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Aragonese Castle

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Aragonese Castle

The Aragonese Castle is situated on a little rocky island connected to the eastern side of Ischia by a wall bridge 220 metres long.

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The rocky base is geologically defined as "a dome of stagnation" and it consists of a bubble of magna which solidified after major eruptions. The dome stretches to a height of 113 metres above sea-level and covers a surface area of 56,000 square metres.

 

One can access either by a mule track or a modern lift installed at the end of the 1970s. The mule track, at the beginning, runs through a tunnel in the rock (made by Alfons I of Aragona in the middle of the 15th century). The track then continues outside until it reaches the highest part of the Castle where the Maschio is situated.

From the main road, three routes can be taken to the buildings and the rock gardens. The lift reaches up 60 metres and runs inside the rock. The building covers only a small part of the total surface, which is mainly occupied by ruins and cultivated lands. The main features of the Castle were destroyed by armed conflicts in the early 19th century, and afterwards it remained abandoned for a long time.

At the beginning of the 20th century a series of restorations began, giving back the architectonic dignity to this massive monumental complex. The appearance of the Castle is determined by the royal residence, called Maschio (not accessible to visitors) which is located at the higher point of the north-eastern side, and the dome of the Church of Immacolata, the central counterpoint of the Island. An effective mediation between the rock and the building is the rampart wall that almost entirely surrounds the Castle, rendering it even more characteristic.

Locations IFF (in yellow)
1|Pedestrian access
2|Lift

3|House of the sun
19
|Cathedral of the Assunta
21|Passage of the nuns

22|Terrace of the cafeteria
23|Terrace of the convent
24|Garden of the Clarisse
26|
Hotel “Il Monastero”
27|Piazzale delle Armi
28|Secretariat IFF

Clik on the blue square on the left to visualize the projection locations.

Other sites to visit
1|Pedestrian access
2|Lift

3|House of the sun
4|Church of S.Pietro Pantaniello
5|
Palmenti and cellaio
6|Viale Palmenti
7|Bourbounic Jail 
8|Terrace of the ulivi
9|Caffe Terrazzo

10|Church S.MAria Grazie
11Sighting Tower
12|Path of the sun
13|Terrace San Cristofaro
14|Church Madonna Libera
15|Viale of Ailantus
16|Ruins of the temple of the sun
17|Terrace of the Temple
18|Panoramica Loggetta
20|Church of Immacolata
25|Cimitery of the Nuns
26|
Hotel “Il Monastero”


 

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The History of the Castle

The first fortress was built in 474 B.C. by the Greek Siracusano Gerone I, who helped the Cuman in their war against the Tirrenians. After the winning battle, that took place in the waters in front of what is nowadays the town of Lacco Ameno, Gerone I obtained as reward the Island of Ischia and the Castle.

In 315 B.C. the Romans founded the town of Aenaria in Ischia. They probably they used the Castle as a defense fortress and built some houses around it. In the following centuries pillages occupations by Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Arabs, Normans and Angioini transformed the fortress of Gerone completely. The eruption of Mount Trippodi in 1301 contributed to the repopulation of the Castle. Ischia inhabitants took refuge on the rock as it provided better safety, and  built a little town there. In 1441 Alfonso d’Aragona rebuilt the old “Maschio” and connected the little island to the main island with an artificial bridge. In addition, he built strong walls and fortifications, giving to almost all inhabitants refuge and protection against the incursions of pirates.

The most glorious period for the Castle was at the end of the 16th century when the rock was home to 1892 families, the Convent of the Clarisse, the Abbey of the Basiliani from Greece, the Archbishop and the Prince with his garrison. There were 13 churches including 7 parishes. Around 1750, when the danger of the pirates was over, the population spread to the various towns of the Island, in search of new land to cultivate and develop the fishing trade. In 1809, the English occupied the rock that was then in the hands of the French, destroying almost totally. In 1823, Ferdinando I, king of Naples, chased away the last 30 inhabitants and turned the Castle into a jail. In 1851, it became a political prison for those who opposed the power of the Bourbouns. In 1860, when Garibaldi arrived in Naples, the political prison was closed and Ischia became part of the Reign of Italy. On 8 June 1912, the Administration of the Land and Property department sold the Castle by auction: since then, the rock is managed by private owners.

Clik on the image to reed about the location:

Piazza
delle Armi

Cathedral

Cocktail Area

Piazza delle Armi

La Cattedrale Barocca Diroccata dell'Assunta

Area Cocktail alla Caffetteria del Convento

Casa del Sole

Terrazza del
Convento

Chiostro
delle Clarisse

La Casa del Sole

Terrazza del Convento

Chiostro delle Clarisse

 


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