Barano is the second largest municipality of the island with a landscape very similar to that of the southern part of Serrara Fontana. It covers an area of 11,07 square kilometres, has some 7,000 residents and an altitude of 287 metres. It is predominately farmland – arable – but a lot of its territory is dedicated to tourism with such areas as Maronti Beach or the spas of Nitrodi. The municipality has many small villages – Buonopane, Testaccio, Piedimonte, Fiaiano, Vatoliere, Molara, Schiappone and Chiummano.
The village of Barano has a charming sea facing square, from here looking eastwards the point of San Pancrazio with Sant’Angelo to the south is almost always visible as the road climbs uphill.
The name Barano it is for the first time in a plaque that reminds some of 1374 works of Bishop Bartholomew Bussolaro. The etymology is uncertain: some derive from the Latin “contra moerorem”, others would rather “delightful place”, others will identify the origin of the word “balneum”, still others in the expression “farm of Varius.” Some variants were originally used borane and Varrano.
The first settlers of Barano the Greeks, who built at the source of Nitrodi a nymph under the protection of the nymphs and Apollo, god of beauty and health. The oldest finds, the site received Nitrodi consist of reliefs (now preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples), some marble inscriptions, coins of the Roman Empire and shards of utensils of daily use.
Initially called only Barano, in 1862 the City chose the name Forio d’Ischia is composed of several places: Vatoliere, Piedimonte, Fiaiano, Testaccio, Maronti Buonopane where once there were many bakers. Buonopane is also famous for its healing water source Nitrodi.
NOT TO BE MISSED
Culture, Art and More
CHURCH OF ST. SEBASTIAN MARTYR
Built at the end of the 16th century, from 1610 to 1653 it was an Augustian monastery. The church is formed by 3 naves and is well decorated with new classic plasterwork. There are some canvases by Alfonso di Spigna and also an 18th century statue and a bust of the saint. The steeple was built in 1704. St. Sebastian is considered the Patron Saint of the Municipality.
CHURCH OF ST. ROCCO
Patron of the area together with St. Sebastian, the church was built in the 18th century and contains a canvas dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary.
BUONOPANE: CHURCH OF ST. JOHN BAPTIST
It is almost certainly the oldest Parish Chapel of the area (1537). Built on the site of an old chapel it houses a splendid painting of St. Joseph attributed to the School of Caravaggio.
A visit to this spa is obligatory. These healing waters have been used since Roman times.
An intricate and rhythmical traditional dance. Customarily performed on 24th of June and Easter Monday it is sometimes danced on other occasions. For information phone 081/305733 or 905470. The dance comprises of 16 to 18 male dancers and musicians, led by a “corporal” who chants and keeps time.
TESTACCIO: CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF GRACES
This church was built in 1748 but has a modern façade constructed in this century replacing the original. Interesting paintings on the altars, it also contains many wooden statues.
FIAIANO: CHURCH OF ST. JOSEPH
The church, locally called church of St. Anna, was built in the last century and is the Mother Church of the Parish. It contains interesting 18th century paintings of St. Joseph by Nicolò De Simone.
HOUSES IN THE STONE
Any visitor to the island should see these marvels of nature.
Stone houses of varying sizes and shapes can be found in many places on the island but mainly in the area between Serrara and Forio, amassed on the slopes of Epomeo. Dug out of the green tufa rock, initially as shelters from attacking pirates or as wine and food cellars, some are still inhabited today. These blocks of stone fallen from the peak of Epomeo represent the perfect bond that existed between man and nature on the island, and remind us of their spirit of initiative. They are a curiosity that exists only on Ischia. The area “Pietra dell’Acqua” (Water Stones) has many basins and wells carved from the rock.
For those who want to know more, a book by N.D’Arbitrio and L. Ziviello, S.E.N. Napoli “Le Case di Pietra” was published in 1982.