Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith, The talented Mr. Ripley, shot in Piazza Marina Grande, via Principe Umberto, along the street near the Church of S. Leonardo and the Church of S. Maria della Pietà, Piazza dei Martiri, slope via S. Rocco. The first stop is at Piazza Marina Grande, the ferries and hydrofoils landing point.
Continuing along the way, there are the two churches of San Leonardo and Santa Maria della Pietà, for which a crew of over 150 people worked there to build the two churches. This place offers interesting hints to study the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries, especially for art keen young people. Let’s continue then towards Piazza dei Martiri that years ago was the scenography of an American film, but centuries ago, it has been the stage of even more important events, since it was the place of hopes and of the repression of 1799. In this places, revolutionary islanders hoisted the Freedom mast with red-yellow and blue colors. Bourbons and English, soon had the rebellion put-down in blood, they conquered the island before Naples. Following a chronological order, another film shot on this island was “on Arthur’s island”, and the dramatic Coming back home (other shooting places have been: Monte di Procida, Pozzuoli, Castella (Baia), 4 shooting weeks in the sea), with the direction of Vincenzo Marra, whose filming in Procida took place from September to October 2000.
The places where the filming took place have been the Bar Giorgio in Marina Grande, at the harbour, and the pier in front of Procida Hall, therefore we will not miss a stop at those two meeting places. The pier standing in front of Procida Hall, the harbour pier of Marina Grande, a place in front of the offices of the Harbour Surveillance Police headquarters, and the open space laying in front of the new prison, have been other locations for a film directed by Stephen Vicario, Sottovento, (shot in Procida on June 2000). Other shooting places for this film have been Ponza, Ischia and Rome. Particularly interesting for cinema sets, have been the shootings for the film Francesca and Nunziata, whose filming was shot in Procida (from October to December 2000), Brescia, Naples, and Frascati. The shootings have been focused on the Abbey of San Michele, Piazza degli Oleandri, San Giacomo desecrated Church, Spiaggia Corricella, Casa Privata (Private House) in Via Pizzaco, Esterno Palazzo in via V. Emanuele, case private (private houses) in Via Marcello Scotti, bourbons chase little houses in Villa Lavina, via A. De Gasperi, external former prison.
We suggest you to enjoy all the natural beauties these islands offer, such as scuba diving organised for any level of divers. It is also possible the departure from Naples. Besides, it is possible to make wonderful boat trips, also in the night, in order to admire all the sea resources. If some of you would prefer enjoying the sea “on the surface”, there are also sailing courses, and to have information about those courses you better refer to Capri Yacht Club, which has obtained the affiliation to the Italian Yachting Federation, whose sail school is under the Coni approval and surveillance. In order to enroll to courses it is possible to contact the Yacht Club Capri reception office, or it is also possible to go to the Consorzio Porto Turistico offices, at Marina Grande dock.
Two statues of this Madonna are guarded in the abbey of San Michele, respectively of the XVIIth and of the XIXth century. Starting from the 15th of July, the seventeenth-century statue is dressed by islanders women with suits made of gold threads and then exposed on the altar, in order to be carried to the church of Santa Maria dei pescatori, after two masses celebrated in her honor. There it will stay for a week, before returning to the abbey. But another tradition is also celebrating two important writers who have wrote about Procida in their pages: Elsa Morante, with its Arthur’s Island, a book whom it was dedicated a literary competition that is held on September for the most poethic and narrative text, and De Lamartine, author of Graziella, celebrated during the Graziella Party, which should occur the first week of August, within the Festa del Mare. In memory of this literary place, during an eighteenth-century procidan costume parade, the most beautiful girl is elected the Graziella of the year. From one party to another you can’t miss a tour among the characteristic shops of Procida, from Corricella, where is possible to find painted handicraft ceramics, as well as buying typical procidane cottages with pastel colors, and many characteristic handmade objects.
There are also many other shops where, it is possible to assist to the sweet-boxes making, or home objects, or attending to one of the practical courses artisans held there. August the 26th Ischia Harbour is celebrated Sant’Alessandro with a representation of the whole island history with genuine costumes of the epoch and accompanied by flag shakers. Ischia Harbour is also the location of the famous International Journalism Award, Ischia Award. Among the winners of this award there are the most important names of the Italian journalism, from Indro Montanelli to Alberto Bevilacqua. On September, at Ischia Ponte, there is the celebration of the Santo Patrono Giovanni Giuseppe della Croce. During the celebration there is the procession of the statue brought away by the sea, from Ponte to Porto, then returning later on to the earth. At the end of the procession there are also fireworks.
The most famous Ischia feast is a very big tradition, a feast taking place on the 26th of July, in honor of sant’Anna, the fishermen’s protectress. On the scenery of the enchanting natural amphitheater, in front of the suggestive Aragonese Castle, tourists will participate to the characteristic parade of wagons built on floating floats, ending with the classic fire of the Castle and of the Michelangelo Tower.
According to Casamicciola legends, its name derives from a Roman matron, “Nizzola”, who not being able to walk anymore, owing to the pains she had in her legs, she completely recovered herself by putting her legs in the waters of a brook, near her residence. From then this area was named “Casa di Zizzola”, and then it became famous for thermal therapies. This tradition seems to be confirmed by the city hall coat of arms, showing a woman bathing her legs in a spring. Another tradition is linked to thermal waters benefitc. It is said that near Castiglione thermal spring, it is possible to have a healthy bath near the Bagnitiello, where somebody says that waters can give fertility to women. Popular cult or truth?… Go and trust it. From Casamicciola let’s pass to “that small mushroom” of Lacco Ameno, famous all over the world thanks to Angelo Rizzoli, in order to remember from the 16th to the 18th of May Santa Restituta’s sacrifice. It’s said that this blessed woman, of Carthaginian origin, didn’t want to abjure her own Christian religious persuasions before Proclino tyrant, who condemned her for this reason to get burnt alive on a boat pushed in the sea. For divine wish, however, she could escape to the fire and landed on San Montano’s roadstead.
In Forio, leaning from the extraordinary viewpoint on the terrace in front of the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, it is possible to admire the famous Raggio Verde, an optic phenomenon caused by the fusion of the last sun rays of the day with the color of the sea, which according to the popular tradition, brings much luck if you get “kissed”. Also the country civilization tradition is very rooted. The party of lunedi in Albis is famous: the Corsa dell’ Angelo and the ‘ndrezzata, popular dance, during which dancers dressed with typical costumes, of white red and green, make some “mazzarielli” and wood swords rotate in the air, at the rhythm of popular music. This dance was born during propitiatory rites that farmers made for “fertility”, and also in Barano this is a common rite, but in this place the dance can also take place on June the 23rd and the 24th, near the church of San Giovanni in Buonopane, worthy to be visited. The “working dance” called “u punton”, has different origins, since it is linked to a daily building job island houses, and it mimes movements and rhythms of thaose building jobs.
… What about the craftsmanship? In these places art is also represented in small things: like vases painted with vivacious colors, hand woven wacker baskets, delicate embroideries and the most ancient art of ceramics. Wise artisans are the depositaries of workmanship ancient techniques, they are devoted to clay mixing, moulding those primordial elements that give life to things: water, earth, and air. What happens then? The last touch is given by fire, which helps producing objects that seem immortal, and that leave people thrilled, for the wonderful and inimitable decorations recalling sea, earth, and Ischia sky warm colours.
In order to participate lively in the making of one of these creations, there are many historical shops to be visited, and some of them have a very ancient history. Inside some of these shops there are also workshops, where you can find anything, from an endless pitchers range to sacred iconografies made by local “madonnari” (painters who only represent the Madonna) to the products of the shops of the Earth of the Fire, edge of heaven perpendicularly to Citara.
In Ischia there is the living Neapolitan manger tradition, as shown from the so many shops producing the refined shepherds’ cloathes.
The tour continues at Capri. The island protector, San Costanzo, is landed on Capri coming from the sea. The Saint’s relics are kept in the basilica Capri islanders dedicated to him, and every year an ancient tabernacle is exposed in the basilica, to allow believers worshipping it. Walking though the island alleys, old islanders will tell you the story about Spadaro, who became famous because he was the first one to climb the steep rocky wall of one of Capri stacks. If you are interested in knowing more about Capri history and traditions, we suggest you to lead tourists to the island books shops, where there is plenty of ancient or unpublished texts, presses, lithographies and epoch paintings.
Capri is also famous for the ancient perfumes manifacturing. The legend tells that on 1380 the prior father of the San Giacomo Chartreuse, who didn’t know anything about the arrival of the sovereign Giovanna D’Angio’, decided to pick-up for her the most beautiful flowers of the island.
Those flowers remained three days in the same water and when the prior had to throw the flowers away, he suddenly realized that water had acquired an unkown fragrance. Consequently he decide to refer to the religious man, who was an alchemy erudite, and this man said that the fragrance originated from the “Garofilum Woodland Caprese” That very water was the first Capri perfume.
Some demonstrations are finally suggested, such as for example: the Capri Summer festival, from May till July. This is an important organist and chamber music review that is held in the Cathedral of Santo Stefano, in the church of San Giacomo Chartreuse, and in the hotel of Quisisana theatre. The Capri Chartreuse Review is held during July and August, with theater performances. In September, the wonderful music and cabaret shows are performed inside the fantastic Chartreuse, during the demonstration September in Capri. The literary Prize of Curzio Malaparte, one of the most independent Italian writers of the XXth century, ends-up the yearly cultural demonstrations, together with Capri Hollywood, the movies world preview.