The town of Ischia PonteA fascinating history spanning 2,000 years

The historic fishing village

The ancient Borgo di Celsa is today an essential destination for enjoying the sea and learning about Ischia’s origins.

Il borgo di Celsa

The fishing village of Ischia Ponte is the 'historic' heart of the entire island. Starting near the islet (formerly known as Insula Minor) where the Castle stands, it was the first settlement to be inhabited since the Middle Ages and followed the fortunes of the stronghold, contested over the centuries - along with the island - by dynasties and peoples of Europe (Saracens, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Austrian Aragonese, Bourbons and French until the unification of Italy) for its strategic position to control the Gulf of Naples.

Il Borgo di Mare in the 13th century, with the arrival of the Augustinian Friars who soon dedicated themselves to the production and profitable trade of silk, was called Borgo dei Gelsi or Cela due to the large and fragrant tree plantations planted by the monks in the land surrounding the convent and the current Cathedral Church of Ischia Ponte.

Churches, colourful fishermen's houses and aristocratic Palazzi

In 1700, with the end of pirate raids, the aristocratic families who lived protected inside the Castle abandoned it to move to the village and build the many beautiful Palazzi that still flank the main course of Ischia Ponte. With a , it's easy to grasp the history of the village in its contrast between the coloured fishermen's houses and the large Palazzi, which alternate with watchtowers and public and religious buildings.

The churches also recount this social bipolarity with the age-old rivalry between the church owned by the fishermen (today the Chiesa dello Spirito Santo - Church of the Holy Spirit) and that of the Augustinian Friars (now the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta – Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption): the unusual property of the fishermen if the village church, whose ownership has been passed down from father to son, began in 1600 and was financed with the proceeds of fishing to face the oppression of the Augustinian Friars against the weaker classes, giving them a place of worship and promoting mutual aid.

For a complete tour of the village, you can't miss a visit to the enchanting Aragonese Castle, which is privately owned and can be visited all year for a fee.

The Bay of Cartaromana, the Torre Guevara and the church of Sant'Anna

With a visit from the sea accompanied by a local guide you can grasp, in addition to its unique northern facade that perfectly testifies the cohabitation between different classes, even the aspects of the village that are not visible from the ground: the beautiful Bay of Cartaromana on which the Aragonese Castle is reflected, the Torre Guevara (or Torre di Michelangelo: legend has it that Michelangelo stayed there in 1500, romantically linked, in secret, to Vittoria Colonna, poet and wife of Francesco Ferrante d'Avalos, who then lived in the Castle), the medieval church of St. Anne with the adjoining cemetery which inspired Arnold Böcklin for his most famous painting the Island of the Dead, and which hides the ancient Roman settlement of Aenaria below sea level.
1 h

Historical walking tour

Guided tours to the buildings which have made Ischia Ponte’s history

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1 h

Ischia Ponte from the sea

The colours of the village, the Bay of Cartaromana, the grottoes

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