The charm of ancient times is always present
in the modern and renewed Lacco Ameno

Raffaele Castagna

 

Lacco Ameno: a past that comes back, a present that wishes to assert itself under a new aspect.
Whoever comes to this small town, occasionally or for a long stay, does not realize if the pleasure one gets in coming back is given by old memories or by the modern appearance of the place, that help to reveal the soul of Lacco Ameno, small in surface and big for its historical continuity.
  The tourist thinks he shall find only what publicity promised: hotels, thermal cures, dreamy beaches, meetings in Piazza S. Restituta with great personalities of the cultural, artistic, politic and industrial world.
  But Lacco Ameno offers, with its landscape and facilities for happy and comfortable holidays, also something different. You may find in every place, in every corner links with the past and with the life of ancient civilizations.
  To anyone who approaches from the sea appear a basin-shaped landscape ("laccos" means basin or marsh) and a semicircular harbour, the extreme points of which are the last declivities of the great spurs originating on the sides of the Epomeo, that slopes with bold and steep tiers in an incomparable lightness and diversity of colors, ending in the center of the curve where gleams the golden sand of the beach.
  The landscape figures really a Graeco-Roman theatre: the open sea is the scene, where the actors play, the bay is the enclosure for chorus and orchestra, the land, which goes up in tiers, forming concentric and superimposed passages, is the amphitheatre for the public. One could think it had been prepared by the ancient dwellers.
  Here effectively landed the first Greek settlers, coming from the island of Eubea, in the first part of the VIII century B.C. At Monte Vico, in S. Montano Bay, under the Church of S. Restituta, have been found important evidences of life in those far-off times. Don Pietro Monti is always ready to act as guide to those archaeological excavations and for a peaceful walk in a landscape that gives you forgetfulness of the present and a pleasant flyback to the Homeric civilization.
   Poetically Don Pietro illustrates the ancient times, explaining that under the soft sand sleep the vestiges of those settlers who came over the Tyrrhenian Sea on their triremes with purple sails and landed on Pithecusae Island.
  The voices of Athenians and Rhodians, inhumed in proto-corynthian urns, of Etruscans and Apulians, buried in cemeteries surrounded with small clay amphorae, are still heard here and also the wailing of infants, shut in sepulcral amphorae with scarabaeidae and amulets, among which prevailed the lyre-player medals and mascots brought over from Cilicia, on the North of Syria.
  Coming away from this ride into the past, one sees between the bulwarks of Montevico and Mezzatorre the blue sea murmuring lazily on the pebbles of the shore line. On the soft sand no more blooms the sea pancratium maritimum (Restituta's lily); people from everywhere bask in the sunshine; they are not new settlers, they show they belong to a modern civilization which makes has become a necessity. Ischia island is now an obligatory destination, an important goal in this new sport. Every center of the Island has particular charms and beauties of its own.
  Lacco Ameno, until not long ago, was considered only for its thermal waters, now it is its ancient history that calls here eminent specialists.
  The richness and interest of this center is formed by a contemporary presence of archaeological, natural and curative elements.
  Looking at the landscape, that was the first to be inhabited in this island, we feel that it has certainly inspired that Greek poetry sung and painted by the pithecussan ceramists. Perhaps we may hear in the air whispers of ancient legends. The reality is not a myth, but a vision which is before us in all its beauty.
  Looking on past and present we may yield to a sense of melancholy, but it is short and the will to come back here is strong and resolute. A blue and peaceful sea, green hills, the charm of the past, beneficial waters: so remains Lacco Ameno in our thoughts.