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Ischia Unusual 5th step Serrara Fontana-Barano

Published on 17 January 2018 by admin

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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.

01 Via Preta

01 Via Preta

02 via Pietra dell'acqua

02 via Pietra dell’acqua

03 Ricovero scavato nel tufo verde

03 Cave dug in the green tuff

04 Allevamento di pecore maiali e struzzi

04 Raising sheep, pigs and ostriches

05 Città di sassi

05 City made of stones

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.

06 Pietra dell'acqua

06 Pietra dell’acqua

07 Pietra dell'acqua particolare

07 Pietra dell’acqua particular

08 Panoramica

08 Overview

09 Porto Forio

09 Porto 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).

10 Epomeo

10 Epomeo mountain

11 Il sentiero sul costone

11 Path on the ridge

12 Cartellonistica

12 Signage Epomeo

13 Discesa dall'Epomeo

13 Descent from Epomeo

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.

14 Tina e Nico in discesa dall'Epomeo

14 Tina and Nico descending from Epomeo

15 Loc Ietto

15 Site Ietto

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.

16 Cava dei lecci

16 Cava of lecci

17 Per il piano S Paolo

17 For Piano S Paolo

19 Piano San Paolo

19 Piano San Paolo

20 Piano San Paolo particolare

20 Piano San Paolo particular

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!

21 Acquedotto militare

21 Military aqueduct

22 Interno della fonte

22 Interior of the source

23 La fonte di militare

23 The source of military entry

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.

24 Rudere con cellaio

24 Ruin with cellaio

25 Resti rudimentali dell'attrezzatura della cantina

25 Rudimentary remains of the cellar equipment

26 A cavallo in avanscoperta

26 On horse in advance

27 Casa rurale con cantina

27 Rural house with cellar

25 Bivio con via Candiano

28 Crossroad with Via Candiano

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).

29 Veduta tra gli alberi

29 View through the trees

30 La guardiola

30 The guardhouse

31 La guardiola vista particolare

31 The guardhouse particular view

32 Pietra Sparaina

32 Stone Sparaina

32 La vedetta

32 The lookout


33 Pietra Sparaina G. Cervera 1955

33 Stone Sparaina G. Cervera 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).

34 Crinale Epomeo

34 Crinale Epomeo

35 Vista del versante orientale

35 View of the eastern side

36 Vista ad occidente Buonopane

36 View to the west side Buonopane

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.

38 Maestro di ceramica Paolo May

38 Master of ceramics Paolo May

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.

39 Vista dal belvedere S. Angelo

39 View from the S. Angelo viewpoint

40 Nico con borragine

40 Nico with borage in bloom

41 Vista da Barano chiesa di San Giorgio

41 View from Barano church of San Giorgio

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.

Recommended equipment:

mountain boots, possibly long pants, sun hat, water.

On the equipment consult the site:

For more information:

on the routes write to or call

Maria (+39) 3713455013

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