The vineyards

Today the island of Ischia is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Mediterranean, thanks to an array of unique factors. The coastal area boasts sandy beaches, reefs and hot springs, and is dotted with sheer cliffs, bays and coves. In the interior, the woods, extinguished craters, valleys and plateaus encircling the slopes of Mount Epomeo, with an elevation of 788 metres above sea level, are ideal attractions for hikers. The island’s astonishing wealth of hot springs, which have been renowned for thousands of years, has been promoted thanks to balneotherapy parks as well as specialized holiday and wellness facilities. Ischia’s towers and churches, the castle and the palazzi bear fascinating witness to the different civilizations that have helped mould the local identity over the centuries. But it is above all the grapevine that has accompanied the island through the ages: precious findings dating back to the 8th century BC, when it was named Pithekoussai by the Euboean Greeks who founded their first western colony here, reveal the presence of Vitis vinifera. The Roman name for Ischia was Aenaria, “land of wine”, and until the mid-twentieth century the economy continued to rely on the wine trade. On the island’s 46 square kilometres, many of the vineyards are situated on slopes with a gradient of more than 30%. The technique of terracing with dry walls made of hand-worked stones (such as green tuff, found nowhere else in the world) made it possible to conquer otherwise inaccessible areas vaunting special microclimates. These walls are known as parracine and, covering 4,000 linear kilometres, they represent the original backbone of Ischia’s landscape.