A dive where the water is bluer, between history, adventure and relaxation (Part 2)
A piece of Paradise on Earth. For a holiday full of adventure and relaxation, to enjoy the deserved vacation, or just to spend a weekend different from the usual, there are more and more people who choose to make a stop on one of the many beautiful Italian minor islands. In the first part we went to discover the wonders of the Tuscan Archipelago, now we will sail on the transparent waters of the Archipelago of Campania. We will flee from the daily stress on the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean, alternating moments of pure relaxation with excursions that will take us to the heart of the most unspoiled nature. Backpack on your shoulder, costume on and a great desire to have fun!
Italian islands: the five stars of the Archipelago of Campania
“A gentle and benign God, arcadian and sentimental, gave life to the Gulf of Naples and, infinitely wise, made it like a circle and barred its entrance with protected islands, and adorned it with coves and secure breasts, and he gave the variety from the Phlegrean lowlands to the Lattari mountains, and made the vague flora grow, and the most impenetrable wood was orange tree. “(Gino Doria). The magic is all here, in the “embrace” between the Flegrea peninsula and the Sorrento peninsula, in this bay of the Tyrrhenian Sea that the whole world knows as the Gulf of Naples. A picture postcard scene opens before the eyes in disbelief and if the feet clash there is only to take a ferry on the fly to reach one of these small Italian islands, which at night seem like many stars to show the way to sailors and lovers .
An island of entirely volcanic origin. Zeus, very angry, relegated the rebel giant Tifeo, to live under the island of Pithecusae (Pithekoussai in Greek), today’s Ischia. Flames and warm waters are the result of the anger of the giant, earthquakes caused by its movements not properly graceful. Eritrean and Phoenicians were the first to occupy the island. The remains of those settlements today constitute a real submerged city, brought to light by divers and archaeologists. The Cumans ceded it to Gerone the tyrant of Syracuse who built a defensive bulwark, which became one of the most evocative Italian castles, the Aragonese Castle. Alfonso gave it to his beloved Lucrezia D’Alagno. Ferdinand the Catholic did much more: he donated the whole island to Constance D’Avalos (evidently the bags were not yet so fashionable!). Its waters celebrated the love between Ferrante d’Avalos, Marquis of Pescara, and the poetess Vittoria Colonna. A real island of love. Until the pirates arrived. To defend themselves from raids, the islanders built several towers and stretched their ears. For the Bourbons it was a thunderbolt: Ferdinand II made it his summer residence and settled the port. The Italian poets sang its irrepressible nature, the blue sea and the boundless landscapes. One of the most beautiful Italian islands retains its timeless charm in every area. There is something for all tastes: beaches and spas but also hiking, horse riding and mountain biking and above all food and wine.
That Garibaldi was wounded we all remember him, who was wounded in one leg as well, but do we know where he was cured? At the ancient Ischian thermae of Casamicciola, a place completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 83.
Cradle of the oldest Greek civilization of the Mediterranean. Archaeological excavations have brought to light archaeological evidence dating back to the eighth century BC. History passes from here, from the place where one of the earliest examples of Greek writing was found: the cup of Nestor, a goblet of the funeral outfit of a child of about ten years.
An area littered with turrets to prevent enemy raids. Today from these defensive heights you can admire the most beautiful sunsets and that particular optical phenomenon known as a green ray: when the sun at dawn or at sunset creates a thin emerald-colored luminous strip. A magic that lasts a few minutes. Just enough to fall in love with this island.
From here the path that leads to Mount Epomeo starts: a breathtaking view awaits you at the top. Elite tourism arrives on the islet of Sant’Angelo.
A place that seems firm in time, where the farming traditions remain strong roots that contrast modernity.
One of the most famous Italian islands in the world. Homerus warned the sailors from the dangerous cliffs that surround the famous Neapolitan island. With their bewitching song, the sirens pushed men to ruin, a pungent metaphor of the relationship of every age couple. The greatest emperors of Rome moved away from the turmoil of the urbe to live here, in peace with the world: first Augustus and then Tiberius built villas overlooking the sea, with exclusive view and possibility to escape the conspiracies of the old cruel senate. In the modern era, Jean Jacques Bouchard recounts the wonders of this small Italian island in his diary of 1850. A suggestive place, but also an important strategic base. What to visit in Capri? Virtually everything. On the mainland the gardens of Augustus, the Certosa di San Giacomo, Villa Jovis, the port of Marina Grande. On the clear and clean sea the famous Grotta Azzurra, inside which the water creates unique reflections, and the Faraglioni (Saetta, Stella and Scopolo), three rocky peaks that rise in the middle of the sea, legendary boulders hurled by the Cyclops Polyphemus. The true heart of the Blue Island is, however, the Piazzetta of Capri. Here, in the “living room of the world”, artists, writers, heads of state and ordinary people have chatted in front of a coffee and the transparent sea of Capri. Much of the history of Italian fashion was born here, in the lively center of one of the most beautiful Italian minor islands. Whether for a day or a longer holiday, Capri cannot miss the list of places to see at least once in a lifetime. Luxurious hotels and opulent nightlife complete the precious postcard. The horizon disappears, the blue of the sky merges with that of the sea, there is no more difference between walking, swimming or flying in the legendary Island of Love.
It took the eruptions of at least four different volcanoes to create this island, a jewel of the Mediterranean. Three different hypotheses on the origin of the name: from the Greek pròkeitai, or “lying” because observing it from the sea, it seems that it is extended and lying; or from the Latin prochyo, because the island would seem to have been profuse, or raised from the bottom of the sea and from the Earth and exposed by the waves; Dionigi of Alicarnasso, on the other hand, tells the story of a nurse from Aeneas buried by the hero of Troy on the island. For a quiet and gathering holiday, this place is ideal: word of the Roman poet Juvenal! From the promontory of Terra Murata you can admire the gulf of Naples and the places that the great cinema has chosen as a beautiful location: along the streets of Procida were shot the Postino by Massimo Troisi and The talent of Mr. Ripley with Matt Damon. A trip in the summer will allow you to experience the Sea Festival and the election of Graziella, the most beautiful girl on the island, a title inspired by the novel by Alphonse De Lamartine. Alfonso fell in love with a beautiful procidan and suffered in having to leave her leaving for France. The two exchanged the promise of a return that never happened, because Graziella of that love will die. He will be able to send a braid of hair to his beloved before the end. The memory of that love will remain forever in Alfonso who will never be able to find another woman, just as beautiful, sunny, Mediterranean and faithful. From 1939 until today all girls aged 14 and 21 parade each year wearing the characteristic procidano costume with bright colours and gold embroidery. Among them Alfonso would find his lost, but always loved, Graziella.
A small comma in the Gulf of Naples, a drop of earth in the blue that unites Procida and Ischia. The name derives from the Latin “Vivarium”, or “place where animals live”. Here you will find anyone waiting for you, apart, of course, many marine species. The islet is a state nature reserve and is included in the Protected Marine Area Kingdom of Neptune. One of the smallest Italian islands is actually a portion of a volcanic crater, now submerged. The island, now uninhabited, was a thriving port, where the Greek merchants were crowded. In 1681 a farmhouse was built, the most beautiful and important building in the area. From the northern point called Capitello you can directly access to another of the islands of the Archipelago of Campania : Procida. At the end of the bridge that joins the two smaller Italian islands there is a small staircase, created especially for the Princess Maria Josè who loved to visit it. A small diamond set between two precious gems.
Posillipo was a serene child, happy and loved by everyone. In his destiny, an impossible love, that for Nisida, a beautiful country woman, not so beautiful of soul. An enchantress woman who merely seduced men without really loving them. A heart of stone that even Posillipo was able to soften. And then the desperate young man threw himself into the sea and was transformed by the benign gods into a promontory from where it is possible to enjoy the most beautiful panorama of the Neapolitan gulf. Even to Nisida the same treatment was reserved: today that hard girl is an island of the Archipelago of Campania, that big rock right in front of Posillipo. To unite that impossible love a narrow corridor of earth. The two legendary worlds could not be further away, today more than yesterday: life is in Posillipo, the Neapolitan nightlife and the lovers swear eternal feeling before the night lights of the romantic Neapolitan gulf; in Nisida, on the other hand, the torment and the hope of redemption go on stage, first with a Bourbon prison on the island, now with a juvenile rehabilitation institute. In the strip of land that unites the two worlds there is the profound meaning of every life: the search for the precarious balance between good and evil.
And since we do not have enough of small Italian islands, it’s time to take a trip to Sicily, to discover the very sunny Egadi islands.