By the end of the 1700’s the Castle of Ischia had
ceased being the administrative centre of Ischia. The ancient below-lying
village of “Celsa” had finally vindicated its own importance; no longer
depending on the turreted citadel – Ischia Ponte (as it is now named), now it
included the cathedral, the bishop's palace, and the “House of Parliament”
which today is known as the Clock Tower. The building was destined to be the
seat of the Parliament. At the time the varied island towns were called
“Università”. The whole island was subjected to a superintendent of the King, to a military governor stationed on the Castle
and to a civil Judge. There was a general Parliament formed by the Mayors plus
the deputies of the entire Island and by twenty-four Parliamentarians of the
various “università” (12 nobles and 12 plebeians). The general Parliament
took care of issues which affected the whole island; presiding over this body
was representative of the king: the “Prefect of the Royal Chamber of Santa
Chiara”, general superintendent of the island, or in his absence, the Governor
of the island. Some other important institutions were the Parliaments of the
respective “Università”, which were as well presided by Superintend and
Mayor. From 1787 the Parliamentarians officially took the name “Decurioni”
the present configuration of the palace, now known as the Clock Tower, goes back
to 1759. It was in that period that the “Decurioni”
re structured the tower with its Council room and various offices while
using the ground floor as a jail. Until 1730, the General Parliaments were held
in the tower. In the 1759 a “municipal clock” was placed on the tower, hence
the current name. This clock’s face was in marble and only in 1960 it was
replaced by luminous face. Also in 1759, near the tower, administrators set a
basin in “tiburtina” stone. Even today, on the facade
of the building you can read not only a plaque commemorating the death of King
Vittorio Emanuele II, but also another far older one dedicated by Baron Antonini
to the afore-mentioned fountain: “Aquam ex fonte Buceti A.D. IVMP publico
aere derivatam labroque ex tiburtino lapide ornatam et turri in qua concilia
fierent adpositam addito orario Decuriones Pithaecusani utendam fruendam civibus
dedurunt A.D. 1759*”. Since the beginning the tower was used as a
Government building. In the 1898, in planning documents it is mentioned as
“City Hall”. In the early 1900’s Municipal offices were transferred to the
“Palazzo Mazzella” across the street. The building then served as an
elementary school until 1967. On December 15th, 1996 the Museum of
the Sea was inaugurated.
* The authorities have given
water to the citizens so that they may use
it with pleasure. It is with the money of all that it is drawn from the font of
“Buceto” and springs forth in this lovely tiburtina stone basin.
Your wonderful idea fills a gap and gives all sea lovers hope to
make the sea traditions live forever.
Very good exposition of the history and the sea of the island of
These beautiful enterprises should be more and more
appreciated because they show visitors how much the people of Ischia are linked
to their own traditions.
is really a beautiful museum, which should be anyway visited.
found it a very interesting museum, expecially about local history, above all.
was the best impression we got from our visit to the island.
You saved the history of your island: this, means love for culture.
the best to the island of Ischia and to the people, who dedicate themselves to
keep its traditions alive.
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