Castello Aragonese is a castle built on a small volcanic island located near the eastern shore of Ischia, connected to the main island by a 220 meters long bridge. SHORT HISTORY The small island on which the castle was built appeared after an eruption occurred over 300,000 years ago. The island reaches a height of 113 meters above sea level and covers an area of approximately 56,000 square meters. The construction of the first fortification on the island dates back to 474 BC, and was entitled Castrum Gironis (Castle of Hieron), after the tyrant of Syracuse, Hieron I, who conquered Ischia. Later, the fortress was occupied by the Parthenopeans, and in 315 BC by the Romans, who founded the colony of Aenaria. During the following centuries, the fortress was radically transformed, and used to defend the island against the Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Arabs, Normans, Swabians and Angevins. The current appearance of the fortress dates back to the Aragonese period, more precisely to the year 1441, when Alfonso V of Aragon built a castle very similar with the Castel Nuovo of Naples. A wooden bridge connected the castle with the island of Ischia. The period of maximum splendor of the Read more [...]
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, here is a list of Italy’s best-known attractions and sights…
Marina Corricella is the old picturesque port of Procida, a myriad of pastel-colored houses arranged along a natural amphitheatre that overlooks a crystal clear water. Evocative and romantic, Marina di Corricella is a quiet and seductive refuge with unique architecture for those who prefer relaxing holidays, without the noise of motor vehicles or crowds of people. The 17th century port is famous for its interesting architecture, a mixture of stairs, arches, domes, windows, loggias and colorful facades. From over 25 movies filmed on the island, we can mention at least two which are directly related to Marina Corricella: Il Postino (The Postman), starring Philippe Noiret, Massimo Troisi and Maria Grazia Cucinotta, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, with Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. TIP: You can get the best view of the Marina Corricella from the southern side of the small bay bounded by the Punta dei Monaci to the north and Punta di Pizzaco to the south, in Via Pizzaco. The belvedere is dedicated to the Italian novelist Elsa Morante, and is by far the most beautiful panoramic point of the island. HOW TO GET THERE To get to Marina Corricella, you must first get to Read more [...]
Castel dell’Ovo is the oldest castle in Naples and is one of the constructions that stand out the most when you approach the city from the sea. Its name derives from an ancient legend about the Latin poet Virgil, who hid an egg in the foundation of the fortress, saying that its breaking would have caused not only the collapse of the castle, but also a series of disastrous catastrophes to the city of Naples. During the 14th century, the castle suffered extensive damage due to the partial collapse of an arch and, to prevent the panic spreading among the population for the alleged future catastrophes that would have hit the city, the queen Giovanna I had to swear she had replaced the broken egg. SHORT HISTORY In a document dating back to 1128, a fortification is mentioned on the island of Megaride, now a peninsula, the place where the Castel dell’Ovo will be built later. In 1140, Roger the Norman, conquering Naples, settled in this fortress. Castel dell’Ovo is further fortified in 1222 by Frederick II, who makes it the seat of the royal treasure and has other towers built, the castle becoming a palace and a state Read more [...]
Piazza del Plebiscito, formerly known as Largo di Palazzo, is a beautiful large square in Naples, with an area of about 25,000 square meters, bordered at one end by the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and at the other by the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola. SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 17th century, the Palazzo Reale was built by the architect Domenico Fontana, who turned the palace facade towards an open space, which will be known as Largo di Palazzo. The space became the vital center of the city and, at the same time, a very important public representation area. When the viceroy settled in the Royal Palace, the square did not have an adequate conformation, and the side of Largo facing the sea was embellished with various sculptural elements, including a majestic three-arched fountain designed by Pietro Bernini and Michelangelo Naccherino, and a colossal bust of Jupiter found in Pozzuoli, named Gigante di Palazzo. At the end of the 18th century, Palazzo Salerno was built on a project by Francesco Sicuro for Ferdinand IV of Naples, changing somehow the appearance of the square. Only at the beginning of the 19th century, during the Napoleonic period, the Read more [...]
The Port of Ischia is a completely natural harbor on Ischia, located in the northern part of the island. SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, the port was actually a lake known as the Lago del Borgo. The lake was formed probably in the 4th or 3rd century BC in the crater of a volcano, which later collapsed due to an earthquake. The lake was over two meters deep, measured about 100,000 square meters and contained an inhabited small island called Tondo. In 1670, a small opening was created to fill the lake with water every time its level dropped. On the southern hill, near the lake, a casino was built in 1735 by Francesco Buonocore, which was at the same time a holiday home for himself and a luxury clinic for famous people. The place exerted an irresistible attraction for Ferdinand IV, King of the Two Sicilies, who dedicated himself to frequent fishing parties on the lake. The enthusiasm for the place led him to rent the casino, some neighboring lands and the lake, owned at that time by the University of Ischia. Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies between 1830 and 1859, expressed his opinion in favor Read more [...]
The Beach of San Pietro is a beautiful beach on the island of Ischia, located about 450 meters away from the Port of Ischia. The fine sand of the beach and the shallow waters are ideal for families with children and for older people. The beach is almost 600 meters long and about 70 meters in its widest part. Concession beaches alternate with sections of free beaches, and there are also many bars and restaurants in the area. Due to its location near the historical center of Ischia, where numerous hotels await their guests during the summer months, the Beach of San Pietro can be overcrowded in July and August. HOW TO GET THERE The Beach of San Pietro is located about 270 meters from the Piazzale Antica Reggia and about 150 meters from the central Via Roma. Although it is easy to find, if you need directions, use the map below.
The Church of Santa Maria Assunta is a beautiful church in Positano, famous for the 12th century Byzantine icon known as the Madonna di Positano. SHORT HISTORY The history of the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is linked to that of the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria, which according to tradition was built in the 12th century, on the occasion of the arrival in Positano of the Byzantine icon of the Madonna. However, the monastery was founded earlier, in the second half of the 10th century, and was mentioned for the first time in a manuscript dated back to the end of the 11th century. The monastery was renowed until the middle of the 15th century, when the monks, perhaps frightened by the raids of the pirates from Cilento, abandoned it. After a few years, the church was entrusted to the commendatory abbot Nicola Miroballi, later elected archbishop of Amalfi. With some exceptions, the period of the commendatory abbots was disastrous for the church. The architectural traces of the monastery were gradually lost, while the church deteriorated profoundly. In the early years of the 17th century, the church was subjected to a reconstruction comissioned by the abbot Pirro Giovanni Read more [...]
Torre Trasita is a circular tower located on a rocky cliff in Positano, between the Fornillo Beach and the Marina Grande Beach, part of the defensive system built in the Middle Ages to defend the entire Amalfi Coast against pirates. The first information about the watchtower date back to the 16th century, the period of the Viceroys of Naples. In 1817, the tower was put on sale and, starting with that time, it was privately owned. In recent years, Torre Trasita underwent various transformations, and is now a beautiful guesthouse, which features a terrace with views over the sea, town and the Marina Grande Beach. At the guesthouse, all the rooms come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Every room is fitted with a kettle, while selected rooms come with a kitchen with a dishwasher, a microwave and a toaster. HOW TO GET THERE Torre Trasita is about 270 meters away from the Marina Grande Beach, and about 1 kilometer from the Sita Sud bus stop located at the croassroads of Via Cristoforo Colombo and Via Guglielmo Marconi. To find the tower on foot, use the map below.
Marina Grande Beach, known in Italian as Spiaggia Grande (Large Beach), is the main beach of Positano, located southeast of the town. The beach is about 300 meters in lenght and about 50 meters in width, and is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan beaches on the Amalfi Coast. Marina Grande has two bathing establishments, which rent sun beds and umbrellas and provide changing rooms and showers, and a free area (spiaggia libera) in the middle. From here, you can rent a boat to Capri or to visit the nearby coves. At the northern edge of the beach, there are restaurants, bars and cafés, and at the eastern limit you can find the famous night club Music On the Rocks. HOW TO GET THERE The beach is about 700 meters away from the Sita Sud bus stop located at the crossroads of Via Cristoforo Colombo and Via Guglielmo Marconi. Although the beach is not hard to find, if you need directions, use the map below.
The charming Marina Chiaiolella is one of the three ports of Procida, located in an ancient volcanic crater, on the southern part of the island, facing Ischia. The little port is surrounded, to the east by Solchiaro, once a favorite Bourbon hunting area, and to the west by the promontory of Santa Margherita. To the west, is also the nature reserve of the Vivara island, connected with Procida by a long bridge. A port by excellence, Marina Chiaiolella is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Procida, mainly due to the near Chiaiolella Beach, but also thanks to its many hotels, restaurants, bars and holiday homes. Characteristic are the colored terraced houses, once inhabited by fishermen, and the little boats used once for fishing and now for recreational purposes. HOW TO GET THERE From the main port of the island, Marina Grande, located at the northern end of Procida, you can get to Marina Chiaiolella, at the southern end, with the bus L1 in about 15 minutes. On foot, the road that separates the two ends of the island, measuring about 3.3 kilometers, can be made in almost 1 hour.
Palazzo d’Avalos is an imposing fortress on Procida, overlooking the sea, part of Terra Murata, the fortified village on the highest point of the island. SHORT HISTORY The palace was designed by the architects Cavagna and Tortelli at the end of the 16th century, for the Cardinal Innico d’Avalos. At the same time, the entrance to the village of Terra Murata was built, from an order of the same Cardinal d’Avalos. Since 1734, after the domination of the d’Avalos family ended, the palace was confiscated by the Bourbons, and became the royal hunting retreat for both King Charles III and King Ferdinand IV, before the construction of the Royal Palace of Capodimonte. In 1815, the building changed its destination into a military academy. Later, in 1830, it was converted into a prison with two parts, an old one (Palazzo d’Avalos) and a new one, and the penitentiary functioned until the Italian unification. Following the downfall of the Italian Social Republic, between 1945 and 1950, the prison held the fascism nomenclature. In 1978, the old prison was closed, and ten years later, in 1988, the new prison was also disbanded, the place remaining abandoned. Today, Palazzo d’Avalos can be visited Read more [...]
Basilica of San Francesco di Paola is an impressive church in Piazza del Plebiscito, in Naples, one of the most important examples of neoclassical architecture in Italy. SHORT HISTORY Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law through marriage to his younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte, and King of Naples from 1808 to 1815, started a project of urban renewal of the city during his reign. This affected the suburban area, which later became Piazza del Plebiscito, home to numerous convents and gardens, as well as a place frequented by criminals. The French general ordered the demolition of the buildings and the construction of a square that was supposed to take the name of Foro Gioacchino. The works began in 1809, but were never completed due to the ousting of Joachim Murat from Naples and the restoration of the Bourbon crown. Back to the throne, Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies decided to build a church in the square, and the competition was won by the architect Pietro Bianchi, who had partly rediscovered the old project of Murat. Domenico Barbaia became responsible for building the church and the first stone was laid on 17 June 1816. The facade was finished in 1824, the interior Read more [...]