The Cartaromana beach is one of the least known jewels on the island of Ischia. It's perfect for who seeks a suggestive and reserved beach, far from the crowd but at the same time easy to reach. Named after the Cartaromana bay, the beach is situated at the end of a flight of steps made of lava stone. Once you have arrived below, you can enjoy an enchanting view on the Aragonese Castle. Here you can spend pleasant days in the sun, enjoy the cristal clear sea of the island and admire romantic sunsets. But that's not all, the Cartaromana beach is also famous for having naturally warm mineral water basins, in wich you can bathe even during the colder months. The most audacious among you can dive into the deep waters of the bay, to discover the ancient sunken city of Aenaria. Let's learn more about the Cartaromana beach together.
The history of the Cartaromana beach
Despite the fact that the Cartaromana beach is not well known by the numerous tourists that come to the island of Ischia every year, it is without doubt one of the most beautiful locations. Here infact history, nature, myths and art are mingled with each other. To know the history of this territory is very important to be able to fully appreciate it. Already the Romans settled in this area, creating a small industrial center working with metals. This is why Cartaromana was called Aenaria (aenus meaning metal in latin) in the past. In 474 BC, in this same area began the constuction of the Aragonese Castle, a stronghold built on a small trachyte rock isle, on the oriental side of the island.of Ischia. The small isle is connected to the main island by a 220m stone bridge, which leads to the small village of Ischia Ponte.
The Aragonese castle has undergone lots of changes and occupations during its long history, but the current structure is the doing of the Aragonese family, from which it also takes the name. Inside the castle there is the church of the Immaculata, where nowadays expositions of art and sculpture are organized.
The Cartaromana bay has always been very dear to the people of the island. The sailors used to go there with their wives to pray to Sant'Anna (mother of the Virgin Mary and protector of the women in labour) for help in getting pregnant while rubbing the rocks and chanting their prayers. For this reason there was a votive chapel erected precicely in this area to honor the saint, and every year on the 26th of July (the day Sant'Anna is celebrated), the most important festivity on the island takes place. Besides spectacular fireworks, you can observe an allegorical parade of boats and the famous fire of the castle.
Who dives into the water of this beach, might be surprised to find areas where the water suddenly becomes very warm. This is not a halucination, but merely a thermal phenomena. In fact, the Cartaromana beach is situated right above an underwater fumarole, which heats up the surrounding water with its innocuous volcanic gases. The same phenomena happens in the nearby Sorgeto bay in the locality of Panza. It is a real free thermal park that is visited all year long, thanks to its conformation that protects from the wind. Depending on the tides, the sea can even warm up to 37°C, a paradise for all fond of thermal baths. Different from the Cartaromana beach, which is easy to reach like we will find out shortly, to go down the steps leading to the Sorgeto bay is quite tiring. For this reason there is a shuttle service by boat provided during the summer months, that easily connects the bay to the nearby village of Sant'Angelo.
How to get to the Cartaromana beach
In order to get to the Cartaromana beach you will need some patience but your small effort will be greatly rewarded by the wonderful view you get from the bay. The best way to reach it is to rent a car or scooter and go to the locality San Michele in the municipality of Ischia. After having passed the cemetery you must continue straight ahead for another few hundred meters and then take the narrow foot path for 700 meters more, which brings you to the lava stone steps. The steps, about 100, can be taken easily and without problems. Who does not want to take the steps, can use the boat taxi service to a very affordable price, functioning mostly in the summer season and connecting the beach with the localities of Ischia Ponte and Ischia Porto.
The Cartaromana beach is also suitable for children. After going down the steps you find a beach with fine sand and the sea water level going up slowly and gradually from the shore, so it is the perfect place for famlies. In addition, there are some establishments that rent deck chairs and beach umbrellas to the tourists, restaurants and bars for refreshments during the day, giving you the possibility to taste the specialities that this territory has to offer.
The Cartaromana bay is also a famous destination for those who like diving, giving the oppotunity to take a plunge into history. Here infact, it is possible to discover the remains of the ancient Roman colony Aenaria. During the past years, from these depths, there were many artifacts brought to light that document the activities with metals in this area. There were also found remains of residential buildings and buildings of the antique harbour. Shortly, a multimedia room was opened in Ischia Ponte, where you can watch all the footage scubadivers made of their immersions during the past years.
The beach is quite small, so during the summer season (especially July and August) it's wise to get there early in the morning to be sure to find place. Otherwise, for who is not interested in sun tanning, but wants to enjoy the natural and artistic beauties of the island, we suggest to visit in the evening. Shortly before sunset, when the beach starts to empty out, only the uncontaminated wonder of this natural beauty remains, one of the many found on our peninsula.