Tourists told Italian island of Ischia is safe after landslide
Hermione Kitson in Ischia

Tourists are being assured it's safe to return to the island of Ischia off the Amalfi Coast in Italy following a devastating landslide that killed 12 people including four children. Record rainfall caused a piece of Mount Epomeo to collapse and crash down into the port town Casamicciola Terme on November 26 last year with deadly consequences.

Nicola Di Iorio survived the tragedy but is one of 400 residents still unable to return home.

"Cars were rolling down the hill and it was a domino effect, there were trees, rocks, streetlamps. I couldn't understand if it was a film or if it was actually happening," recounts Di Iorio, still shocked.

Teary eyed, he says he will never leave the island despite pleas from his wife and children.


Türkiye prepares for momentous elections

Loggerhead turtles migrate to Mediterranean

Mastering Tai Chai

"I was born here, I grew up here. I say that Ischia is a cursed paradise, but it is a paradise," he said.

Simonetta Calcaterra is the town's extraordinary commissioner and says experts are working hard to secure the "red zone," an area also compromised by an earthquake in 2017.

"Hand by hand as we clear the debris and secure the mountain, the red zone will get smaller and slowly residents can return home. We are also working to reopen streets and drain the port," she said.

The island of Ischia suffered a landslide last November killing 12 people. CFP.CN
The island of Ischia suffered a landslide last November killing 12 people. CFP.CN

The island of Ischia suffered a landslide last November killing 12 people. CFP.CN

Authorities are investigating if illegal over-construction played a role in the disaster – and how the island can protect itself from extreme weather.

"Climate change will bring other intense weather events but if the territory is able to respond in the right way, tragedies such as this won't happen again. We're working on creating new routes for the flow of water and an emergency evacuation system," said Calcaterra.

The tragedy has affected tourism on the island, which usually welcomes six million visitors each year but there is hope that after a slow start there will be a successful summer.

While there's some concern from Italian travelers, hotels report a steady rise in international bookings for the peak season.

Luca D'Ambra, president of the Ischia Hotels Association, said that now there is a positive trend.

"The first few months were very heavy, all the reservations slowed down but thanks to an important help from the Italian institutions we had an international promotion and now the mood and the feeling is to welcome clients," he said.

Anna Olmo, manager of two five-star hotels on the island, said: "There are many requests from American and northern Europe for the summer. We suffered a lot from the disaster last November, but we are rising and getting back to work."

Both residents and business owners are hoping that from the rubble, a rebirth is on the horizon.

Search Trends