Ischia: the Island of the Titans
Tum sonitu Prochyta alta tremit durumque cubile
Inarime Jovis imperiis imposita Typhaeo.
Virgil, Aeneid, IX, 715-713)
The island of Ischia also named Pithekousai, monkey island or the ceramic island, was established with another myth.
Talks of Zeus himself, fighting the Titan Tifeo (a local name, but is also know as Typhon or Typhoeus). It was a huge fire breathing monster who was angry at Zeus for imprisoning the Titans. First Tifeo won and imprisoned Zeus in a cave but Hermes freed him. A battle took place, with Zeus throwing thunderbolts and Tifeo throwing mountains, with Zeus eventually winning. As punishment, Tifeo is imprisoned in the earth under the island of Ischia and is left to vent his anger by sending out fire: that is how the ancients people explained the origins of Etna eruptions and the volcanic activity on Ischia island.
“Thus marched the host like a consuming fire, and the earth groaned beneath them when the lord of thunder is angry and lashes the land about Typhoeus among the Arimi, where they say Typhoeus lies”.
Omero Iliad II, 780-783
Today Ischia is a well-known touristic island, not only for the sea and its wonderful landscapes but for the thermal baths used since the ancient times. Ischia has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. During the VIII century bc it had its first colonies from Euboea, who established it as an important commercial center with the Etruscan people, who were from some areas of the Campania. It was involved in fights for the supremacy in the Mediterranean sea after the Naples conquest by the Romans at the end of IV century b.c. It became a Roman holiday resort, thanks to the presence of the thermal waters that Romans adored. From the fall of the Roman Empire it saw the subsequent dominations of Vandals and Saracens, Byzantines and Normans, Frenchmen and Spaniards. Finally, in the year 1438, Alphonse of Aragon definitely seized the island and established his residence in a castle built on a fortified islet, which after this was called “Aragonese Castle”.
Free morning, therms and swimming pool use (the weather in October should be fine)
Afternoon: visit with the wine tasting at the Casa D’Ambra. The cellar is about 3500 square metres plus squares and infrastructures. The building where the temperature-controlled cellar is hosted is located in a spectacular natural amphitheatre at the foot of Mount Epomeo. At the museum visitors can see documents and artefacts featuring the island’s wine making from past to present, from the old, hand-made Greek methods to today’s technological advances. Close to the selling and wine tasting areas memories of old clients of Casa D’Ambra wines are on display, among which Luchino Visconti, Peppino De Filippo, Domenico Rea, Umberto Veronelli.
Visit to the wonderful garden of “La Mortella”, now open to the public and created by Susana Walton, the Argentinian wife of Sir William Walton. In the gardens are wonderful tropical and Mediterranean plants. They were from various countries and some have now reached amazing proportions. A paradise created by the great green architect Russel Page.