Ischia Unusual 5th step Serrara Fontana-Barano
Ischia unusual and secret
5° (Serrara-Barano) Pietra dell’acqua, Epomeo, Piano San Paolo, Buonopane, Barano, Piedimonte
Ischia unusual and alternative, tour of the island along the historic basol stone roads and the ancient unpaved and scenic paths
Ischia unusual and secret with the various stops – Map of Ischia G.G. Cervera 1959
Ref. Map 11
Ischia unusual and alternative: we continue the 5th step of the unusual tour of Ischia, walking in an unusual and alternative way, from the intersection of via Falanga with via Pietra della Acqua, in the municipality of Serrara Fontana, the path that leads to the slopes of Mount Epomeo.
Today I am in the company of Tina, Cesare and Nicolò, all sporting and passionate travelers. We climb again via Preta and first cross the site Erbarossa and then the site Erbanera and when arrived at the top, Caesar shows us the path that descends with stairs in the upper part of the Frassitielli wood. He explains to us that during the Fascist period also the wood was a working site and the area was well maintained; while today it is almost impracticable. Such situation is due to the lack of resources, of a correct environmental policy, (reiterates Caesar, environmental and non-environmentalist)and perhaps also to lack of good will, as once the same farmers and hunters provided for the ordinary maintenance of the paths.
When we get to the Pietra dell’acqua we notice the particular canals, cleverly dug with the ax, all around the boulder of green tuff, which channels the rainwater into a natural tuff tank. The cistern dug for the collection of the precious rainwater, allows the conservation of water that remains fresh even in summer. After the sloping stretch we follow the path on the ridge enjoying the wonderful view on the northern and southern sides of the island. Through the dense vegetation of the forest you can also see glimpses of the port of Forio.
Ref. Map 12
At the top of Epomeo, we first visit the Hermitage of San Nicola, (on December 6th we all found ourselves on top of the Epomeo to celebrate the patron saint); then we make a brief stop on the belvedere, higher up (787 m.s.l), where you can enjoy a 360 ° panorama of the entire island of Ischia (one word: unmissable, see to believe).
We continue towards the East and at the end of the Epomeo descent, at the crossing with Via Aito, we say hello to Cesare; we go back upwards to reach”Ietto” and after a long stretch we pass under the military base.
The road narrows, becomes a path at high altitude, which for a long stretch continues in the trenches, and above us we can see the roots of old tall trees of the Cava dei Lecci. At a certain point the vegetation thins out and we catch a glimpse of a large area on the ridge, which contrasts with the natural landscape, but which becomes our point of reference until we get to Piano San Paolo. A circular, vast and verdant plateau, in the middle of the woods, ideal for a picnic with family and friends. Here, every year, on the first Sunday of June, the “Festa della Ginestra” takes place, a traditional picnic organized by the folk group “Ndrezzata” of Buonopane; a day of dancing, singing and lots of good food, amidst the overflowing, almost tropical nature of this side of the island. Recent studies have shown that the Piano San Paolo is a fossil beach located 460 meters above sea level, halfway between Buonopane and Fiaiano, both hamlets of the municipality of Barano.
Ref. Map 13
The path in the plateau at some point goes toward north and descends towards the source of Buceto. We continue to the north and arrive in the valley below, where we are immersed in the dense vegetation of tall trees and in the brushwood, with borage carpets.
It seems to be in a tropical island!
Once visited the spring, which is not always accessible,we go up to the ridge and take the path back to the south, keeping Mount Trippodi on our left and then we cross the first stretch of the upper Via Candiano. We continue until we cross the path on the left that leads to the coast of Sparaina.
The area takes its name from the “Cantone a Sparaina”, a large and particular boulder tilted on one side, a sighting point which also serves as a shelter and as a reference for local farmers and hunters.“On the Canton of Sparaina four times a day the sentinel was exchanged, which with the hand visor in his eyes welcomed the message from the neighboring hills” (From This is Ischia by G. G. Cevera 1955).
Ref. Map 14
We admire the view and almost without realizing it, we arrive in the locality Buttavento (so called for the particular perched position and often ventilated).
We take the opportunity, being in this area, to greet the master Paolo, who “works the earth” (as he says, works in double sense as a seasoned farmer and as a master of the art of terracotta). We find him nearby in his workshop intent on creating his clay work. We meet him in the company of Tatyana, an Ukrainian girl who studies design, and is interested in the art of ceramics. We take a short break enjoying wild strawberries, which grow naturally in that enchanted place, quenching our thirst with orange juice offered to us by the Master. Having the background the view of Capri and Mount Cotto, we greet each other warmly as the time is short and we have to resume our journey.
We go down towards the village of Barano and we cross a short stretch of via Corrado Buono (on s.s. 270), stopping at the belvedere to admire the panorama of the Maronti, where we meet Angelo . A hug, a short pause, a breath of relief, and pointing out a specific point, he tells us about Prince of Cavascura (described in one of his books) who lived happily right there where we are looking, in a cave dug into the tuff and lapilli.
Ref. Map 15
Right in the center of Barano we turn left into via Roma, the ancient road that goes down. First we take a path that goes uphill and then down through still well cultivated and very quiet areas. On our left , stands the rural village of Matarace perched on top of the mountain. We follow a long stretch downhill and in the trench, protected by dry stone containment walls on both sides of the road. Finally we reach the end of our journey in Piedimonte, at the foot of the mountain.
N.B. The paths are not always sufficiently marked, so it is better to have maps, take information directly on the places, or even better to rely on some expert guide to avoid getting lost. Particular difficulties are found in the wooded areas, where there are no reference points and it is possible to lose orientation, as happened also to us the first time.We recommend that you never leave the main path.
mountain boots, possibly long pants, sun hat, water.
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Maria (+39) 3713455013