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Forio is the second major town of Ischia according to population number and importance. It stretches between two promontories, Punta Caruso (at Zaro) and Punta Imperatore, between the considered most beautiful beaches on the island and into the metallic green of the vineyards which cover the slopes of Mount Epomeo, descending into a scene of incomparable beauty. Forio covers 13 square kilometres and has a population of 12,638 inhabitants; it ranges from 0 km above sea level to 700 in the Falanga areas. It is divided into the hamlets of Forio and Panza with other peripheral villages (Monterone, Cuotto, and Citara).

It is the only town which has preserved its entire historical centre with its tiny streets, churches, sighting towers and monuments - all of which are unaltered from their original construction. The main monuments are: the church of Soccorso (pictured on one of the Italian stamps) dedicated to Santa Maria della Neve, the Torrione (big tower), the church of San Francesco da Paola, the church of Arciconfraternita’ of Santa Maria delle Grazie known as Visitapoveri, the Basilica Pontificia S. Maria di Loreto, the church of San Vito, the parish church of S Leonardo Abate, S Maria al Monte. You should visit the exotic garden of villa Gancia, the garden of Lady Walton; the troglodyte house dug into a mass of tufa and the spa gardens Poseidon.

If Ischia town is considered to be the business centre of the island, Forio is probably the cultural one. In the 1950s it was an international meeting place for show business personalities (Luchino Visconti, Pierpaolo Pasolini, Sir William Walton, Eduardo De Filippo, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton), writers (Elsa Morante, Alberto Moravia, Renato Guttuso, Auden, Pablo Neruda), politicians (Pietro Nenni) and the jet-set (Jackelin Kennedy, Aristotele Onassis) and many others.

The wavy shoreline of Forio allows bathing not just from the beaches but also from other more secluded spots. You can easily get to Zaro or to the only Bay of Sorgeto near Panza which, due to its hot water wells, is the favorite place in any season for a midnight dip.

The Island of Ischia is abundant with natural beauty. Following are some of the sights you can see while visiting.

Activities

Hot Springs 
Starting from the 1300’s people have come to soak in the soothing hot springs of ISCHIA. Hot volcanic steam spouts from cracks in the soil and rocks (fumaroles) in the cove of Sorgeto where the sea water is naturally heated. The springs are maintained daily depending on the tides and the rocks are used to build pools with varying temperatures. 

Mount Epomeo 
Mount Epomeo is about 800 meters high, great spot for views of the Gulf of Naples including Mnt Vesuvius, Capri and parts of the island of Ischia. Deep in the wood there are the famous troglodyte house dug into a mass of tufo. The cultivations on the isle extend from the coasts to the steep mountain slopes where the vine is cultivated on proper terraced fields. White Grapes Biancolella, Forastera, Arilla, S.Lunardo Red Grapes Guarnaccia, Pedirosso o Pere e Palummo Six are the communes of the island: Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Lacco Ameno. 

Snorkelling 
The bay around La Rotonda, San Francesco has some great snorkeling spots. Before you get to Cava dell’Isola Beach there are two huge boulders. There are stairs leading down to the base of them. You can climb and swim around the rocks and find some great little pools. Off the beach of Citara, the reef that runs along the Punte out to the lighthouse has some wonderful spots to admire the sea life. 

Cliff Jumping 
For those feeling adventurous there a few different spots on the island where you can go cliff jumping. Bikes There are bicycles available for you to use. If you wish to do so just ask as reception and we will give you the keys to the padlocks. 

Mopeds 
You can hire mopeds for 30 euro for the day. We cannot stress enough how important it is that if you wish to do this YOU MUST BE CONFIDENT and EXPERIENCED. Riding a moped on the island is not the same as riding a moped in your hometown!

Attractions

Negombo Thermal Spa Park 
Negombo is a thermal park located on one of Ischia’s most beautiful beaches and equipped with Thermal and seawater swimming pools, Japanese baths, thermal treatments in caves and more. Have a coffee or a snack surrounded by Mediterranean wilderness with the baths at your disposal. Ask at reception for your discount card and receive a 3 euro discount for the day! 

Aragonese Castle 
From Ischia Porto, there is an old part of Ischia which stretches along the coast to Ischia Ponte and the famous “Castello Aragonese”: a Spanish castle set in a picturesque ancient fisherman’s village. The evocative Ischia’s harbour was originally the crater of a volcano (now inactive) which sunk and created a lake. It remained a lake until 1854 when the King Ferdinand of Bourbon ordered to force a passage opening the harbour. The last volcanic event occurred on Ischia in 1301 from a crater that opened in the Fiaiano area. The lava flow ran down to the sea, covering houses and fields, giving origin to the actual “Punta Molino”. 

Guevara or Michelangelo’s Tower 
This is one of the best-known symbols of the island, just in front of the Castle, rebuilt on the ruins of an ancient fortress, likely one of the defense towers built from the XV century as a protection against pirates. The tower derives its name from the Dukes of Guevara, the owners since the beginning of 1800. Its second name derives from a legend, which tells that the Michael Angelo, a friend of the poet Victoria Colonna, stayed in the tower when he was visiting the island. 

Museum Pithacusae 
The original witnesses of the “net” of commercial exchange Pithecusaens established with Near East and Carthage, Greece and Spain, Southern Etruria, Puglia, Ionic Calabria and Sardinia. Objects accompanying the dead of the necropolis, located at S. Montano’s valley, which served as a burial place since the second half of the VIII century BC, are just a small part of this large-scale exhibition. The most famous pithecusaen vases were found at the Necropolis: among these are the typical late geometric craters decorated with the shipwreck scene, and the famous Rhodes’ cup, on which an epigram in three verses in Euboic Alphabet was engraved after baking, therefore surely Pithecusaen, was referring to the famous Nestor’s cup described in the Iliad. It must be mentioned, at this point, that the Euboic alphabet testifies of the patrimony the populations from central Italy that were borrowed from the Greek of Pithecusae. 

Faiano Pine Forest and the Crater 
The Island’s largest pine forest is located in the borough of Barano, an ideal place for an afternoon trip amidst nature. This fresh, regenerating oasis allows you to walk in the shade of the pine trees, the chestnut trees and oak trees that are interspersed with the characteristic Mediterranean perfumed trees and masses of lava rock that make the whole scene a magical, mysterious one. 

Necropoli Underground 
The underground floor of the Church of Santa Restituta was restored, due to the engagement of Don Pietro Monti, an important archaeological site. The excavations are a testament of the human settlements from the time of Pithecusae until the beginnings of Christianity: there are the ovens used by Greek potters and tombs dating to Romans and first Christians. 

Church of Soccorso 
The church called “del Soccorso” rises on the top of a promontory overlooking the sea in Forio; it looks like a white spot with the blue sea in the background. The outside is fully painted white and the facade reveals diverse architectural styles starting from Greek- Byzantine to Moorish architecture. 

The Torrione (Big Tower) 
Many towers have been built in the past along Ischia coastline to get better sight of the sea around the island. They were built to defend the island against raids of Saracen pirates. From the XVI century, these fortresses were equipped with canons and fire weapons to be used against the Saracen invasions. One of those towers, called “Torrione” still exists and is located in the port of Forio. It was built in 1480 and has two floors; the ground floor was not accessible from outside and was used for weapons and munitions storage. There was also a rain-water tank and on the upper floor there was the Garisson’s accommodation (about 10 people) led by a “torriere” that had the task of sighting enemy ships and sounding the alarm. On the top, there was a terrace with four cannons. Historians noticed that many similar towers were built in Forio until the XVIII century although many of them were used as private residences for noble families. 16 similar fortresses have been counted in all between 1480 and 1700, and five more towers built in the district of Panza, some with a squared base and others with a circular base. Many of these towers can be observed still now. The “Torrione”, after it had been restored, became a municipal Museum, on the lower floor, while the upper floor was the house of the artist Giovanni Maltese from Forio and is now an art gallery hosting his pictures and sculptures collection. 

The Church of San Francesco di Paola 
San Francesco di Paola is up the stairs from the beach of San Francesco. It is also called Saint Maria di Montevergine and was founded at the end of the XVI Century. It was exaulted to a higher church in 1924. Inside the church on the left are two cherubs sculpted in marble dating from 1789. There is also a wooden statue of the Virgin and child from the 1700’s and a crucifix from the 1600’s. 

The Church of Arciconfraternita’ of Santa Maria delle Grazie 
Built in the XVIth century on a cliff it was afterwards extended in various periods up to the XVIIIth century. Consequently, it displays various architectural styles, particularly the Moorish style. Note the wonderful majolica tiles along the walls alongside the front steps, which show scenes from the life of saints and the passion of Christ. The interior’s single aisle offers a vision of many offerings made by sailors who survived dangers at sea thanks to the grace of the Madonna. A wooden crucifix is present in the sanctuary, which probably dates back to the XIIth century. It was found on the beach at the foot of the promontory after a storm. The Basilica Pontificia S. Maria di Loreto Built in the centre of the town it originates in the 1300s and was rebuilt between the XVIIth and the XIIth century. It has three aisles, which display works by the island artists C Calise and Di Spigna. Next to the church lies the Oratory of the Assunta in the Baroque style, which has several of Galante’s paintings. 

The Church of San Vito 
Situated near the centre, this church has ancient origins. Inside you can find paintings from the sixteen hundreds by C Calise and a painting representing San Vito by Di Spigna and an XVIIIth-century solid silver statue based on a design by Sammartino. 

The Parish Church of S Leonardo Abate, S Maria al Monte 
Built in the second half of the XIII century on the high ground, which overlooks the wonderful beach of San Francesco it displays the Baroque architectural style and houses works by the famous painters Luca Giordano and Di Spigna. 

Exotic garden of Villa Gancia 
The garden of Lady Walton an amazing garden with plants from all over the world

The troglodyte house dug into a mass of tufa
See Mount Epomeo

The Poseidon Thermal Spa Park 
The thermal parks -with alternative and avant-garde therapies - are unique in the world. Here you can bathe in mineral rich spa water refreshed daily from the hot volcanic springs, or sit in steam rooms cut into the rock - an experience dating back to the Roman times. 

The “Fungo” (Mushroom) at Lacco Ameno 
In the thermal spa resort of Lacco Ameno there is an interesting geological phenomenon that is joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. It is a block of tufa rock 10 meters high, that has taken on the shape of a mushroom through years and years of being eroded away by the water that laps against it. 

Giardini di Mortella Botanical Gardens 
This wonderful park is located at Forio d’Ischia and was originally the property of the English composer William Walton, who lived in the Villa next door with his wife. When the composer arrived on the island in 1946, he immediately called a botanical expert from England to lay out the garden, planting wonderful tropical and Mediterranean plants, some of which have now reached amazing proportions.

Beaches

Chiaia Chiaia
Chiaia is the beach which lies between La Rotonda and the town center of Forio. Easy to reach which makes it very busy, but also ideal for children as the water is relatively shallow. 

Cava dell’Isola 
This a beautiful beach situated down in a cove. Its vibey and full of youngsters in the summer. The protected cove makes its very hot – great for those who like the heat in the summer. In the cooler seasons, this beach manages to remain warm. 

San Montano Beach 
This is a great family beach. Located near Lacco Ameno, it is shared with the spa of Negombo, making half of it private and the other half public. In summer this beach is extremely popular so try get there early, unless of course you spend the day at the Negombo Spa then use of their beach including umbrellas and chairs is exclusive to you and other spa guests. 

Citara Forio IschiaCitara Beach 
This is one of the bigger beaches on the island. There are rocks around the ends of this beach that can be good for snorkelling. And Poseidon Spa is near here. 

Maronti Beach 
Maronti is an amazing beach located on the opposite side of the island to Forio. It is one of the longest beaches on Ischia and has many gorges running down from the top of the mountain, popular spots to visit the Mud spas and thermal springs of Cavascura and Omnitello. Maronti can be reached by bus #5 from the main line or by water-taxi from Sant’Angelo.

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