Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Thermal Waters of Ischia to Relax

Ischia is a small island of Campania, in southern Italy. It sits in the Gulf of Naples, and is very famous for its tremendous scenic impact, natural environment, clean waters, good fish and cooking, characteristic towns, and lastly, but most importantly, its thermal baths.

The thermal waters of Ischia are well known and used since ancient times. The first Euboeans settlers in the Eighth century BC appreciated and used hot springs waters on the island. The Greeks used the thermal waters to restore the spirit and the body and as a remedy for healing the aftereffects of war wounds. They attributed supernatural powers to the waters and vapors that flowed from the bowels of the Earth. It is not a chance by each spa resort temples dedicated to gods like Apollo at Delphi were built. Strabo, a Greek historian and geographer, mentioned the island of Ischia and the virtues of its hot springs.

If the Greeks were the first people to know the powers of the thermal waters, the Romans brought them to be a means of healing and relaxation through the creation of profitable public baths by the numerous springs of the island. However, no lavish bath establishments were ever built, as opposed to Rome and other ancient thermal baths centers.This was probably due to frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that often violently shook the island.

The decline of Rome coincided with the abandonment of the use of bathing even in Ischia. There are indeed no traces of thermal spas usage during the middle ages. A strong impulse to spa usage was given during the Renaissance by Giulio Iasolino, professor at the University of Naples, who realized the therapeutic potential of thermal waters. He cataloged all the baths of Ischia and the beneficial effects of each one, bringing more and more people to cure ailments with success. If you want to read more on this, get his book "De Rimedi Naturali che sono nell'Isola di Pithecusa; oggi detta Ischia". Iasolino freed the thermal waters of Ischia from its magical aura and the success of these treatments brought a group of noble Neapolitan philanthropists to build in Casamicciola the "Pio Monte della Misericordia", the largest spa in Europe during those years, allowing less wealthy people to enjoy the therapeutic qualities of the local hot springs.

Famous historic people like Garibaldi, Cavour and Toscanini visited the baths for their therapeutic properties, making Ischia even more renown internationally.
Thermal tourism started in the Sixties when people from all over the world started arriving to Ischia mostly seeking a healthy relax in a beautiful Mediterranean setting.

2 commenti:

This spring was my first visit to Ischia........and my second.......I didn't want to leave and I know I will return again and again.

I am sorry I still do not know how to reply to comments here, so if I mess it up, I hope you still see this :)

Thanks for your comment! Ischia is truly a gem of Italy. This country has so many places to see in such a relatively small territory...it's just mind-blowing! I am so excited to be here and to be able to travel every week-end for such a small amount of money..I wonder why Italians do not do it more! Thanks for your kind comment!


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