80070 Serrara Fontana NA, Italia
Sometimes known as the Eremo di San Nicola, the Chiesa di San Nicola on Mount Epomeo is one of the oldest and most unusual churches in Ischia. Like so many structures in the mountainous regions of the island, it was completely carved out of the volcanic, green tufa stone that is unique to Ischia. The church was said to have already been in existence in the middle of the 15th century but it is possibly older still. Once a year on the Feast of Saint Nicholas, 6th December, crowds gather around the church to witness a ceremony whereby the statue of the saint is taken to the top of the mountain and then brought back down again. This all takes place just after a long mass and is followed by a small party with a barbecue and drinks given to the visitors. This is one of the more difficult churches on the island to reach but the effort is certainly worth it as apart from the church itself you can enjoy arguably the best view on the island. Visitors should make their way to the village of Fontana which is easily reachable by a number of bus routes. Then from the village it's a case of following the signs to the top of Mount Epomeo. This can be an arduous walk with the peak reachable in anything from one to two hours depending on your fitness level.