On the northern side of the Ischia island you will find Forio, the second major town of Ischia according to population number and importance. It stretches between two promontories, Punta Caruso (at Zaro) and Punta Imperatore, between the considered most beautiful beaches on the island and into the metallic green of the vineyards which cover the slopes of Mount Epomeo, descending into a scene of incomparable beauty and a lot of evocative areas of naturalistic interest. Forio’s territory covers 13 square kilometers and is particularly used for wine industry: the 60% about of the island’s wine production come from these areas.
Forio has a population of 12.638 inhabitants; it ranges from 0 km above sea level to 700 in the Falanga areas. It is the only town which has preserved its entire historical centre with its tiny streets, churches, sighting towers and monuments – all of which are unaltered from their original construction.
The main sights are: the church of Soccorso dedicated to Santa Maria della Neve, the Torrione (big tower), the church of San Francesco da Paola, the church of Arciconfraternita of Santa Maria delle Grazie known as Visitapoveri, the Basilica Pontificia S. Maria di Loreto, the church of San Vito, the parish church of S Leonardo Abate and Sta Maria al Monte.
Worth a visit is the exotic garden of La Mortella, created by Lady Walton, widow of Sir William Walton, the famous English composer, where concerts are often held on summer weekends (no additional charge). The gardens have been recently expanded and there are many wonderful view points of Mt. Epomeo and the Mediterranean.
Also of note is the troglodyte house dug into a mass of tufa and the spa gardens Poseidon.
If Ischia town is considered to be the business centre of the island, Forio is probably the cultural one. In the 1950s it was an international meeting place for show business personalities (Luchino Visconti, Pierpaolo Pasolini, Sir William Walton, Eduardo De Filippo, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton), writers (Elsa Morante, Alberto Moravia, Renato Guttuso, Auden, Pablo Neruda), politicians (Pietro Nenni) and the jet-set (Jackelin Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis) and many others.
Near Forio you can find two wonderful beaches, Citara and Cava dell’isola, and also very important thermal sources in Citara and in the bay of Sorgeto, where it’s possible to take a warm bath all year round.