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  • Barano - Comune of Barano
    Ischia Travel Guide

    Nonno Rocco, my mother's father, was born and raised in Barano, the capital of this comune. To this day, his relatives (nieces and nephews and their families) all live on the same patch of land, right at the center of town, where his branch of the Di Costanzo family began.

    Recently, I saw photos of the island from the '30s, '40s, and '50s - and Piazza San Rocco in Barano is one of the few that has barely changed. It's a fabulous place to people watch. At the sports bar, the old men in their newsboy caps sip espresso or down limoncello while playing cards. The young moms stroll down the street with their baby carriages, and everyone stops by the little market for fresh fruit and vegetables. Those who are looking for Italian bling, head to Il Gioiellino. There, you'll find souvenirs like pewter and glass candlestick holders, white gold chokers, gold good luck horns typical of the region, and a variety of charms with depictions of various saints and religious figures.

    Outside, you can usually find young boys playing pick-up games of soccer and toddlers hanging out on the swings. Savoring gelato from one of the benches is a delight. You will also get a fabulous view from above of the San Giorgio church in Testaccio, which makes the piazza an ideal post for photos.

    Barano has its own religious monuments. In the piazza, there are two churches - San Sebastiano, which is a parish, and San Rocco, which remains for historical significance. At Easter, like most of the churches in Ischia, San Sebastiano features beautiful white calla lilies on the altar, live guitarist and choir, and bottles of holy water for anyone who wants them. If you decide to go to Mass there for the holiday, you should arrive early. By show time, it's usually standing room only.

    Next page: Buonopane

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