Mountains are the solidified waves, water is the flowing mountains
Epomeo is my big love🙂. There is something alive, from human being in this vast and majestic, so different in its shape and relief, “unshakable” mountain. You feel like talking to it.. and believe – it hears you.
Approaching the Island the first that appears on the sea horizon is the outlines of massive Epomeo with its sprawling slopes, few “humps”, almost entirely covered with greenery and surrounded by the undulating, deeply green hills arising softly one after another around the mount.
Several uncovered rocky peaks, tower at the Epomeo’s slopes completing the perfect “mountain view”.
Epomeo is indeed emerged from the sea. Tens of thousands years ago an underwater eruption created this volcanic horst, hill, which became the true heart of the island and determined its appearance. Already in the 2nd century BC Greeks and Romans lived on its hillsides; from the ancient Greek derives the name “Epomeo”, greek verb Epopeus means “to look around”.
As from the top of Epomeo, almost the whole island is visible, as Epomeo can be seen from the most points of the island. My most beloved, mesmerizing view of the mountain – from the side of Citara bay. Here the slopes are especially sprawling, wide and mighty – it seems they embrace everything lying at the foot; the rocky summits are clearly seen; particular beauty, greatness and magnificence of nature conveys the mount here.
During all my visits of the island, I wished a lot to climb Epomeo, but was always deterred by the sweltering summer heat. This time the desire won, and in the morning I have been already atop, exploring the surroundings. It was certainly hot.. but extraordinarily wonderful.
The path to the summit, classic most common route, begins in the village of Fontana. It already lies at enough altitude above sea level, being the highest settlement in the island, and offers spectacular views as well. You quickly overcome a short street rise, leaving behind the children playing on the road. Lazily cast they an eye after you, being used to travellers here. And very soon you find yourself among plantations of vineyards and trees with ripening or already mellow fruits, thickets of blackberry bushes along the way, full of inky berries. Deep panoramic views, going very far down, start to open: light points of houses immersed in greenery, jutting out tops of trees and luminous blueness of the sea. Summer heat makes everything whitish-transparent and fluffy caps of the standing nearby pines perfectly frame each such “view”.
You enter the forest, shady and humid, bringing coveted coolness. Gradually the trail is getting narrow, turning into a trench-like path, formed in the mountain, with over the human height rocky walls on both sides. Epomeo consists of different rocks of volcanic origin, but mostly of the unique green tuff (Tufo Verde di Monte Epomeo), which is very common on the island. Sometimes not only because of the rich Mediterranean vegetation and the abundance of pine trees, they call Ischia “Green Island”, but also because of the widely spread Green Tuff.
Coming out from this small “cleft”, you find yourself very close to the peak of the mountain, on the area covered by original volcanic white lava. Something like differently shaped round “stairs” and ditches are hollowed out in its mass, they exactly lead to the summit.
The summit is a striking place.. Here very close to the peak, in the light tuff cave, one of the many dotted around the mountain, the ancient church of St. Nicholas is located – the church at such a height! As early as in the 15th century, this small church and hermitage were built for monks and hermits who lived here at this highest point of the island, detached from the world, in the surrounding of pure wild nature and in complete solitude.
There is also a cafe-restaurant, certainly with charming views, where everybody climbed here can rest up and replenish their energy.
Only having ascended the top of Epomeo, I have got a complete idea of the island. Exactly from here you see that island is not so big at all – here they are, all known towns and villages, located one after another, outlining the island perimeter – all together they appear in front of your eyes at once. In the center spreads out the mountain range: hills and valleys drowning into greenery, with vast vineyards and few agricultures on the slopes.
There is no other view quite like it, with the whole island spread out before you in all its complicated beauty
Being here, beholding and absorbing all this beauty, uniqueness and miracle of the nature’s creation, you start to think about the creative effect that volcanic activity brings.. renewing the earthly appearance, generating fertile soils, giving rise to new plants and even animal species, producing building materials for humans and, of course, healing hot springs. For the latter Ischia is very much famous. There are a lot of fumarols – sources of hot steams and gases coming out of the ground; with wide range of temperatures they are scattered on the mountainsides and on the coasts. As well as there are a multitude of thermal springs, hidden in the underground of literally the whole island. Often just standing around in the sea you sense thin hot trickles coming out of the sand and “pointwisely” hitting the feet.
Slightly below the summit there are various paths and trails that allow to explore the underlying surroundings as well. Among others one can reach the second peak of Epomeo, called “Pietra del Aqua”, where the famous “Stone of Water” is located, a unique human creation made in the past centuries to collect rainwater. Or you can get to the chestnut forest with its age-old trees, to the Green Tuff cliff, to find the former houses-caves, hollowed out in the slopes .. and much more.
But also you can simply linger here for a while, nearby the summit: “to live a little” among the wild untouched vegetation, pure, with nothing mixed, sounds of living, in an atmosphere of calm infinity … where time has paused and suspended, “hung” in its flight… leisurely looking around and embracing with eye and mind all stretched somewhere far below, beneath you, slopes, towns, beaches and the endless sea…