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Santa Maria al Monte


St. Mary’s day is observed on September 12

Also this year thousands of pilgrims will visit the seventeenth-century church, which stands 500 meters above sea level, surrounded by lush greenery. It was renovated in '57 thanks to grandmother Carmela Picarelli. She has represented the soul of the celebration for many years along with other locals, devoted to the Madonna, like Luigi Luongo, surnamed the Bijoux. Once again, in a symbolic place of worship for the people of Our Lady of the island, the tradition will be renewed in the name of prayer, devotion and of being well together. Come to mind the unforgettable days spent with own grandparents, own aunts, friends of the family who once populated the historic piedmont area of Forio.

People of earth, humble farmers, but with a strong sense of friendship. And so they spent their days playing cards, looking for mushrooms, collecting firewood for cooking but also to light the traditional bonfire in Punta Callotta to greet Forio from the highest part and "communicate" with those who remained in the country. There was no telephone, no mobile phone and the tank water was collected during the winter rains and the electricity, for the lucky ones, was that of the gas or the generator, but for many was still light of the candles..

Who had the good fortune of having the house or be a guest of a friend, went up a few days before the celebration (on foot only) for the preparations for the decoration of the church, but most of the people night before the party came up and found refuge in the woods adjacent to the Church. Not sleeping, the favorite game was to wake up those who tried to sleep, maybe with a nice "cushion" and the battle began.

The St. Mary’s day is in sign of acceptance, friendship, traditions, the cult of the Madonna. The Eucharistic celebrations follow at noon the procession to Punta Callotta with the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the Regina Coeli and the Blessing. After Mass, in the church courtyard, banquets are prepared where guests can enjoy pasta and beans, rabbit, grilled meats and delicacies prepared by many willing ladies.

Even today the tradition continues with the same enthusiasm, times have changed, but the energy and appeal that comes from the Church for many of us remained the same. It will be nostalgia, will be the fond memories of our childhood, will be the devotion to Our Lady, the desire to convey a beautiful tradition to our children, but it is always nice to return to the Church on that Mount.


Priest: Don Pasquale Sferratore
Via Bocca - Forio
Seventeenth-century church founded by the Sportiello brothers next to the small hermitage, now become a house. Around 1930 the church, after centuries of activity, was abandoned and destined for animal shelter and firewood storage. All this until a former monk of St. Nicholas on Epomeo restored the cult. In a short time he managed to open it, completely renovated, decorated and furnished with furniture. There was a great opening party and since that moement on Sept. 12, S. Maria del Monte becomes a place of pilgrimage. The church in recent years has been retained by the Picarelli Carmelin’s family a and her husband Scipione Di Meglio. Click on S. Maria al Monte church for more info.

Horse riding on mount Epomeo


A must for those wish to visit Ischia, known as an island of land. Seemingly Ischia seems an unattainable destination, where the lush vegetation with the green tuff, creates a place of meditation and energy.
From here you are on cloud a nine, immense at sunset, with colors of orange and its nuances to paint the skyline. With the finger you can touch all the points, outlining the perimeter of the island. Glance at Capri and the Sorrento peninsula, Pozzuoli, the Domitian coast. Here also Ponza and Ventotene. You can follow the ‘boot’ (so-called Italy) out of sight until the Circeo.
Reaching Epomeo with pack animals is a tradition that has been repeated from generation to generation for years Suffice it to say that while in Lacco Ameno Angelo Rizzoli was already talking about tourism, the population of Serrara was still rural. They walked on foot and often the main means of transport were donkeys and horses. There was only one coach that ran twice a day. During the summer, when farmers didn’t work the land, the men took to the streets with the animals and guided the tourists on Mount Epomeo. Then there was the donkey man that tasked of ensuring order and establishing priorities. It was a sought-after role, that often it was cause of quarrel. The visits were so frequent that people took turns at doing it. From dusk until dawn people could get on and off up to eleven times.
The meeting point is at the square of the gift shop Miscillo at 19.00. Appropriate timetable for enjoying the sunset avoiding saunas. And there that you will choose the four-legged traveling companions: Conchita, Gianna, Jessy As guide, the friends of Epomeo in the saddle. Special Cicero: Agostino Iacono. He with Giuseppe Zabatta and Eugenio Iacono found this association. To help them, the young Cristian, Emmanuel, Giuseppe, and even some girls, like Yolanda, Ilaria, Silvia and Teresa.
Along the way, while Conchita insistently tries to eat grass, we cross the forest of chestnut trees that serves as umbrella with bushy hair. We also note the silver poplar, the oaks. Not far away, there is the first viewpoint and a few brooms, which colors the green area in June of a deep yellow. These places make me immediately think of the tasty "Menesta Maretata" of Mrs. Mercede, who you will find at the Epomeo bar in Serrara. She keeps the wise peasant culture. The secret of this goodness is contained in a mixture of wild herbs with unknown names such as u 'Papagno', 'cinagular', a canteen, tunz 'and paparastiell'.
The stop is just before the summit where there is the oldest church of the island dedicated to St. Nicola di Bari dug into the tuff. Beside there is the chapel renovated and enlarged in 1754 by Giuseppe D'Argouth, at that time captain of the Aragonese Castle, which survived the attack of enemy soldiers by voting and retreating with his comrades in arms here, where he died on August 17, 1778.
Going on to the highest point, waiting for the sun dips and disappears on the horizon, is something sensational. Agostino sits astride on the rocks in a natural honeycomb, shaped by time It is evident that this place belongs to him, that this green, the smell of fresh air, the sounds of the forest fill the eye and heart. He wants to revive this place, to engage young people, to restore the traditions. We begin the descent at 21.00 p.m. Despite the hour, the thought of waiting for the dawn flashed through my mind, sleeping at least one night on Mount Epomeo, just like several years ago, is something really enticing…

Useful info

Via Epomeo, 22 - 80070 - Serrara Fontana (NA)
tel.: +39 081999566 / +39 3284612073 - 3332521882
On request, a shuttle will pick you up from the center of Serrara and will drive you to Miscillo souvenirs.


St. Anna the celebration on the sea

S-Anna-IschiaThe scenario is the magic of the Bay of Ischia Ponte: the Aragonese castle emerges from the water as symbol of history, culture and architecture of the past becoming main interlocutor of the village of Celsa that elects it landmark to love and respect. The Bay is bounded by a long bridge that connects to the castle in accordance with the access to the Tower of Guevara, another monumental structure of the island, and the small Church of s. Anna, overlooking the sea, becomes the focal point for those who cross the Bay by boat. Dedicated to this Saint is the feast on day of July 26th , which originates in the ancient sacred tradition of the island.

On the official website of the feast of St. Anna I have found some historical information:

According to the tradition, on July 26th, the feast of St. Anna, Patroness of pregnant women, the women during puerperium went in procession up to the Church, located on the West side of the Bay of the Castle, directly opposite the Sun, under the weight of the tower. The procession went through the sea and the procession was done mostly by boats of fishermen that were, for the particular occasion draped the hull with boughs and garlands of flowers. This in the last century and probably even before.

But since the 1930’s the feast become a popular folk and over time the most charming one of the island for the setting and the originality of the parades of decorated rafts in the water in front of the church dedicated to Santa.

The idea of decorated boats derives from an idea to a group of friends who from the beach kept the long rows of fishermen and their boats, crammed with relatives and steaming trays of rabbits and same eggplant, and went to the Church of St. Anna, to honor and pray to the Saint. The boats were decorated in various ways, with reeds, branches, balloons and lamps. And so the Group of friends thought a prize for the nicest boat.

Since then the parade, born out of pure randomness devotion to the Saint, becomes a race, so boats, allegorically representing episodes, stories, myths and characters related to the island of Ischia, they become veritable theatrical equipment where technology and construction, are at the base of the scenic, useful mechanisms to less obvious and striking, while workers, technicians and artists are put to the test for the creation of the most beautiful boat, exciting and unexpected

The memory leads to the most famous floats of Carnival of Viareggio, but the particular show and its location, makes this event one of a kind, so much so that it has become, over time, pole of attraction for thousands of visitors and tourists.

The race was initially held in private, become officially the race of the towns of the island – today also Procida and Capri-and the big party becomes entertainment for the whole island.

The trophy for the most beautiful boat, spectacular and exciting is the Palio di S. Anna, decorated or painted by a famous local artist (and not). So the winner, in the days following, shows on the streets the Palio between joy and contentment.

The most important event of the celebration is the so-called burning castle: a red powder in flames that simulated a real fire in the dark of night, remembering the terrible Saracen invasions that provoked death and destruction on the island.

Bystanders so enraptured by the gaze towards the Castle are involved in a kaleidoscope of emotions, enriched and soothe by the sound of notes that accompany the slowdown of the flames, to offer a spectacular fireworks that closed the Festival.

To receive updates on the program of the feast of St. Anna


Day 22 July at 21.30

4TH Sea Music Festival, which this year will be held in Ischia in the stands next to the waters of the Aragonese Castle

Day 23 July at 21.30

Parade of Prizes from Piazza Antica Reggia to Piazzale Aragonese Ischia Ponte, with the participation of the Folk group "' Ndrezzata".

Day 24 July at 21.30

Vittorio Marsiglia and Gino Rivieccio

Day 25 July at 22.00

Peppino di Capri in concert

Day 26 July at 21.00

PARADE of DECORATED BOATS in the Bay of the Aragonese Castle, as representatives of the municipalities of the islands and the Gulf with the assignment of the Palio of S. Anna. Later, simulation of the fire of the Aragonese Castle and Fireworks.

Welcome to Ischia


Ischia is the most large island of the Gulf of Naples, it stretches on 47 square meters whose 39 of coasts. Situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the islands of Procida and Vivara, completes the group of the Phlegrean islands.

In addition to the many beaches, large and small, the Island includes green and relaxing pinewoods while country and hills create numerous landscapes ending with the summit of Monte Epomeo, 789m above the sea level. The name Epomeo has an important meaning: seeing from the high side panoramically. The view fades into the immense sea and a breathtaking vista.

Gold mines, so the doctor Jasolino called the thermal springs of the island. Twenty-nine thermal basins which the 103 springs derive from, everyone has healthy properties thanks to the volcanic origin.

People live on tourism while the South and West sides of the island continue to live on farming, harvesting vineyards. Very good wine, first in Italy to obtain the AOC definition, goes well with the island dish of rabbit, which the real islanders celebrate own events with. Another small part of population consists of fishermen, that patiently prepare the fish nets.

Nowadays the island is divided into six municipalities: Casamicciola Terme, Lacco Ameno, Forio, Serrara Fontana and Barano that we meet along our trip around the Island anticlockwise.

Ischia is an ancient town, known in the past for its industry and clay vases, and as Pliny tells, the island was called Pithaecusa. Originally the town raised up where today rises the port of Ischia. During the eruption of 302 B.C. collapsed the ancient suburb, creating the natural lake, turning into the actual port by Ferdinand II Bourbon in 1854. Linked to Ischia through a bridge, near the Castello Aragonese, that for long time hosted the entire population of the island to defend against the pirate invasions.

Casamicciola Terme rises to the North coast of the Island, part on the sea and part on green hill beyond. The built up area consists of small houses and villa, whose hosted Garibaldi during his convalescence to cure in the Gurgitiello’s waters and mud the Aspromonte leg injury consequences. Casamicciola is based on tourist development and the important hydrothermal resources. It enjoys a loving and grateful guests, that every year arrive in like a healthy area for the six winter months.

Going on the beautiful seashore, we find Lacco Ameno. The small town spreads out along the sides of a bustling bay up to the hills all around. To the right the sea seems a large lake, where the famous and peculiar rock, the Fungo, inform the visitor to have reached the destination. Thanks to the good weather, this municipality counts today a high level quality clientele from all the world. Lacco is rich in archeological finds and visits at Villa Arbusto and Basilica di Santa Restituta and its museum..

ThenForio, the most important centre to the West side of the island. Facing to pirates invasions, 16 coast towers were raised up, whose ‘Torrione’is the most eminent. The most favorite municipality by tourists and foreigners, for the attractiveness of its beaches, for the greenery and the natural environment where the beauty, history, tourism and poetry get on well.

In hill, by rural charm, Serrara Fontana is set on 400 m above the sea level, boasting a peasant built up area. From belvedere it’s possible to admire the suggestive beach unique in beauty and the sea by the two sides. On the horizon, Capri and Sorrento. Available excursions and trips, but very interesting is Cavascura, where a rich thermal spring, at the temperature of 100°C, feeds the thermal establishment dug into the rock.

Going on to the South of our trip around the island,Barano arrives, , a typical rural country. It hosts the beautiful beach of Maronti,and its access to the sea; a beach rich in thermal springs, fumaroles and inflamed sand. The famous springs are Nitrodi and Olmitello. Barano is also famous for its ancient dance, one of these is the ‘Ndrezzata,passed on from father to son to keep the past memory alive.

Free to move on the island of Ischia

sorgeto-sant-angeloThe Island of Ischia is the largest island of the three ones around the Gulf of Naples.

It’s famous for the luxuriant flora, by mountains sides up to the deep gorges, for this reason called the Green Island. And island to admire for its very suggestive landscapes. And it, Monte Epomeo,characterized by green tuffs, that imposing, seems to protect the Island. On the top, it’s possible to admire a unique and breathtaking view of the Gulf of Naples. Follow the old paths and walks, in the shadow of our woods, as a sheer drop from the cliff to the sea.


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