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John Murray

Handbook for Travellers in Southern Italy and Sicily, 1892

The town of Procida stretches up the slopes of the castle-hill from the seashore in the form of an amphitheatre, backed and interspersed with vineyards, orange groves, and fruit gardens. The houses, with their flat terraced roofs and external stair­cases, resemble the buildings of modern Greece... The island is richly cultivated with vineyards, and fruit gardens, which supply the markets of the Capital, and constitute a source of the prosperity of the inhabitants. The red wines are of a superior quality, but the chief industry is shipbuilding, some of the principal shipowners of S. Italy being natives of Procida. On Michaelmas Day and on the 8th of May the women dress up in Greek costume and dance the tarantella.

We now approach the precipitous rock on which the Castle of Ischia guards the approach to the island, whose beautifully varied outline, clothed with luxuriant vegetation and crowned by the commanding ridge of Epomeo, presents one of the loveliest pictures it is possible to conceive.

Its circumference is about 20 miles, exclusive of the sinu­osities of the coast, its length 6; its greatest breadth about 4 m.

'The Mineral Waters are the strongest and most efficacious in Europe. No spot indeed in the world contains such a number of hot springs.

Many rare ferns and orchids are found in the woods; the aloe and the prickly pear grow luxuriantly in the hedges; and the caper climbs wild along the walls.

The oldest rocks hitherto discovered consist of a blue argillaceous marl... These blue marls underlie the most ancient volcanic rocks, showing that the latter were erected whilst the sea covered the country.

Just outside the village (Lacco) to the North is the Convent of S. Restituta, the Patron Saint of the island. The body of the saint who suffered martyrdom in Africa by being inclosed alive in a case and thrown into the sea was cast ashore in the little bay of S. Montano, beyond the present church where grows in the sandy soil a flower (Squilla maritima) called by the islanders the Giglio di Santa Restituta.