History of the thermal water hot springs

The thermal waters of island of Ischia have been very well known for their healing powers since antiquity.

The Euboeans, who were the first settlers in the eighth century B.C., took advantage of the thermal hot springs on the island. Many of their artifacts support this and are on display at the Villa Arbusto Archeological Museum. The Greeks used the waters to restore the body and soul, and as a remedy for war wounds, in the pre-antibiotic era. They believed the water had supernatural powers and errected temples in some of the towns dedicated to the gods, such as Apollo and Delphi. Greek historian, Strabo, mentions the virtues of the island's thermal springs in his geographical works.). The Greeks may have been the first to recognize the powers of the thermal water, but it was the Romans who brought it to public poplarity for healing and relaxation. The Romans built public thermal baths to ensure a safe and profitable use of the numerous hot springs on the island, as shown by the votive tablets at the Nitrodi hot springs in Barano, Ischia where there is a temple dedicated to Apollo and the Nymphs Nitrodi, guardians of the water..

The decline of Roman power coincided with the abandonment of the use of thermal water in Medieval times, even in Ischia. During the Renaissance, spa treatments and thermal water therapy came back to life thanks to Giulio Lasolino, a Calabrian physician and professor at the University of Naples at the end of the sixteenth century. He was fascinated by climate and the phenomenon of secondary vulcanism, fumaroles and hot springs. He realized the therapeutic potential of thermal waters and undertook a thorough survey of the all hot springs on the island, demonstrating for the first time the richness of the island's hot springs. He studied the composition of the water and completed detailed observations of the effects of the thermal water on diseases that plagued his comtemporaries. He enthusiastically described the Castiglione hot springs, one of the most famous springs at the time.

Dr. Lasolino's publication freed the island's thermal water from the magical definition it had been confined to and opened it up as a means to cure many ailments. At the beginning of the fifteen hundreds, thermal water cures were very expensive and therefore only the wealthy and the noble could afford them. Then a group of noble Neopolitan Philanthropists built a spa in Casamicciola called, "Pio Monte della Misericordia", which at the time was the largest in all of Europe and provided treatments even to those without economic means. From the sixteen hundreds to the middle of the nineteen hundreds, many thermal bath establishments were built around the famous hot springs giving the island renowned international attention. People came from all over to receive treatments for many diseases of the body. Some visitors included celebrities, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, after the battle of Aspromonte, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, Arturo Toscanini. Since the sixties, thanks to Angelo Rizzoli, the Island of Ischia and its waters are open to large numbers of tourists and intense scientific study and activity.