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Lets go to. Sant'Angelo

More isolated than other Ischia's villages, Sant'Angelo is a welcoming and exclusive tourist center preferred by a crowd of habitus (ranging from Neapolitans from the mainland, Italians, and foreigners, Germans in particular) for the peace and quiet it offers. For however modern and trendy, Sant'Angelo has kept the atmosphere of a sleepy fishermen's village, with its slow rhythms and quiet life, where to enjoy a relaxing stay far from the stressful city life
The maze of tiny and long alleyways climbing on the tuff rock ridge are reserved for pedestrians but become accessible at most to a mule that is still used, from time to time, to move heavy goods. Just as characteristic are the numerous tightly packed houses in white, pink or light blue plaster that cling to the wide rock wall as they form a silent and yet gorgeous scenery with their terraces flowing over with hibiscus, geraniums, bougainvillea and jasmine flowers.
The small square then, sided by a few bars, some elegant boutiques and a few small shop strewn here and there, confirms itself as the meeting point, the beating heart of all that happens in the open spaces and the surrounding streets. These basic ingredients are what makes Sant'Angelo into a unique place, a must visit destination where to spend a few days, an evening or even just a few hours.
What is a typical day in Sant'Angelo? For visitors staying here, a good day can be seen from its start. Not to be missed, then, is a breakfast at the Pescatore's where one can taste one of the extraordinary cakes that Mrs Lucia has personally been preparing, every day for the last thirty years by using, solely and exclusively, the most fresh ingredients. To cool down from the oppressive summer heat and find some comfort, we can go to the nice pool of water with chairs and umbrella just across from the small square with the bars. With the water taxis, we can easily reach the coast on the left hand side that has bathing establishments and beaches featuring cinder and pumice stones past Chiaia di Rosa and up to Punta Garamanna and the natural mineral pools at Sorgeto. Likewise, we can go to the beaches on the coast on right hand side which from the Fumarole, where tuff clefts and the sand of the beach below pour out hot vapors while crackling and whistling, to Cava Petrella with its hot steam baths at 100 and more temperatures, to Cavascura and up to Maronti.
Or we can stroll among shops and small streets, toward the tuff rocks at the foot of the small little island, or along the panoramic road that leads to the thermal spa centers. Ischia, as is known, seethes with hot springs everywhere and Sant'Angelo has its share of gorgeous thermal complexes where to retire for a while to restore body and mind. Spas like the Tropical, the Apollon and the Aphrodite are temples of well being as they are immersed in luscious gardens overflowing with colorful flowers, exotic and tropical plants. In one of these we can abandon ourselves to mineral water thermal baths, mud baths, massages, saunas, inhalations and more. For lunch or dinner, aside from the Pescatore Restaurant already mentioned, an option is Peppino's country style restaurant where the house specialty is either the fish soup with the special recipe or, on order, bucatini with rabbit Ischia style. For dinner or to end the evening with some music, there is Pirata's, the country style restaurant - piano bar with warm wood paneling and ceramic plates and pitchers hanging from walls and floor ceiling. Here, the specialties of the house are fish and vegetable based, fruit salads with ice cream and multicolored fruit cocktails hopping from table to table at any hour of the day and night.
History and traditions also abound in Sant'Angelo as they go far back in time. The most ancient go as far back as the Greek colonization period. From Medieval times, however, it is known that the Benedictines had a monastery, among others, called of St. Angelo Annunziante, located precisely across the small island, which inherited the name. Later, Sant'Angelo was extended to include the marina of the village on the opposite side as well. Along the slopes' terraces, the religious community grew wheat, barley, and legumes as well as planted grapevines, olive groves, fruits orchards and fig trees. They also introduced the devotion to the Archangel Michael who became the village's protector, venerated as the warrior and leader with the sword drawn over the dragon. Each year at the end of September, on the patron saint's day, the town renews its homage with prayers, songs and feasts. The Saint's statue leaves its namesake church and for two days, it is taken on a procession. On the first day, it goes through all the streets and up to the square for the open air blessing and celebration of the Mass; on the second, the procession continues with San Michele's statue put aboard the Pellicano, the town's largest and most important tuna fishing boat. This feast has become a tourist attraction also thanks to the open air concerts, the symbolic destruction by fire of the small island, the number of lights placed on the surrounding cliffs and rocks, fireworks, the decorations placed in private houses, restaurants and stores, as well as balconies joyfully decorated with flowers of all kind.
Remaining on the religious theme for Sant'Angelo, another joyous event is the Feast of the Corpus Domini. As in other religious feasts, the procession is the centerpiece as the parish priest, followed by the faithful, carries the Most Holy Eucharist through town; at prearranged places, prepared with carpets of flowers depicting sacred images and scenes, the priest stops to perform a blessing ceremony.

Strolling: the rock architecture of houses made of rocks
Ischia, the queen of thermal tourism, offers more than natural steam baths and mineral thermal water springs. It is also renowned for its naturalistic routes that include curious and strange routes like the one that takes us to discover the rock architecture of houses made of rocks; and that is to say, to look for enormous tuff rock blocks that sloughed off from Monte Epomeo and were utilized by the ancient Ischitani as homes, cellar space, temporary shelters, hermitages, steam rooms, and/or defensive structures. If you are still wondering about this, the answer lies in the fact that these structures are a most singular proof of rural architecture. It was the result of a long, tenacious and laborious, carving operation of immense rock blocks that had collapsed from above, probably due to the tectonic subsidence of an entire mountain wall, and were strewn here and there along the slopes of the volcano that had been dead for some time. Legend has it, instead, that these houses made of rocks were created in the open craters from the rock blocks that the Giant Tiphoeus, vexed for some wrongs received, used to hurl from the mountain top.
The origins of the houses made of rocks. The most ancient settlements go as far back as the Prehistoric Age and were located on the Castiglione Hill, half way between Ischia Porto and Casamicciola. The widest expansion, however, happens on the Island's western side as it specifically concerns the area that extends from the resort named Fango resort goes along the Borbonica road, passes Forio and goes towards Citara, Cuotto and Panza. In this entire area, the rural population starts a systematic transformation, still visible, of the numerous blocks of lava rocks. The major pieces of evidence that we have today bring us back to the 15th and 16th century as some dates chiseled on outside walls or on the entrances' architraves state. An example of this is Don Antonio's cellar where it says "Year of the Lord 1677".
The structure and the use. Let us now take a look at how these housing units were organized. The very center was utilized as the kitchen-eating space and was surrounded by the entrance, the sleeping areas and the storage space. Everything else was left outside including the lavatory facilities as well as a clever system of holes and conduits to channel rainwaters. Two level story structures, however, included an outside stairway also carved in stone to connect the ground floor and cellar with the upper floor created as the family's living space. Temporary shelters, instead, were carved for seasonal work purposes such as the grape harvesting, the snow picking on Mount Epomeo or the tree chopping in the Falanga forest. As a result, the limited use of these units only required equipping them with the essentials: an hearth, a cistern and some hollows on the walls where to put things away.
The models. Concerning the cultural roots of the houses made of rocks, there is scarce information available and, as a result, no precise reference about them. The only exception are the similar rock complexes in Cappadocia (Turkey) which also influenced architecture dealing with sacred in the entire basin of the Ionian Sea. Here, representatives of the Cenobite orders landed, subsequent to an iconoclasm, in order to get away from persecutions and prohibitions. There are, in fact, similar examples in other parts of Italy as well and more particularly in the area of Taranto and Matera; yet, it is Ischia that holds one of the most complete and compact example of this type of concentration.
The evolution.
Over time, however, the use of these tuff rock blocks for home and shelter purposes has gradually gone out of use. This has coincided not only with the decline of rural activities, grapevine farming particularly, but also with the tumultuous expansion of tourism which, in turn, has introduced new building constructions. Yet, in addition to the still valid use as housing units, these structures could be transformed into small museum centers where to collect anthropological evidence such as traditional customs and decorations, and/or the equipment for working purposes as well as the most rudimentary defense tools dating back to various times.
The villages. On Ischia's western central side, if one pays a bit of attention when looking at the craggy cliffs, one can get a glimpse of some of these rock houses well camouflaged among rocks and spontaneous vegetation. To make this specific type of excursion, to visit and admire from up close this strange architectural expression, there are about 15 itineraries to chose from. All, or almost all, of them however have to be done on foot or on a donkey along passageways and mule tracks. Cuotto, between Forio and Panza, presents the most complete settlement for the wide type of rock blocks: the classic Ischia home with the cellar at the ground floor, the underground cistern and the living quarters above.
 - From Forio instead, at the Monterone resort we go on the Pannoccia, a spectacular mule track that goes as far as Falanga and, therefore, at Pietro Mosca's home: a considerably large dwelling sheer off a cliff. We follow the trail by intuition since there are no clear marks as it also leads to the Church of St. Maria al Monte, a fundamental meeting point for the populations of the surrounding area. Here people used to meet in front of the church on the wide-open space equipped with benches made of rocks and a quite large water cistern, carved from tuff rock and part of the church.
 - In the Celarro resort, there are a number of temporary shelters. Each of their name place: Pietra del Turco (Rock of the Turk), Pietra del Mago (Rock of the Magician), Pietrone (Big stone), clearly evokes again historical events intertwined with rural legends.
   - On the hills of Serrara Fontana, there is a trail that leads down to the beach of Cava Scura; here, by crossing a steep and jagged gorge, we encounter some grottoes carved into the hill and we see the peaks of don Andrea, a small hermitage that includes a few rooms on more than one level connected through an indoor ramp from which to admire, in the distance, the coast of Maronti and Cava Scura
   - There are also other destinations, such as the rocks at the Fango resort, the houses at Panza, the other settlements at Calimera and Citara, the rock blocks-homes along the Ciglio-Pietra Martone line and the San Nicola complex.
For further information on how the houses made of rocks came to be, consult the book by Nicoletta D'Arbitrio and Luigi Ziviello "Ischia, l'architettura rupestre delle case di pietra" Napoli, Esi 19.