Aenaria

Ischia’s connection to the sea

There is a fascinating way to discover Ischia: exploring its seabed. Which reveal submerged wonders, in terms of biodiversity, but also traces of remote eras: extraordinary pieces that can reveal its past.
And just like the famous Atlantis, the bay of Cartaromana – already the extraordinary location of the Festa a mare at the rocks of Sant’Anna, the highlight event of the island’s summer – holds some extraordinary artifacts that help to understand the island’s frequentations in Roman times, which so far have certainly been less well known than those of the Greek era.
Today, the archaeological area – under the jurisdiction of the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the Naples Metropolitan Area – has revealed, thanks to the work of underwater archaeologist Alessandra Benini and an excavation campaign begun in 2011, a twenty-meter-long wooden formwork, the structure of a submerged harbor. The wood is miraculously intact, a precious testimony to the care with which the Romans built the docks of their harbors-a most valuable construction, among the largest in the Mediterranean.
A landfall that would be abandoned by the population perhaps in a hurry due to an eruption or tsunami. We are between 130 and 150 A.D. Valuables and coins were also found in this area: goods destined for the colonies landed here. Ceramics that tell stories of the Republican era, from the 3rd century B.C., or become evidence of the Augustan age, 1st century A.D.

A little further on, close to the most popular bathing establishments of summers, here are the remains of an important maritime villa, complete with nymphaeum and outdoor garden: in all probability, it belonged to a Roman patrician.
To appreciate the wonders of Aenaria there are the experiences organized by the association “Il borgo di mare” in collaboration with Marina di Sant’Anna, the reality that first believed, thanks to an intuition of a group of fishermen and boatmen from Ischia Ponte, in the discovery of the artifacts at the bottom of the sea.

You board a transparent-bottomed boat, which departs from the Corteglia pier in Ischia Ponte (info and reservations www.ilborgodimare.com): the tour lasts about 40 minutes and also encompasses sites that are interesting from a scientific point of view, such as the so-called “vents” at the foot of the Aragonese Castle, carbon dioxide columns linked to the island’s volcanic subsoil, almost a natural spa within reach of Posidonia oceanica. Introducing the experience are immersive videos at the headquarters of “Navigando verso Aenaria” on San Giovan Giuseppe della Croce Street.

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