Residue of dream and principle of thought, as Victor Hugo put it: dawn is itself an enchantment. In Ischia, more so. And they enchant the long sunsets over the sea, with the sun lighting up the sky in red, pink or orange, before quickly sinking, swallowed by the horizon.
There is no billboard of events that can compete with a spectacle of nature that crosses the seasons: in winter as in spring, in summer and in autumn, the island of Ischia knows how to exalt itself when the day begins and is at its best at dusk, when the last rays of the sun settle on the goiters and cliffs, and light gives way to darkness.
And so the mother of all experiences, for those who really want to get in tune with this land, means arriving on time for the daily appointment with the alternation of day and night. Let yourself be captivated by it, capture it with your gaze even before your smartphone: then, of course, the temptation to return the right snapshot on Instagram will be irresistible.
Scents of the sea in the waking island: where to watch the sunrise in Ischia
Sunrise, first of all: to the east, Ischia is an embrace facing the mainland. The Aragonese square, in the village of Ischia Ponte, is thus the privileged place to greet the sun as it peeps far behind the islet of Vivara, an offshoot of Procida, and Mount Vesuvius, or, depending on the time of year, out to sea between Punta Campanella and Capri. As in an irresistible synaesthesia, all the senses are activated: sight, enraptured by the light that permeates everything, and hearing, with the seagulls garrulous and the sea intoning its litany, now light and barely perceptible, now imposing and mighty. The scent of early premature coffee and warm bread from the nearby ancient bakery tickle the sense of smell, time for taste will come with the inevitable breakfast.
Sleeping here, staying in one of the hotels near Ischia Ponte, therefore offers its advantages.
It changes the perspective, not the end result for those lurking in Cartaromana, going down to the beach or sitting on one of the benches in the lay-by.
In trekking waiting for the rising sun
For trekking enthusiasts, however, sunrise can be the satisfying final act of a walking tour among the wonders of the land island: more convenient is finding a front-row seat from the hill of Piano Liguori, conveniently accessible from the square in the village of Campagnano, from which there is a 360-degree view that, on particularly clear days, allows one to appreciate the entire Gulf of Naples.
Suggestive glimpses of the sunrise also open up through the pines and holm oaks of Cretaio, looking out toward the port of Ischia and, farther on, to the Castle, behind the ancient volcanic vents of Rotaro.
But if there is a place that – by definition – becomes the non plus ultra for the enchantment of the Ischitan sunrise, this is undoubtedly the summit of Epomeo, as suggested by the toponym itself. “Epopon” means look around, all too easy if you are there, on the summit, as the sun rises, illuminating – one slice at a time – the whole island.
You have to climb in good time, from Fontana, armed with a flashlight and paying attention to the path, which partly panders to a mule track: it is worth it. Recommended to sleep in the area, therefore.
The best sunsets in Ischia
And from here, from Epomeo, the sunset is also a priceless sight.
In Forio looking for the green ray of sunset
To lovers of the genre, widely celebrated by none other than Giovanni Verga (in the poignant “Casamicciola” he extols the “warm colors of the sunset on which Ischia stamped itself green and soft, and where the shore was sinking like a cup“), however, the opportunity to observe it from the west coast of the island, perhaps from the Piazzale del Soccorso in Forio or, even better, from the Punta Imperatore Lighthouse, will not escape. The sea devours the sun; if you sharpen your eyes, you may happen to see it traversed by schools of festive dolphins. What more could you want? The green ray, perhaps. That subtle (and legendary) luminous streak with a green color, a few moments at sunrise or sunset: there is a scientific explanation (the refraction of sunlight by the atmosphere), but what is most captivating is the fascination and rarity of a phenomenon that captivated, among others, Luchino Visconti. And even from the promontory of Zaro, where there is what used to be his Villa, La Colombaia, the sunset is a breathtaking sight, in all seasons of the year. More in the spring, perhaps, when the forest awakens and the scents of the blooms, including those of La Mortella Gardens, spread everywhere. Even better in late May, when-at dusk-just take a few steps toward the woods to be dazzled by the glitter of fireflies. What else is wonder?