The largest Municipality, measuring 2,85 square kilometres, lies on the western side of the island and has a population of 12.000 residents. The highest point of Forio has an altitude of 788 metres above sea-level.
The whole district alternates between quiet peaceful zones and chaotic hectic areas, hot beaches and cool hills. Its life-style is reflected in its architecture, mainly 1600-1800’s, narrow streets and winding alleys, watchtowers and many churches, rich in precious frescoes and neoclassic domes.
According to the Jasolino, medical 500, Forìo derives from Fiorio as flourished after the destruction of other Houses, other scholars are convinced by phoros (fertile – fertile), others from the greek chorion (village). The legend, related by D’Ascia, wants a castle of Castello Aragonese, tired of living in the castle with four thousand people, said “Out of me!” and went across the island to found this town.
Forio has undergone several centuries of invasions by the Saracens, of which it marked signs in the local architecture.
In the fifties many artists around the world would meet in this city, attracted by the beautiful scenery and the friendliness of the residents. Along the coast rise many towers and defense, the most famous of these is the Tower.
The center has a special charm with its palaces, its typical streets, the “atelier” of local artists, the tiny craft shops of ceramics, the churches rich in history and art.
Very striking is the famous church of Aid located at the end of a beautiful square, square, John Paul II (formerly the Emergency square), just recently renovated during the pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II on May 5, 2002. It is one of the few places in the world from which it is sometimes possible to assist in special conditions, the optical phenomenon of the green beam to coincide with the sunset of the sun also can enjoy a typical shopping center, a popular tourist spot.
Administratively includes various districts (Monterone Cierco) and Panza, who over the centuries has suffered, as the capital, several attacks by the Saracens, which retains marked signs in the local.
NOT TO BE MISSED
Culture, Art and More
CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF THE SNOW
Known as the Church of Soccorso, it is a marvellous and singular example of spontaneous Mediterranean architecture. Rich in 18th century majolica tiles depicting scenes of the Passion, the church was refitted in 1791 on the site of an existing 16th century temple.
CHURCH OF S. CARLO BORROMEO
Built in 1600 the church is an architectural masterpiece in the form of a latin cross. Green tufa rock has been used profusely throughout. The frescoes found in the four recesses date from 1620 while the canvases and paintings date from 1614 to 1635.
BASILICA TO OUR LADY OF LORETO
Rich in many objects of art, the sacristy dates from 1684 and contains an important portrait of Cardinal Gustavo Adolfo Prince of Hohenlohe, painted in the 19th century.
There are 10 surviving watchtowers: Torrione (1480) – Torre Quattrocchi (‘700) – Torre Nocera (16th century) – Torre Sferratore (16th century) – Torre Casa Patalano (16th century) – Torre Milone (16th century) – Torre Pertesta – Torre Torone – Torre Cierco – Torre Cigliano. The older towers are circular while the more modern ones are square shaped. They served as signals, lit to advise the population of pirate attacks and were also used as shelters.
With its over 300 different tropical and Mediterranean plant varieties, La Mortella is a unique pleasure to visit. Sir William Walton, one of the more famous English composers, lived here for more than 30 years and his ashes are interred in the grounds. The gardens and museum run by his widow Lady Susanna are open to the public Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
GROTTO AND WINE MUSEUM
For a pleasant stroll through vineyards, to conclude in a tufa rock cellar or under a lovely pergola with a glass of excellent local wine, visit Pietratorcia Wines.
CIVIC MUSEUM IL TORRIONE
Used both as a watch and defence tower, fitted with many cannons – in use until 1787 – fired during religious festivities.
Works by local sculptor Giovanni Maltese are on show and the museum can be visited on specific days during summer.
WINE CELLARS OF PIETRATORCIA
Peasant culture & prestigious wines of the island of Ischia
The wine cellars of Pietratorcia at Forio on the western side of the island began thanks to the initiative of a determined group of young people who wanted to reactivate and recapture the ancient traditions of the oldest families Iacono, Regine and Verde.
The old family cellars were reconstructed and equipped and seven acres of land planted with selected vines. Today, thanks to the assistance of the technicians of the reputed institute of San Michele all’Adige, small quantities of prestigious wines are ready to recover the great enological vocation which the peasants of Ischia have, throughout the centuries, gleaned from land on the slopes of Epomeo.
The cellars and vineyards are open to the public form April to October and may be visited to taste the wines and savour small delicacies inspired by the Ischitan peasant cuisine.
The design chosen for the trademark of the wine cellars of Pietratorcia has been taken from the décor of a bowl from 8th century BC found in Ischia in a necropolis in the Bay of San Montano.
The Pietra Torcia is a large heavy green tufa stone with a hole in the top and two on the sides, used for centuries by the peasants of Ischia as a weight to press the grapes after the first pressing by foot.
Tifeo was the giant who led the revolt against the Gods and attempted to climb Olympus positioning large rocks one after the other. Defeated he was chained by Giove on the hills of Epomeo.